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Sunday, June 22, 2014

"A Dawn of a New Day..."

A Peace Pole at Hedo Misaki

Peace Poles - Hedo
     N 26 52.337E 128 15.817
     *GPS is of the Parking Lot

June 23rd - Irei no hi

Between April 1st and June 22nd of 1945, up to 200,000 lives would perish in what would be dubbed the 'Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific'. Of that number, the Okinawans would pay the heaviest price – men, women, children, estimated to be over a hundred thousand...gone.

And up north on the main island, you will find Hedo Misaki. It is as far as one can get from the once war-torn regions of the south, where much of the carnage had taken place. And there, you will find two Peace Poles firmly wedged into the rugged coral cliffs of Cape Hedo. They are beacons of hope, with each side having a message inscribed in a different language. The message reads, “May Peace Prevail on Earth”. Both objects serve as a simple reminder of peace and of the tragedies of war. On June 23rd, the anniversary of the day after the war ended, many Okinawans will pay tribute to the fallen who passed away during those very dark times. It is their way of spreading this message of peace. It is their way of healing. It is 'Irei no hi', Okinawa's Memorial Day.

And for this special occasion, the picture above taken at Hedo Misaki is symbolic in many ways. Hardly scathed by war, Hedo remains almost as pristine as it did in 1945. Its innocence remains intact. And based on its orientation, Hedo is one of the first places on Okinawa to receive the warmth of the sun's rays, marking the beginning of a brand new day for the Ryukyu Island. And as you glare towards the horizon you are no longer facing the horrible images of the past. And on any given night, as you stare deep into infinity, all that lies between you and the horizon is an abyss of endless darkness, where no hope could possibly shine through. But at that magical moment,  a glimmer of life emerges from the clouds, a dawn of a new day..... and a shiny beacon of hope is lit.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Hydrangea Cafe

The Hydrangea Cafe overlooking the ocean

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Hydrangea Cafe

     N 26 37.824E 128 02.699

The Hydrangea Cafe, Nago City

A small cafe with a wonderful view, the Hydrangea Cafe sits comfortably overlooking the ocean. The cafe named after the Hydrangea flower, is owned by Mr. Sueyoshi who opened the cafe on 18 May 2013. On the surrounding hillside is his garden. During the months of March and April it's filled with Begonia flowers followed by Hydrangea's in May and June. On or off-season, the Hydrangea Cafe is a great place to relax and enjoy. Please see information below entrance fees and times.

Sueyoshi Hana-en (Garden Only)
Begonia Flower Season: Late March through April (See website below for current dates)
Hydrangea Flower Season: Late May through June (See website below for current dates)
Entrance Fees: 300 Yen for Adults, 100 Yen for Middle School and below (Cash only)
Where to pay: You can pay below at the desk counter located at the large parking lot at the bottom of the hill or inside the Hydrangea Cafe
Hours: 9am to 6pm.
Open: Daily during flower season. Closed Tuesdays during the off-season
Telephone: 098 058 1768
Facebook Page:
Parking. For garden viewing, please park at the bottom of the hill (see picture with the white car)

The Hydrangea Cafe
Currency: Cash Only (Yen)
Hours: 10am to 8pm. After 6pm, must make reservations (Last order 7pm)
Open: Closed on Tuesdays. Open daily during flower season
Telephone: 098 058 4488
Facebook Page:
Menu: English and Japanese (See menu here)
Parking. There is designated parking under the cafe. Or you can at the bottom of the hill.

Directions/Parking. Take Highway 58 north into Nago City. Please study the map carefully since there are no official street signs directing you the way. The cafe resides in the northwestern part of Nago City. If you pass Highway 14 you have gone too far. There is a graffiti picture on the seawall opposite of the turn-off. Once you make this turn, the cafe parking area is about 500 meters. You can park at the bottom (large lot) or take the road going up to the cafe. There you can park underneath the cafe building.

Recommendations. Flower viewing. June marks the beginning of typhoon season. It is highly recommended that you should visit the garden prior to the first typhoon. Route Recommendations. On weekends the merging traffic from the Okinawa Expressway onto Highway 58 will cause long delays. If you are taking the expressway, it is recommended that you get off on Exit 9 in Ginoza Village, then take Highway 329 north passing Camp Schwab. Then take Highway 331 as if you are going to travel on the east side of the island. Then take Highway 18 taking you to the other side of Nago City. Use the Haneji Dam Route off of Highway 18. This will take you back to Highway 58. Proceed north on the directions above.

Other places to visit nearby. Fukugawa Falls, Minzoku Shiryokan Museum