Saturday, September 13, 2014

Station Rikarikawarumi

The Warumi Ohashi is one of the highest bridges (if not the highest) in Okinawa prefecture. I had heard that it was but, I can’t confirm that and when you get right down to it, it just doesn’t matter. Needless to say, it’s a pretty long drop from the road bed above down to the waters of the Warumi straight down below. This bridge spans the straight and connects Nakijin village with Yagaji Jima and makes getting around this end of the Motobu peninsula a whole lot easier than it used to be. Now for folks driving down from northern Okinawa can take the short cut across Yagaji Island from the far north end of Nago instead of having to drive all the way in to Highway 505, 84 or 449 to get to places like Kouri Jima, Nakijin Castle Ruins, Expo Park and the Churaumi Aquarium.

Driving down highway 58 from points north, turn right at highway 110 to Yagaji & Kouri Jima. Follow the signs to go to Nakijin and/or Motobu and at highway 248 and turn west toward Nakijin. Folks coming from the Motobu side should follow highway 505 around the far end of the peninsula through "downtown" Nakijin and turn left onto highway 248, follow the signs  that say Yagaji & Kouri Jima.

On the west end of the bridge, there is a small parking area for folks who want to stop, stretch their legs and take a walk across the bridge to drink in the scenery. But just a few meters further up the road is the Station Rikarikawarumi. This is a rather new “Rest Area” which features more parking, shopping, a restaurant as well as an observation deck on the roof that offers up a spectacular view of the whole area!

“Rikkari” comes from the Okinawan dialect and means “Let’s Go!” The shop features wares from many local artisans, small businesses and there’s even a farmers market with lots of fresh ”in-season” vegetables and fruits to choose from. The restaurant features local fare at very reasonable prices. Not only was it delicious but the service was fast and friendly too. Orders are made by using the vending machine by the door to purchase a ticket, which is then given to the kitchen staff. There is a picture menu available to look over and although you’ll have to do your best to deal with and navigate the hiragana/katakana alphabet, it’s not that hard to make out what is what and how much.

Not interested in stopping to buy, there’s still a place to get an Ice Cream cone to shut up the rug-rats or clean restroom facilities for folks who just can’t wait till the next convenience store. Regardless your reason, this place is worth the time to stop at and take a quick break!

Plenty of fresh goodies inside and out. The products on display are made by local small businesses and artisans.

Talk about a great place to enjoy a late afternoon snack or a cold drink, this is it!

A spectacular view from the upper deck.

Soki Soba, a local favorite and simply delicious!

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