Nago Pineapple Park is tasty, entertaining spot for visit

The huge pineapple and hexagonal tower are sure landmarks of Nago Pineapple Park.

Pineapple is one of the most plentiful fruits grown on Okinawa, competing with sugar cane for the top spot crop, but the entertainment value of the juicy golden colored fruit is high, thanks to the Nago Pineapple Park.

The little carts are very popular with kids although the ride is completely automated.

Pineapple is blessed by its chock full of nutritions, vitamins, fibers and enzymes, all known to be good for beauty and health.  Pineapple is mainly produced at the northern reaches of Okinawa’s main island, and on Ishigaki Island.  In Nago, a pineapple farm theme park, ‘Nago Pineapple Park’, lets visitors ride a pineapple-looking cart on a path though the farm of tropical fruits and pineapples.  The cute looking cart is very popular for kids, but do not be deceived; adults have a terrific time being big kids on the excursion through the park, too.

The cart path winds through fields of different varieties of pineapples.

The cart will announce information about vegetables and pineapples though speakers, so visitors learn about various kinds of plants. The attendant sets the announcements’ language according to visitors’ preference; Japanese, English, Chinese or Korean.  Other than that, people can see the canning process at the factory during crop season between May and September.  In the gallery, visitors learn all about pineapple’s history, nutrition, how to cook and the many ways to eat and drink.

Of course, visitors can taste and buy a variety of processed pineapple products such as juice, cake and interestingly, Tsukudani, which is boiled down in soy source.   The limited specialty is un-sugared ‘Royal sweet pine can’ which is an original product made of 100% pineapple of Okinawa.  The number of sales of the products depends on crop yields in a year so first come, first served being sold from September.

The cart route starts and ends at the same spot.

Located just northwest of Nago City, the pineapple park follows the standard tourist attraction code: Attract, see, feel, taste, and purchase. It’s a perfect family outing, and cameras are a ‘must’. Plan for a 1½-hour visit, which with kids will cover just about everything. Free parking is plentiful, and visitors quickly find their way to the kiosk to purchase tickets for the motorized pineapple cars that whisk you through the pineapple fields to see the growing process and a variety of different pineapples.

Nago Pineapple Park is well known for its sweet pineapple wines, created in a winery right on the premises. You can watch the fermenting and bottling process, and then taste the fruity wines themselves. The park’s original wine, called “Lagcima Del Sol” (literally, ‘Tears of the Sun’ in Spanish), can be sampled. It’s made from 100% Okinawa pineapples. On the wine label is the image of three suns, with each sun representing joy, love and wrath in tribute to mother nature.

The wine taps flow freely, and… did we mention, free? Not recommended for kids though. There are also vats of regular pineapple juice available for unlimited tasting by the whole family.

The Pineapple Park is open daily 9 a.m. ~ 6 p.m. with last entry at 5:30 p.m.  Entry is ¥600 for adults, high school and junior high school students.  Elementary school students pay ¥300, while admission is free for those younger than elementary school age.

To get there, take Highway 58 and head for Nago. Drive through the city, remaining on Highway 58 until you see a sign pointing left to Meio University, turn left on Route 84 at the traffic light (there’s a toy shop ahead of you). Go straight about five minutes, and you’ll see the Nago Pineapple Park on the right. The alternative is to take the Expressway to the northern end, Kyoda, then proceed north on Highway 58 through Nago, as indicated above. The Nago Pineapple Park is located on the northwest side of the city at 1195 Bimata, Nago City.