Splish-splash, refreshing Okinawa pools invite
By Jun Ikemura
The weather’s beautiful, Typhoon Noul is nothing but a memory, Golden Week is over and now’s the time to begin making plans for summer.
A beach party? A barbeque? Camping? An adventure or leisurely time to explore Okinawa? All options for fun times in this sub-tropical paradise, but perhaps the best way to relax is simply to make time to visit one of the island’s beautiful swimming pools. Sure, there are many gorgeous resort beaches and private pools, but there are also some great public pools awaiting visitors.
Okinawa Prefectural Comprehensive Park, located in the Hiyagon district of Okinawa City, boasts a huge public pool. There are two 100-meter-long water slides and mountain stream slides available for visitors more than 120cm tall. For those not fitting the height requirement, or for others simply wanting to settle back and bask in the warm water, there are a flowing water pool, an infant play water area and a relaxing pool. For now through June, and again in September, the Comprehensive Park pool is open Saturdays, Sundays and Japanese holidays 9:30 a.m. ~ 5:15 pm. In July the pool’s open every day except Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. ~ 5:15 p.m. There are rest times when people must get out the pool from noon to 12:30 p.m., from 2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., and again from 4:30 p.m. ~ 4:45 p.m.
The entry fee is ¥860 for adults over 18 years old, ¥310 for kids over 6 years old and ¥100 each for children 3-6, while kiddies under 3 are free. Children under six must be escorted by an adult. There are some English notices at the Okinawa Prefectural Comprehensive Park official website, and officials recommend visitors check before venturing to the park: http://okinawa-kenso.com/?page_id=160. The map with directions is at https://goo.gl/maps/PZLCk.
Kadena Town’s Kaneku district is home to Kaneku Seaside Park Water Garden, the town’s only pool and that’s just for kids 1 ~ 12. It opened April 29th and will be open daily except Mondays through September 25th. If Monday is a Japanese holiday, the facility will be open. The Sea Park Water Garden is open 10 a.m. – noon for a morning session, and 1 p.m. ~ 6 p.m. for the afternoon sessions. Every hour, from :50 – :00, there’s a ten-minute rest break. There are water slides, a flowing water pool and an infant pool. There is an infant area only for kids under 6 years old. The entry fee is ¥300 for kids and ¥200 for adults (adult only escort). Kids must wear swim caps and swimming wear. Eating, drinking or smoking at the poolside is prohibited. Snorkeling and beach balls are not permitted. The park reserves the right to restrict entry to prevent to pool from being over capacity.
Nishizaki recreation pool located at the Nishizaki district in Itoman city is open Saturdays, Sundays and Japanese holidays from May through September and every day from July 18th to August 31st 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., with a ten-minute rest break scheduled every 10 minutes from :50 – :00. There are water slides, a flowing water pool and an infant pool. Water slides are available for people over 120cm tall. Kids 3-6 years old need an adult escort, with the adult also wearing swimwear. Kids under 3 years need to wear swimming diapers. Entry for pool is ¥750 for adults, ¥500 for 6 ~ 18-year-old, ¥250 for infants and ¥350 for an escort without swim privileges. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/qtnXR.
Yuinchi Hotel outdoor pool is located in the Sashiki district iof Nanjo City. It is open Saturdays, Sundays and Japanese holidays June through September and everyday from July 18th through end of August. Operating hours are 10 a.m. ~ 7 p.m. June to August and 10 a.m. ~ 6 p.m. in September. Admission is ¥1,000 for adults to enter, ¥800 for kids 13 – 18 years of age, ¥700 for 6 – 12 kids 6 ~ 12, and ¥500 for both children ages 3 ~ 5 and for adults serving only as escorts. Kids shorter than 140cm need to be escorted by an adult to enter. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/hcj5A
Each swimming facility has its own rules that must be followed by swimmers and escorts. Many beaches prohibit swimmers who have tattoos. Many of the facilities are outdoors, and may be closed due to inclement weather and typhoons.