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Comprehensive Park is top spot for relaxation and fitness

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2012-03-09

The park totally lives up to its name. Comprehensive Park is a humongous park spanning hundreds of acres filled with most every stress-relieving activity a person could ever ask for.

Relaxation is the key to a Comprehensive Park visit, with dozens of opportunities to doÖwellÖjust about anything. There are nature hikes and jogging, soccer and rugby fields, a running rack, baseball stadium, basketball and tennis courts for those looking to burn off excess energy. Itís a park filled with exercise and athletic pursuits, including an indoor fitness center.

The running tracks are separate from bicycle paths, and both offer scenic as well as challenging courses. The paths are marked with 1k, 2k and 5k runs, and hereís a hint: with summer fast approaching with soaring temperatures, donít be dissuaded from a park visit. The paths are well protected and shady by sprawling trees, and one path winds up at the ocean, where walkers and runners can appreciate the idyllic view. Walkers are welcome, too.

For family types, hereís the best part. There are plenty of activities to keep youngsters of all ages entertained during a day visit. The water slide and tide pool park are popular, and the •850 entry fee for adults and •100 child admission is certainly affordable. The pool is open from May 1 through Sep. 30. And, oh yes, there are Blue Seal Ice Cream stands in the park.

Comprehensive Park, which is marked on maps as Okinawa Prefecture Athletic Park, is centrally located on the islandís east central coast at Okinawa City. Thereís an auto campground on the park grounds, again with reasonable prices. While fireworks, generators and karaoke are prohibited, thereís enough else to do to not become bored. A maximum of 10 people can be in a camping section. Rental fee is •1,320 for a day spot, •2,640 for an overnight stay, and •5,280 for two nights. Showers are •100 and are available 9 a.m ~ 8:30 p.m.

Camping reservations are required, and can be made up to a month in advance by telephone. Park operators ask to be notified in advance of cancellations. Camping fees must be paid at the administration office a day before your visit. The office is open 9 a.m~5 p.m, every day except Tuesday.

Comprehensive Park also offers a variety of individual and family activities throughout the year. Sports classes begin in May and run through the year, and healthy sports classes run through December. Watercolor, ceramics and tree planting classes are offered, as well as a childrenís play festival later this spring. The emphasis is on fitness and good health, as evidenced by the lectures and classes on sports training, and a healthy sports festival coming up in the fall. Thatís followed by the Okinawa Prefectural Sports Recreation Festival, the Trim Marathon Tournament, and the Prefecture Elementary and Junior High School Student Cross Country Meet. The parkís biggest event of the year is the Okinawa Marathon, which was held last week.

The Costs

Comprehensive Park entry is free. Foods and beverages, and ice cream, are at the visitorís expense. Some classes and programs have fees, paid at sign up. The auto campsites, tennis courts, and rental equipment have fees, but all are very reasonable.

Getting There

Itís easy. From Camp Foster, exit Legion Gate straight onto Highway 81. From Highway 81, turn left onto Route 329, traveling north. Look for the A & W Restaurant. The park will be on your right. From Kadena, exit Gate 2 and drive straight through Goya Intersection onto Route 20. Stay on the road about ten minutes until reaching the major intersection with Route 329. Turn right traveling south until you reach the park. Youíll pass San-A and McDonalds before seeing the Comprehensive Park signs.

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