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A Close-Up View of Undersea Life While Staying Dry

By: Wendy Hively

Date Posted: 2001-02-09

Have you ever wanted to get face to face with Okinawa’s beautiful sea dwellers without stepping foot into the ocean? A trip to the underwater observatory at Busena Resort makes it possible. Their slogan is “Kiss the fish” and indeed you are so close to the fish that you can almost touch them. The resort is located on the western side of the island on Route 58, about an hour’s drive north of Kadena Air Base. This prime location offers a magnificent view of the emerald green water, lush tropical landscape and expansive coral reefs.

The observatory, just one of the many activities at Busena Resort, sits at the end of a long pier and descends into the ocean to a depth of around 30 feet. A very steep and narrow spiral staircase provides access to the tropical sea life below. The circular room is small and can become crowded at times, but visitors cycle in and out fairly quickly. The observatory offers a 360 degree view of the surrounding coral reefs and sea life through portholes that have been placed at eye level for adults and much lower for children. On the walls between the portholes are pictures and descriptions of the various tropical fish that are indigenous to the area. If you look carefully, you may catch a glimpse of most, if not all, of these colorful fish. For those who prefer to go out onto the water, the glass-bottom boats offer an alternative. They are made in the shape of a gigantic whale and have large glass panels on the underside which give a peek into the tropical environment below. The advantage of the boat tour over the observatory is the chance to see much more of the expansive coral reefs.

The resort is open from 9:00AM to 6:00PM every day throughout the year. The fee for the underwater observatory is ¥1000 for adults, ¥800 for students and ¥500 for children under 12. The glass-bottom boat costs a bit more at ¥1500 for adults, ¥1200 for students and ¥750 for children. You can purchase a combination ticket for access to both attractions for ¥2000 for adults, ¥1600 for students and ¥1000 for children. In addition, the resort offers a 10% discount for groups of 30 or more to tour the observatory and 15 or more people for the glass-bottom boat.

For the more adventurous and those who prefer to get into the water, Busena Resort offers a variety of other activities. Jet skis and equipment for snorkeling and scuba diving can be rented by the hour or for the entire day. The white sand and calm surf in the beach area invite those who prefer to relax and rest under an umbrella. For overnight guests of the resort, there is a beautiful pool and deck area. After playing all day in the sun, visit one of the small gift shops located within the resort. They offer a selection of Okinawan candy and chocolate as well as other small gift items and souvenirs.

Across from the resort area is a grouping of small buildings where the most fantastic dim sum restaurant sits. The inside is exquisitely decorated with Chinese-inspired furniture and paintings. The lunch menu offers a selection of dim sum including spring rolls, steamed pork barbecue buns and dumplings filled with pork or seafood. Each order comes with 3-4 pieces and is priced at around ¥500. For a delicious treat, try the special lunch for ¥1200. It includes a choice of soup noodles with seafood and steamed rice or fried rice with chicken-corn soup. A sampling of the dim sum of the day, dessert and hot tea are also included with the lunch. The food is delicious, plentiful and tastes very fresh.

There is so much to do at Busena Resort that it would be difficult to get bored while visiting this spectacular place. The fabulous views and myriad of activities offered at the resort make it an enjoyable place for the entire family.

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