Okinawa is an amazing place to raise kids. Lots of room to stretch your legs, low density ‘cities’, no pollution, beaches, and above all, PARKS.
I don’t just mean a green patch of grass and a few benches. I’m talking giant parks, with trampolines, roller slides, jungle gyms, rope mazes, ziplines, and all kinds of excitement for kids. No wonder the average family here has three kids, compared to Tokyo where the average is one, or, more recently, zero.
My kid keeps saying, ‘Okinawa parks are the best!’ And she should know — almost every day for two years we went faithfully to the same tiny, dingy, mosquito infested park in Mui Wo when we lived in Hong Kong. The ‘Fragrant Harbour’ is a place to work like a dog, make money, and party, not raise a child.
Okinawa in comparison is a giant kids playland, and without a doubt this is one of the best things about living here and raising a kid. What I like too is they allow kids to take risks, to learn about getting hurt, to understand gravity. In one park there was a vertical drop slide that in the US would be a million dollar lawsuit waiting to happen. But here, kids can be kids.
Whenever we have nothing in particular to do, and especially when my husband is not around, we simply pull up Google Maps, zoom in a bit, and see which park we can go check out that day. And I’m sure there’s one for each day of the year.
April 1st just passed, which means the beaches are now open. I imagine this means that all summer we’ll be in the water rather than in the parks, perhaps. See? More fun for kids. Who needs Disneyland when you’ve got Okinawa?