Recently I started writing for JapanTourist, “Japan’s fastest growing English-language tourist website” published by Metropolis, Japan’s No 1 English magazine. JapanTourist is quite a friendly platform for the contributors as well as the tourists looking for any information. Here we believe in the granular approach i.e. you would not only find the popular places all through Japan but also are apprised of the local gems hidden amidst nature or amidst the skyscrapers. There are about 30 Regional Partners supervising the content from the various prefectures around Japan and the contributors range from local Japanese to foreign residents of various nationalities all with a common love and passion for traveling and especially exploring this country.
One night this March, browsing Metropolis online I came across this advertisement calling for writers for its newly launched travel site JapanTourist. I registered with the site and the next morning i received a mail from the Content Manager asking me to tell me a bit more about myself,my writings and travels etc. I was also provided with JapanTourist’s writer’s guidelines document to help me have an idea about the submission requirements. After I replied back with my blog and travel details, I was asked to write a sample post and then in a while yippee…..my post got approved and went live on the site !!!!! And thus began a great experience of writing, sharing and fun with JapanTourist. Thanks to our content manager Kyle and my Regional Partner Justin Dart, things have been pretty smooth till now. From the very first post, these people made sure to keep it light, fun and straight to the point. There’s no restriction really on who can write or what one writes given one writes just the way they have seen it. That’s unique about JapanTourist. People who are actually travelers and tourists and enjoy Japan write in their experiences for the million others to benefit from. There are the favorite restaurants hidden in basements, hiking trails, museums, national treasures, amusement parks, Izakayas, islands, trains and ferries and now there are photo stories too !!! Being at JapanTourist is very special to me as am able to share my share of travels and experiences and as well discover the many new gems about this beautiful country. And the fun part is we get rewarded too !!! Yeah contributors earn points for each article they submit and in turn can pile up these points to redeem hotel vouchers, travel tickets, dinners/lunch at select restaurants and many other goody goody goodies too. And guess what the site runs lucky draws from time to time too and lucky for me right in April there was this double draw to win Chisun /Solare hotel vouchers and guess what ??? I won !!!! Twice !!!!! Two ‘one-night stay for two’ vouchers !! And there being a wide choice from 57 hotels all over Japan, we decided to travel to Okinawa !!! Watch out for more of our trip in the forthcoming posts. As of now, I would love to focus on just the hotels we stayed in.
For my first voucher we chose the Okinawa Marriott Resort and Spa in north Okinawa. After a day long of traveling when we reached the hotel, it was a welcome sight ! The entrance branched off from the main road and went ahead a few mts lined by palm trees on either sides. The staff was courteous friendly and cheerful and all we had to do was show our voucher and our identity proof ! Just that ! ( And we felt Wow JapanTourist) We were offered complementary breakfast tickets too ! The bell boy then escorted us to our room, informing us about the hotel facilities and restaurant timings on way. Also, I would like to mention here, all staff were proficient in English language so that made things further easier. And friends this is the room we stayed in ! Gorgeous isn’t it !
The room was quite spacious, beautifully done in orange and browns. The bathroom and bathtub too were quite spacious wrt Japanese standards. Having savored the room and the views for a while we freshened up fast and hurried downstairs for our dinner. There were a lot of options given the many choices of restaurants catering to Japanese/Okinawan/Chinese and Western cuisines. We went for the BBQ at Howdy. The atmosphere was quite lively and the staff made everyone pretty comfortable. It was really casual happy dining. There were variety of marinated meat and seafood to choose from, many options for salad, fruits and yeah ice-creams too ! We were offered a plate of complementary Okinawan beef and in a while there was a surprise birthday celebration for a pretty lady at the nearby table. It was just all so relaxing and lively ! In a while we were done and went about exploring the lounge and shop areas a bit more before retiring to our room.
The next morning after an early and filling breakfast, we went to explore the pool area !!! There was an indoor swimming pool and there was this beautifully landscaped with palm trees and water slides outdoor pool. The entry was free and given the lovely weather we (especially hubby) had a wonderful morning !!!
The checkout time was 11 am. We checked out by 10.15 am and took the hotel’s shuttle bus to the nearby Kariyushi beach resort where there were plenty of marine sports and diving programs. We enjoyed our time Jet-skiing and having fun on the beach before taking the shuttle back to the hotel. Though we had checked out, they welcomingly let use the pool changing rooms just in time for the Limousine Bus for Naha. And just as we were set for the 2.5 hrs bus ride we remembered we didn’t have any water with us. And when hubby went to ask for any vending machines nearby they instead actually handed us a bottle right away, just like that ! Happy with this random kindness we then set off for our next hotel.
The second hotel we chose was the Loisir Spa Tower Naha. It was a straight and short taxi ride from the Naha bus depot. On arrival the staff welcomed us at the entrance and escorted us to the Spa Tower reception upstairs.(The entrance is through the Loisir Hotel and then atop the escalator was the reception desk for the Spa Tower Naha.)
There we were asked to have a seat and offered their local citrus drink and chocolates as we went about filling in the minimal forms.(No complementary breakfast tickets this time ) We were then guided through the curvy and artsy passageway connecting the Loisir Hotel building to the adjacent Spa Tower Naha building.
We were given a Deluxe Twin room at the very end of the corridor at the 11th floor. The staff escorting us then asked if we wanted some special aroma in the room and then set our selected Chamomile fragrance in the aroma diffuser. The room was quite spacious with blue ripply carpet and done up in dark brown cane baskets and furniture.
After a while we went out to explore the city and were back quite tired at night at around 8 pm. We made some enquiries at the reception about the local attractions before heading for our room. Then there was this tempting outdoor ‘Wave Pool’ with an entry fee of 1000¥ and the last entry till about 9 pm. And as we had had to really hurry for that, we decided to ditch it in favor of some relaxing in room Shiatsu massage ! It was priced at 5000¥ for 40 mins and really was absolutely worth it !!!
Next morning through the hotel’s travel desk we reserved our seats for the ferry to the wonderful Nagannu island (watch out for my upcoming post) and spent most of our day out there at the uninhabited island. In the evening we came back to the hotel, relaxed at the hotel lounge checking mails and the beautiful butterfly garden (literally had a butterfly fluttery attack as all of them stuck to me ! Imagine my joy ! )
All through this wonderful trip remembering JapanTourist all the while and wondering I have so much to write ! Thanks to JapanTourist we had a wonderful stay at Okinawa at the choicest of hotels and this trip really made for some very special and wonderful memories for life !!!
And let me tell you it is because i enjoy it so much at JapanTourist that i really couldn’t help but write this post. And if you wanna hop in you are most welcome. It’s just a simple registration away ! And guys there’s an exciting contest going on right now too !!! Hurry check it out !
Thanks so much JPTourist !! And special thanks to our content manager Kyle and my Regional Partner, the wonderful Justin Dart !!
And friends you can check all my articles on the JapanTourist here.
Cheers and happy writing !!!!