Saturday, January 2, 2010

Now I can finally check off "ride around in a giant pineapple" on my must-do list

How was your Christmas Eve? Besides the aquarium, ours was primarily spent here:

One of the first things we knew we had to seek out in Okinawa was Nago Pineapple Park. It's an entire theme-- well, I shouldn't say theme park, because that implies something a lot bigger and more expansive than what's actually there-- but it's dedicated completely to pineapples and various pineapple-derived products. That said, it's pretty great, for reasons that'll be obvious:

Within seconds of entering the park, you're offered the chance to buy a picture of yourself with a person in a giant pineapple costume. We declined. We were more interested in the big-shot feature of Nago Pineapple Park: that you can ride around in one of the above self-guided pineapple carts on a track around the fields and through a big greenhouse. All the while, you're treated to an incomprehensible and grammatically questionable tour recording in the language of your choice, explaining how the same kinds of pineapple plants, ferns, and various tropical foliage you can see there were also featured in "The Jurassic Park."

If you'd like a taste of the tour, here's a brief 19-second video I shot while inside:

And this is a baby pineapple:

Alas, the tour didn't last forever. I did manage to capture the last moments we had before our cart disappeared from sight:

Once you're done with the tour, you get to head indoors, where there is (inexplicably) a history lesson regarding Christopher Columbus:

Columbus was a controversial figure in history, but this is the first time I'd seen him accused of being a pineapple.

After that is (inexplicably) a little Christmas display:

And then, (inexplicably) a mini-museum dedicated to some neat-looking shells:

And finally, a treat for the boozehounds: the wine tasting! They make all sorts of crazy wines out of pineapple, four of which you get to try in a little Dixie cup. Verdict: I'm not a fan of alcohol. I was much more into the subsequent juice tasting, which included various pineapple blends, and even bitter gourd juice, which wasn't half bad. Following that, you can try all sorts of pineapple-based cakes, chocolates, pies, and whatever other ridiculous other things you can think of. They even had pineapple soap.

And last but not least is the obligatory gauntlet of every Japanese tourist trap, the omiyage shop! Because a cultural site just isn't complete without a crowded store to buy various overpriced boxes of individually wrapped sweets for your co-workers. Most of this stuff wasn't even pineapple-related.

And thus ended our magical day at Nago Pineapple Park. But we didn't come away empty handed! We had to own a piece of the memory. We may not have a full-size pineapple cart to ride around the cold, slushy streets of Kanazawa, but we did bring home a little one of our own:

On top of everything else, at the stand out front, you can get a mixed mango/pineapple juice with tapioca pearls. That stuff is heavenly.

And when you consider that it's only a ~$5 USD admission price, you can't possibly go wrong. If you're in Okinawa and going to be anywhere near the aquarium, you have no excuses.


  1. Sending this to my neighbor who will be spending several months in Okinawa.
    (the one who now must ride around in a giant pineapple...)

  2. Hi. . .I'm the neighbor~ and will be in Okinawa beginning the end of Feb. through mid April. Now I know a "stop" I must make! Thanks for the Nago Pineapple Park tour with highlites! I'm excited!

  3. You guys are so funny. I love this post. But pineapples in the middle of winter? Is it indoors or something? hee hee

  4. Okinawa has a tropical climate! It was maybe low 70s and partly cloudy. Now we're back home (1000 miles north) and freezing our butts off.