Thursday, April 4, 2013

The name "pineapple" comes from the words "pine" and "apple" - Pineapple Park

Chances are if you've done any type of research on travel through Okinawa you've seen something about Pineapple Park. This small but popular attraction seems to weasel it's way onto a number of tourist "Top 10" lists and so despite what I had read and learned from friends who had visited the attraction I, after 7 years, made the trip.



Even after having written about such topics as controversial military related issues and Okinawa's unique history I can't seem to find a place to start with Pineapple Park so I suppose that the cost of admission will have to do. It's going to cost you ¥600 for admission if you're an adult and as often is the case children are less. Once you have paid your admission then it's through the entrance and off to the right where you will wait in line.



What's at the end of this line? Well you're opportunity to pay anywhere from ¥600 to ¥1200 on a picture of your family with a pineapple character of course! Say "cheezu" for the camera and then it's off to another line. This line, slightly less anticlimactic than the last, leads you to the infamous pineapple go-cart. This is a standard golf cart which is outfitted with a giant pineapple on the top.


Once boarding your go-cart you will be given the language option (English, Japanese, Chinese or Korean) and off you go in your self driven go-cart. During your journey your virtual tour guide will in your language of choice give you riveting facts like "The name pineapple comes from the words pine and apple". . . . . There was also something about ferns which were similar to those featured in the movie Jurassic Park.





The ride continued on through a variety of different areas all featuring flowers and other jungle type growth which can be found around Okinawa. One nice little area also included a shisa which was standing just before a camera was set up to yet again take a picture of you and your family this time while riding inside the go-cart. You don't know it yet but this one will also cost you  ¥600.


Finally we turned a corner and reached the climax of the ride. . . . the king of the pine. . . at least it's one giant fiberglass pineapple in a field of what seemed to be recently picked or underdeveloped pineapples. I imagine that this would be a site to be seen if you have never been to any of the areas of Okinawa where these are grown for as far as the eye can see. Then in a blink of an eye it was over and we departed out little pineapple go-cart and entered a small gift shop where you could purchase your photos as well as a variety of other items and chow down on some fresh slices of pineapples.

After this first shop it was off to a room which was filled with shells which have been collected from Okinawa as well as other parts of the world. They were quite beautiful and certainly interesting. Personally this could be considered one of the most interesting parts of the entire experience although it has nothing to do with pineapples.From there it's off to another gift shop where you can purchase a variety of shell related goods as well as the standard tourist type things which you can find in shops all around Okinawa.

The next stop is the part where they make pineapple wine. A small series of cartoon images on the wall illustrate the process (no english here though sorry) and then you can take a sneak peak inside the factory itself. A few more steps and you're reached the final stretch of shops. In here you'll see a variety of pineapple related items as well as again your typical items which can be found at other locations around Okinawa. There were cakes and wines which for me did not seem very interesting as they can be purchased elsewhere on island but one thing I did find interesting were the pineapple charcoal facial scrubs and other cosmetic type items. If nothing else they were interesting.

Once you've reached the end of these shops you're done.

Overall I think I can say that this "attraction" is everything I expected: a typical tourist trap. To put it as simply as possible you're basically paying to enter a series of gift shops featuring items which are available at other main attractions throughout Okinawa such as Kokusai Street. I have skipped Pineapple Park for the entire 7 years I have been here and can honestly say that I wasn't missing anything.

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