Bringing wedding dreams to life in Okinawa

Sandy white beaches. Pristine seas. Heart-shaped rocks jutting out of the water. Known for its picturesque landscapes, Okinawa is not just a favourite destination among travellers, but also the ideal backdrop for couples making pledges of love for a lifetime.

The chain of islands has a year-round cool temperature, making it a great location for gatherings. The newly-weds can also begin their honeymoon right after their marriage ceremony, therefore it is hassle-free and time-saving.

With a wide variety of scenic wedding locations and activities for honeymooners as well as their wedding guests, the southernmost prefecture of Japan is the perfect place for couples to say “I do.”

Head over to Tinu Beach for a romantic backdrop of heart-shaped rocks. PHOTO: OKINAWA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Known as the portal between Japan and the tropics, Okinawa is a chain of islands surrounded by the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, making it easily accessible from mainland Japan and its neighbouring countries in Asia, including Singapore.

Unlike other Japanese prefectures that many well-travelled Singaporeans are familiar with, Okinawa has a distinct culture that sets it apart from the rest. This is mainly due to the islands’ rich history, from being heavily influenced by China’s Ming Dynasty before officially becoming a prefecture of Japan.

Its culture and scenic surroundings make Okinawa an interesting and beautiful place to visit for travellers all over the world. It is also one of the favourite domestic destinations for the Japanese. With its popularity rising over the years, it is no wonder that it has become one of the top go-to destinations for weddings and wedding photo shoots among lovebirds in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

You would want to make the trip worth it for your guests who, after all, have travelled five hours on a plane from Changi Airport to Naha Airport in Okinawa. So, rest assured that your impending wedding will be the perfect reason for everyone to take a break there.

Choose the wedding chapel of your dreams

The venue of the ceremony sets the backdrop for your once-in-a-lifetime event. Looking for a place to hold your wedding is not an issue in Okinawa as engaged couples are spoilt for choice with over 40 wedding chapels available for booking.

It is easy to choose the best venue for your desired wedding theme because each one has a unique architectural style and design, from fairytale-like castle facades to charming traditional structures.

The wedding chapels may look different from one another, but you can expect one constant characteristic among them — the sweeping sights of Okinawa’s landscape and waters in the backdrop. Nothing will beat saying “I do” by the beautiful views that are one of a kind in the prefecture.

It’s not hard to find a location for your wedding photos in Okinawa. PHOTO: OKINAWA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Chill out and celebrate wedding bliss

Far from the hustle and bustle of the city life in Singapore, Okinawa exudes a distinctly relaxed island culture brought about by its subtropical climate, white sandy beaches and cerulean waters. Invite your family and friends to this gorgeous paradise, where they can celebrate your union, and at the same time, find time to chill out.

Bringing your loved ones to Okinawa will be a breeze because of the direct flights from Changi Airport to Naha Airport. PHOTO: OKINAWA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Okinawa has an average temperature of 22 deg C all year round, which is deemed perfect for a seaside or an al fresco wedding celebration. Even winter is a comfortable 15 deg C. With the abundance of beaches on the island, everyone will get to enjoy the relaxing beach life with sand between their toes and the exquisite sea views that the prefecture is known for.

Don’t miss out on diving in Okinawa’s crystal clear waters. PHOTO: OKINAWA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

More than its beaches, you can do some sightseeing and learn about Okinawa’s history. There are nine well-preserved Unesco World Heritage sites to explore, including the Royal Garden Shikinaen which was used to entertain Chinese traders in the past. It is where you can appreciate Chinese and Japanese architectural designs unique to Okinawa.

Enjoy your ideal honeymoon

When the wedding preparations are done, followed by the celebration of the big event, any newly-wedded couple would probably be quite tired by the time the wedding euphoria subsides. But there’s nothing that a trip to an Okinawan spa can’t fix. Rest and recharge with a special treatment that includes the use of Okinawan superfood goya (or bitter melon), deep ocean water and other materials harvested from the islands’ natural bounty.

Rest and relax by getting an Okinawan spa. PHOTO: OKINAWA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

For couple gourmands looking to marry their honeymoon with good food, they will be glad to know that Okinawa is also a foodie’s paradise. Its cuisine is often referred to as the Ryukyuan cuisine that dates back to the 15th century. It is unique compared to the rest of country because of its a mix of influences from mainland Japan, China and other parts of South-east Asia, as well as the United States.

Goya champuru is a must-try dish in Okinawa. PHOTO: OKINAWA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Besides, Okinawa’s food culture is widely credited for contributing to the longevity of its people. Don’t miss its version of soba and its famous goya champuru, a stir-fry dish of bitter gourd and pork. Expect an abundant amount of fresh seafood dishes too.

Visit to find out more about holding the wedding of your dreams in Okinawa.

If you’re still planning to put a ring on it, Okinawa is a great place to pop the question. Here are some perfect spots to propose to the love of your life.

In front of heart-shaped rocks

Put the seal on your declaration of love by making your pledge in a place that is famously known as Love Island. Kouri Island got its moniker due to the heart-shaped rocks at its popular Tinu Beach. The site makes it a perfect backdrop for a man to get down on one knee to ask for his lady’s hand in marriage.

Among beautiful ruins

A designated Unesco World Heritage site, the Nakagusuku Castle is on the list of 100 famous castles in Japan. It was built when the Ryukyu Kingdom ruled the island before Okinawa became a Japanese prefecture. Today, only its ruins remain and they are quite well preserved, lending a picturesque view that gives an air of romance to the area.

In a traditional house

There’s a certain charm that traditional houses exude. Head to Nakamura House, an authentic Okinawan house built in the 18th century that remains standing today. The wooden house with stone fences provides the perfect backdrop with a seemingly magical aura that is just ideal for the precious and intimate moment of proposal. The traditional house is also a popular location for wedding photo shoots.

Source: Read Full Article


Coronavirus and Plane Travel: What to Expect if You’re Flying

Changes to checking in

Using the self-service kiosks means touching screens multiple times, so expect to get reminders from your airline that you can check in over the phone. And rather than handing over your phone and your identification to an agent at baggage drop or at the gate, you may be asked to show it instead.

Self check-in kiosks will be getting multiple wipe downs a day, but you might want to consider carrying your own hand sanitizer and wipes for the journey.

No fingerprint scans at the lounge

Airport lounges, those sanctuaries that carriers set up for frequent fliers or first class passengers and airline credit card holders, see a high volume of travelers stopping by before a flight to grab a free drink or snack, and some have started using fingertip scans to admit members. Both Alaska and Delta, though, have suspended the use of fingertip entry and are asking passengers to show their boarding pass and identification to attendants in order to gain admission, rather than handing them over.

And change is probably coming to the buffet as well. Lounges will be cleaned more frequently, the common serving utensils will be changed more frequently and bartenders will no longer refill your glass. They will give you a new one instead.

Security won’t ease up

The Transportation Safety Agency hasn’t made any adjustments to its screening procedures. The most important change a passenger should make here is to place their wallet, keys, phone and other objects from their pockets inside their carry-on bag, rather than directly in the plastic bins that go through the scanner.

T.S.A. operating procedures require personnel to wear nitrile gloves when conducting screening duties with passengers. Travelers who need to be patted down or have their carry-on bag searched can ask the T.S.A. officer to change gloves before they perform that task.

Passengers who use the Clear security stations, which allow them to go to the front of the T.S.A. line, can choose to either place two fingers on a glass fingerprint scanner or look into an iris scanner. In light of the virus, Clear employees are defaulting to the iris option. For passengers who still prefer the fingertip scan, staff will provide hand sanitizer and disinfect the scanner after each use.

Flight attendants in gloves; no more warm towels in first class

The Association of Flight Attendants — the union representing nearly 50,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines — has been asking the government and the airlines to implement a list of health and safety changes to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Some of these changes are beginning to be made by airlines.

On some airlines, including United, flight attendants may be wearing gloves in the cabin. They also will no longer refill drinks — you’ll get a new glass to minimize possible points of contact. Alaska Airlines is encouraging passengers to fill up water bottles in the gate area before boarding, so cups won’t be needed at all; Alaska is also ending its warm towel service in first class, and recycling will be suspended so flight attendants can avoid touching passenger-handled items. The airline is encouraging passengers to wipe down tray tables and armrests with their own disinfectant wipes.

Planes will also undergo enhanced cleaning, according to multiple airlines. Delta Air Lines has begun fogging the interiors of some airplanes that are arriving from international destinations with disinfectant; United said it will also begin fogging planes arriving into its hubs from international destinations. The fogging, with tray tables lowered and overhead bins and lavatory doors open, is performed after an initial cleaning. Delta said it is prioritizing arrivals from the hardest hit countries and is securing additional machines so it can treat more planes.

Some international airlines are taking further precautions: Singapore International Airlines, for instance, now requires flight crew to wear masks onboard.

Social distancing for those arriving from outside the United States

The C.D.C. has offices and quarantine stations at 20 United States airports. As of March 12, the C.D.C. says that those who have been in Level 3 countries, China, Iran, South Korea and now most of Europe, in the previous two weeks but exhibit no symptoms, need to stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.

Travelers coming in from all other countries are asked to monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning from travel.

Anyone with symptoms should call ahead before seeking medical care.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation.

Source: Read Full Article