Araha Park / Araha Beach, Okinawa
Outdoor | Avg price: ¥0 | English Available: None (Unknown)
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Uninspiring stretch of grass and beach that could improve with the weather
Maybe it would be better to visit Araha Park and beach on a sunny weekend or holiday rather than a drab and cloudy Thursday afternoon, which is what I did. The latter, that is. In such circumstances the park and beach were not exactly inspiring in appearance; a slightly grubby stretch of sand deserted of people (save for some bored looking “banana boat” type attraction operators). In fact, much of the beach was closed off for swimmers at the time of visiting, although it wasn’t the most inviting of places to take a dip anyway. I accessed from the northern end of the beach / park and so could take in most of its 600 m length. The park bit is pretty thin, although to be fair the grass looks fairly well tended to. The pathway that runs between park and beach looks to be popular jogging spot (although you’d have to be brave or foolish to take up jogging in these parts outside of winter). Also at the northern end of Araha Park this is a bridge crossing a narrow river mouth which looks like it could be a popular fishing spot. From these northern reaches of the park you can sit down and take in the graffiti laden wall that guards Chatan Park just across the small bay. It’s a reminder really, that Araha Beach is of the urban kind and pales in comparison with the beaches on other parts of the island. This really isn’t a place to come out of your way for (and it looks like a lot of people understand this). In fact, on a day like this, Araha Park and beach had more the feel of a place where teenagers would come to smoke clandestine cigarettes. At around the park’s halfway point there are some well-kept basketball courts and a little further away some toilets and kids play area and then there’s the Araha Pirate Park at the southern end of the park / beach which features a large pirate ship for kids to get giddy about (although it’s on land, not at sea). The park is also home to a BBQ area where kit and spot can be rented from the park’s shop. One imagines that when the sun comes out and the ocean in this part of Okinawa hasn’t been churned up by an impending typhoon, Araha Park and Beach could take on a far more attractive form with ocean waters that have the potential to turn azure and sands which could shine white enough to require a good pair of sunglasses. Alas, I wasn’t here on that day. Nor was I able to stick around for the sunsets which some locals assured me can be pretty spectacular. Still, it’s best to keep in mind that Araha Park and beach is part of a city scene and this isn’t Rio de Janeiro so it would be wrong to expect any beach paradise here. This is at best a place for a stroll when you get bored of American Village (about 1 km north) or somewhere for the locals to stretch their legs. It’s emphatically not a place to come for your “Okinawa beach holiday”. I found some free parking at the northern end of the park. If you’re up for it, you could use the parking at American Village (free) and walk. The uninspiring San A Hamby Town shopping mall is near to the southern end of the park / beach. There are bus stops at Hamby Town with services to other parts of the island. BBQ season at Araha Park / Beach is between April and October. Bookings for BBQ sets can start in February (which might be an indicator of their popularity). Sets start from around 1,300 yen (including food). I’m not aware of the park or beach actually closing in their entirety but the parking I used was open from 7:00 - 22:00.