CONTRIBUTED BY LEAH MAGID
Editor’s Note: This is an update to the original article on Okinawa Fruits Land we published in 2010. You can read that one HERE.
Much like the girl in every “Nerd-To-Princess” movie ever made, Okinawa Fruitsland has gotten contact lenses, dyed its hair and is now showing a little leg. Formerly an afterthought for people turning the wrong way out of the Pineapple Park lot, this little treasure is all shiny and new. A lot of thought was put into the revamp and it shows.
Before: A place where plant and fruit nuts would drag their children, trying to keep them engaged by counting the little terra-cotta colored shisa dogs or asking how many star fruit were in the trees.
Now: A story-board engages children from the entrance, as does a stamp-sheet that requires many stops. Little fairy houses and huts are scattered around the park.
Before: Faded, photocopied signs declared the names of the fruits. End of story.
Now: Electronic quiz kiosks delight children and adults (I am in my forties–I was amused) alike. The “sparkly” sounds for the correct answers to multiple choices about myth, botany and nutrition are just too darned cute. I blocked out the “you’re wrong” sound, so I can’t speak about that. And it only happened once. OK. Twice.
Before: Lots o birds. Like a Hitchcock movie.
Now: Still lots of birds. I strongly dislike birds. But at least they’re in an enclosed area.
Before: After walking through the exhibit, I found myself thinking, “Well, that was OK. But I am glad I didn’t drag a little kid through here. It would be melt-down time.”
Now: I am not even going to post a picture of the exciting conclusion to the fairy-house adventure. But let me say this: it’s full of wonder. And computers. And I didn’t understand what I was supposed to do, but all the other people (children and adults) that were there were making noises like they were impressed!
Before; Cute little café for food upstairs. Fruit-glutton heaven downstairs. A little expensive, but how can a person go all that way, stare at all those fruit trees, and then not eat?
Before: Gift shop that is loaded with fruit, clothing, candy, salt, toys, sugar, glassware, coffee, tea, jewelry, purple kit-kats, chocolate covered stuff, white chocolate covered stuff, towels, bags, boxes, keychains, pickled seaweed, crunchy crackers, dozens of kinds of cookies, cakes and castellas…you know. Standard fare.
So, if you have been to Fruitsland before and were not impressed, try it again. Double up with the Pineapple Park, go on the way to or from any one of the amazing attractions in Nago, and see if you can’t figure out that bonus room at the end.
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily
Payment: Adults 800yen, Children 400 yen
Directions: Take the expressway all the way north until it ends. Continue driving north on 58. Turn left on 84 heading through Motubo peninsula. Pass the Pineapple Park on your right and start looking for a colorful Fruits Land sign a couple blocks up on your right and turn right into the parking lot.