CONTRIBUTED BY JENNIFER SHUE

Shin daughter

As the weather starts to cool just a little, maybe your thoughts are turning towards Sunday afternoon picnics in the park, playing outside at a playground, taking a nap in the grass on a blanket under a tree – or something along those lines. (Something beyond the confines of the a/c unit or the local pool.) This past Sunday, it was beautiful outside and my daughter is always more than happy to go to yet another park on the island. So we hopped in the car and took a short ride down to Naha for a visit to one of our favorite parks – Shintoshin Park.

Shin play ball

This park is tucked back behind the Prefectural Museum. There is a large open grassy field suitable for impromptu games of soccer or baseball, surrounded on 3 sides by large shade trees. In one corner there is a playground and some great and very well-worn climbing trees (the bark is polished by hundreds, if not thousands, of little bare feet) perfect for the little monkey in your family.

Shin playground

Surrounding the park is a walking track complete with that spongy, rubbery material underfoot. Along the side of the park adjacent to 251 there are exercise stations. Down at the bottom of the park is a skate park and some tennis courts. You can also walk over the big pedestrian overpass (alongside the museum) to the other part of the park, but I have never been over there as the main part has always met all of my needs.

Shin banyan

There are picnic tables provided, though the majority out enjoying the fresh air this past weekend seemed to prefer to spread a blanket or tarp on the grass at the edge of the field and watch the children play. Some simply came to sit in the company of the ancient -looking banyans and think their thoughts or read a book.

And if you get tired of the sunshine and fresh air, you can always walk around to the front of that big, creamy building behind you and visit the museum. Or, walk over to the Mainplace San-A, DFS shopping mall (and DFS Food Court Coliseum) , Yamada Tech, Toys R Us, Nishimatsuya (Bunny Store), or any number of other shops and restaurants in the area.

Directions: Head down 58 south into Naha. Go over the big bridge/overpass. At the 3rd light (Uenoya intersection) turn left. You’ll see a big building on your right with big red and white letters that says “Agre” at that same intersection. This road will run along the front of the Sports Depot, Uniqulo, a McDonalds, and the Babies R Us/Toys R Us. Immediately after the Toys R Us there is a little road that you should turn down. You should see a very large pedestrian bridge. This road will run along the side of the museum and the park. Follow this road a few hundred meters and you will see the park’s parking lot on your right. This is a popular park, but I usually manage to find a spot in there.

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