Help me make my Japanese island paradise holiday happen!
April 10, 2009 12:21 AM   Subscribe

Is there any chance I can still find a place to stay in Okinawa during this Golden Week, or is it far too late already? Any advice, suggestions or resources welcome.

I have been living in Tokyo for a bit over one year and a half now, but unfortunately all things must come to an end and I'll be going back to Europe in early summer. One of the places I definitely want to visit before leaving for good is Okinawa, which I have inexplicably managed to miss visiting so far, partly because I did not feel like traveling there alone would be much fun.

Good news is, a friend of mine has now expressed an interest in joining me for the trip, but he's only available during the Golden Week long weekend (2nd to 6th May), just when everyone else in Japan will be cramming into every available hotel room in the area. I don't mind the crowds too much, but all the obvious airlines and hotels seem to be booked up to kingdom come or ludicrously expensive (800$ for a JAL round trip ticket from Tokyo!?).

My lack of ability to come up with anything other than the most obvious hotels, airlines and travel agents is clearly not helping. I am pretty sure there are cheaper alternatives a bit off the beaten path, but I will be damned if I can find them with my paltry Japanese Google-Fu skills.

Does anybody in the Hive Mind know of any travel agent that could still make this happen in spite of the short notice? Any recommended hotel somewhere that might have a couple beds (or a broom closet) available? Maybe a nice little ferry service that can take us to Okinawa for a sane amount of money, even if it takes a while? I feel like I am in way over my head in this... Help!

Thanks in advance everyone!
posted by doctorpiorno to Travel & Transportation around Okinawa, Japan (6 answers total)
posted by hariya at 1:19 AM on April 10, 2009

Best answer: One thing I learned right-quick here in Japan is that it's still cheapest to use a travel agent here. Go figure. I know, I know: I'd never ever book this way in the US, but here... it works out best.

So, have you ever used HIS or no1-travel or JTB?
They have local offices, and also have local or toll-free English-language phone numbers. This may also get you a better rate on the hotel, too, with a flight/hotel package.

I'm in the same position you are, but I'm looking at Hong Kong/Hainan.
posted by whatzit at 4:05 AM on April 10, 2009

Best answer: Here's a quick search I did on Jalan for you for May 2-6. I expect that you should be able to find *something* in Naha during that period, even if it is a business hotel or capsule hotel.

Here's a ferry service running between Tokyo and various islands in Okinawa. The only departure date from Tokyo that fits your schedule is the 2nd; there are two departures that day, each taking 3-4 days. I suppose you could take the ferry there, then fly back (since the only return trip from Okinawa is on the 12th). However, you'll be very lucky if you can find a berth due to the demand.

Good luck!
posted by armage at 4:21 AM on April 10, 2009

Your best bet would be Japanese Guest Houses. They offer service in English, and I'm sure they can help you out.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:40 PM on April 10, 2009

Japanese Guest houses link.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:41 PM on April 10, 2009

I live out in Okinawa.. shoot me an email and I may have room (In the navy so I need to see if I'm in the area).
posted by aggienfo at 12:13 AM on April 11, 2009

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