Okinawa Guide: Southeast Botanical Gardens
Southeast Botanical Gardens 東南植物楽園
Southeast Botanical Gardens is a privately-owned botanical garden in the center of Okinawa main island.
Set in approximately 100 acres around a number of pretty lakes, the gardens first opened in 1968 but were closed from 2010-2013 as the property came under new management.
Now visitors, especially those with children, can enjoy a variety of experiences, as well as the sub-tropical, theme-park setting.
The gardens are divided into two sections: the Water Park around the lakes and the Botanical Garden.
The Water Park section includes Baobab trees, lotus flowers, a grove of dragon blood trees and a rock garden. Visitors can feed the koi carp in the ponds and relax in a number of gazebos to admire the water and the Chinese-style ornamental bridges. The Restaurant Peace here serves Okinawan food with a tropical twist.
Highlights of the Botanical Garden include an avenue of tall Alexander palms, a herb and tropical fruit garden, more Baobabs and Giant Pothos plants.
The grounds are scattered with different animal petting zones where you can get up close and personal with goats, donkeys and squirrel monkeys.
You can see the park on a shuttle bus tour if you don't fancy the walk or take the walking/cart tour both accompanied by guides.
There are also a number of hands-on workshops aimed at kids including shisa coloring and cow art.
The gardens are illuminated each year from around the end of November to the end of February. Check the official website (below) for exact dates.
Southeast Botanical Gardens Access
Southeast Botanical Gardens is located roughly in the center of Okinawa main island a short drive from the Okinawakita I.C.
There is a bus from Naha, the #90 which takes 90 minutes to Nominkenkyu Center, from where a taxi is about 3 minutes.
Like most sites in Okinawa, rental car is the most convenient (Map code: 33 742 510).
Southeast Botanical Gardens
2146 Chibana, Okinawa City
Okinawa Prefecture 904-2143
Tel: 098 939 2555
Southeast Botanical Gardens is open from Tuesday to Thursday, 9am-6pm and Friday to Saturday (and days before a national holiday) 9am-10pm. Entrance is 1500 yen for adults, 1,000 yen for high school students, 500 yen for elementary and junior high school students and 1,000 yen for seniors.
Insect repellent and a hat are recommended.