I had read reviews suggesting this was a nice, uncrowded place. Exactly right. We visited soon after the new year holidays. Knowing Okinawa draws lots of tourists then, I figured we might find a crowd. Not at all. I was almost sorry there weren't more folks there, if only to bump up revenue. (Fee was 400 yen for adults; students free.) Parking was easy. The museum sits in a nice part of Naha's downtown, near the New City development and a short stroll to the monorail line. Very convenient for a half-day experience.
The structure is spacious and impressive. We had all the room and silence we could enjoy. Employees were quite helpful, and the displays were good. Restrooms were impressive. We had lunch at cafe upstairs -- a very high-quality experience.
Here is my one reservation: As a native English speaker, I wish there had been more detailed information in English. The exhibits are clearly and understandably aimed at the national Japanese audience. But, for instance, the cool display of native birds gave only genus-species in letters I could read. Everything else, including the birds' popular names, was in Nihongo only. The free recorded walking tour was well organized but not too helpful since the comments were quite general. I didn't find many details about about specific exhibits.
That said, I gleaned as much as I could from the spare amounts in English and knew just enough history to get some useful instruction from the museum. We didn't go through the art museum, so no comments about that. Before we return, I'll read up on natural and human history so I'm more prepared. But even if you don't know much, you'll probably enjoy the visuals -- and the building itself.
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