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The sun filters threw majestic King Palms along a walkway at the Southeastern Botanical Gardens. The gardens are located on Route 36 a few miles down from Kadena Air Base's Gate 3.
The sun filters threw majestic King Palms along a walkway at the Southeastern Botanical Gardens. The gardens are located on Route 36 a few miles down from Kadena Air Base's Gate 3. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)
The sun filters threw majestic King Palms along a walkway at the Southeastern Botanical Gardens. The gardens are located on Route 36 a few miles down from Kadena Air Base's Gate 3.
The sun filters threw majestic King Palms along a walkway at the Southeastern Botanical Gardens. The gardens are located on Route 36 a few miles down from Kadena Air Base's Gate 3. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)
Who ever heard of carp that beg -- but that's just what they do in many of the ponds at the Southeast Botanical Gardens. Packets of fish pellets can be purchased for 100 yen, but you better watch out because the water boils with fish as soon as the first pellet hits the water.
Who ever heard of carp that beg -- but that's just what they do in many of the ponds at the Southeast Botanical Gardens. Packets of fish pellets can be purchased for 100 yen, but you better watch out because the water boils with fish as soon as the first pellet hits the water. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)
After strolling through the mostly sunlit paths of the Southeast Botanical Gardens, the mostly shaded lanes of the Enchanted Garden can be a welcome break.
After strolling through the mostly sunlit paths of the Southeast Botanical Gardens, the mostly shaded lanes of the Enchanted Garden can be a welcome break. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)
A variety of bird life inhabits the many ponds of the Southeast Botanical Gardens and many are so used to humans they seem to pose for photographs.
A variety of bird life inhabits the many ponds of the Southeast Botanical Gardens and many are so used to humans they seem to pose for photographs. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

As the weather warms during the next few months, sandy beaches and sparkling seas become more popular. But if, like me, you’re not really a beach person, Okinawa offers plenty of other natural delights.

The Southeast Botanical Gardens’ verdant foliage and vibrant fauna are a soothing experience for anyone ready for a break from the sand and surf.

The slightly hilly pathways wind around numerous plants, bushes, palms and trees. And if walking is not your thing, catch a ride on the tram located near the entrance.

It’s the perfect opportunity to bring the kids and wear them out. Or, if you’re single, people-watching can be a great pastime.

Relax to the soothing strains of Japanese music that provides a fitting backdrop for the gardens’ lush plant life and tranquil ponds.

The best day to visit this outdoor park is one when the sun is shining and a cool breeze is blowing through the park. Sunlight is truly essential to appreciate the full visual impact of the park.

The highlight of my visit was a grove of coconut trees — climbing allowed! — and ponds filled with carp that actually beg for food.

I’ve been known to get lost in my own hometown, so when I say the gardens are easy to find, it must be true.

Travel a few miles down Route 74 leading from Kadena Air Base’s Gate 3, and then follow the easy-to-see signs that will lead you from Route 74 directly to the gardens.For more visit: www.sebg.co.jp/e/

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