We'd booked our flight in the UK, and so had the paperwork ready to check in for our 11:05 flight with ANA. There was a fairly long queue at the ANA check-in desks but we got called forward at 10:40 to check in for our flight as time was becoming an issue. Passports weren't needed for domestic flight and liquids were allowed in hand luggage (what novelty!). We were checked in, through security and sitting on the plane by 10:50 - so efficient! The plane had 3x4x3 seat formation and was about half empty. We were seated in the middle section behind the break so extra leg room, with empty seats all around us. After napping for an hour or so we were given free soft drinks and a lovely air hostess also gave us a little bag of sweets with 2 ANA postcards as she'd asked about our plans for our time in Japan and was surprised (impressed?) with the answer she received.
We landed at Naha Airport, Okinawa dead on time and went straight to baggage claim where our bags were some of the first ones off then out to airport lobby. I was in desperate need of food at this point so we headed to the 'Curry & Spaghetti café' directly on the right as you come out of baggage claim. We had really good pork & chicken katsu kare here, though the soft drink choice was slightly unsettling; I received a luminous green fizzy drink that really did just taste of fizz, no idea what flavour it was supposed to be...
After checking out the fish tank at the airport doors we walked to the monorail station and went seven stops to Kencho-Mae to get to our hotel (Abest Naha Hotel). There were beautiful views from the monorail on the way.
The main street (Kokusai Street) in this area is full of hotels and shops; our hotel was down the first side street on the left so very easy to find. After checking in and putting sun cream on, we stepped out into the glorious heat and sunshine to explore. The shop on the corner of our street and Kokusai had glass and souvenirs in so we went in to look. The shop workers were very helpful and friendly (no English but we found it didn't matter and we all understood somehow).
After looking at the glass wares we found ourselves next to the alcohol section, and within 5 minutes the lady had given us 3 'tasters' of sake each (about 200ml each glass). Initially I wasn't too keen on the idea of more alcohol after the dubious wine last night, but actually this was the first time I'd experienced 'hair of the dog' & it worked! We tried coffee sake (good if bitter), peach sake (middle bottle - oishii!), and some sort of citrus sake (not to our taste) and we ended up buying a small bottle of peach sake for ¥420 (about £2.50). (Subsequently this bottle travelled half way round Japan with us; it was too good to drink all in one go)
After purchasing our sake we turned to leave and were confronted with snake alcohol (?!) I'm still not any clearer what type of alcohol it was but pretty unsettling to see in a souvenir shop. There was also Albino Snake alcohol on offer (There were these big 5 gallon jars with snakes in then smaller bottles with smaller snakes in)
We then walked down the street having to dodge into every 4th shop for relief of air-con as we were still acclimatising (it was 18C when we left the UK, 39C here in Okinawa). We found a covered market on the right hand side of the street (about 3/4 of the way down) where I bought 3 lengths of printed cotton fabric totalling 4m for ¥2900 which is about £4/m. Then it was time for our obligatory stop at the convenience store for apple juice and snacks and then back to hotel for a little nap before dinner...
...The nap turned into sleep & we didn't make it out again... Midnight snacks of Madeline & marble cakes for dinner it was.