Kouri Ocean Tower is a tourist attraction situated on the southeast corner of the island. You have to drive up the side of the mountain on narrow roads and for a large tour bus it was a bit of a challenge; the roads just wide enough to get a bus up there. The tower is visible from many different areas as it towers that side of the island. I wasn’t really interested in going there but I had no choice as it was part my bus tour.
The Kouri Ocean Tower is a small tourist spot that was included with my tour. We were ushered into the first floor where you get to enjoy a shell museum. I am not really interested in sea shells but I can imagine some people are interested in them. I just breezed past this area as it wasn’t interesting for me. You then get to see the expensive museum souvenir shop that sells your typical expensive shell and coral art pieces. Once again I was not interested and after a cursory look I headed to the elevator.
There is a single elevator that takes you up to the second floor. There was a line as everyone from the bus was trying to head up at the same time. The elevator only holds about 8 people and outside of tours visiting it is not that busy. Once you get off at the second floor you are hit by the amazing views. You can see everything from that corner of the island but it takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust on a brilliant sunny day.
Inside the tower there really isn’t much you can do. You can head up to the top of the tower, which almost everyone will do. I believe there are 3 more floors above the second floor and you have to walk up to each floor. The 3rd floor is almost the same as the second while the 4th floor is an outdoor area where you can enjoy the views even more with a smaller platform just above that.
The top platform is where they have a nice bell. You can hear it ringing a lot and you can ring it yourself. It is popular for couples to ring it to hope for good luck as a couple. I got fed up waiting for people to finish so I ended up only staying a minute or so. I only wanted to get a few photos without glass in the way as the glare was pretty bad but I was out of luck and patience. Just an FYI, try to avoid staying below the bell as it is very loud when it is rung.
Once you finish with the tower you head out the exit and you are in the gift shop area. The gift shop was nice but not interesting for me at all. They have your typical northern Okinawa sweets such as everything pineapple. I made a quick walk around and then left as I wasn’t really interested in things there. I actually went back to the souvenir shop as I had too much time on my hands before we left. If you are interested in buying souvenirs, then this area is nice but overall I wasn’t interested.
The stop at Kouri Ocean Tower was okay but we had too much time. We had an hour and it was a good 30 minutes too much for me. There was a really interesting looking tourist area at the base of the bridge where you could smell the barbecue and see the festival style event happening but we had to go up to the tourist tower instead. I really can’t complain too much as I knew what I was getting into before I went but I wouldn’t have visited this tower otherwise. Maybe you would like it more than me.