So, we've all heard of Okinawa for its stunning beaches and amazing sea life, right? But let me tell you about this one-of-a-kind spot we stumbled upon during our trip: Nago Pineapple Park. This place isn't your typical attraction, but it's an entire park dedicated to, you guessed it, pineapples.
When we first heard about it, we were like, “A pineapple park? Seriously?” But then we went, and guess what? It's actually a lot cooler than it sounds. We're talking riding a pineapple train, taking a pineapple self-driving cart, learning about pineapples and seeing unique pineapple products you never thought you'd see, and even some pineapple booze for those interested.
We've been through the park, tried the snacks, and scoped out the best spots for you. This guide is your go-to for everything Nago Pineapple Park, and we've packed it with all the insider info you'll need to make the most of your visit.
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About Nago Pineapple Park
Located a 75-minute drive from Naha, the capital of Okinawa, Nago Pineapple Park is a pineapple enthusiast's dream come true. Here, everything revolves around this tropical fruit. Hop on a pineapple train and cart to explore the pineapple park and learn fascinating facts about this sweet treat. Wander through a stunning subtropical garden and pause for those irresistibly cheesy photo ops, trust us, there are plenty. Hungry? Indulge in an array of pineapple-infused snacks at various stops throughout the park. Don't miss the Dinosaur Adventure area, perfect for fun photos with the young ones. And for the cherry (or should we say pineapple) on top, check out the La Piña Distillery, opened in 2022, for some pineapple booze. It's an all-around pineapple extravaganza that you won't want to miss.
How to Get To Nago Pineapple Park
If you're coming from Naha, you've got a couple of bus options to get you to Nago Pineapple Park:
Highway Bus: You can take highway bus number 111 or 117, or opt for the Yanbaru Express. These buses will get you to Nago Bus Terminal in about 90 minutes. Buses depart 1-2 times per hour.
Local Transfer: Once you're at Nago Bus Terminal, transfer to bus number 70 bound for Meio Daigaku Iriguchi. But be cautious: this bus runs infrequently, roughly every three hours.
We rented a car in Okinawa to make it a little easier to explore around the island. If you're driving, take the Okinawa Expressway from Naha and follow it to its northern end near Nago. The toll will set you back about 1,000 yen one way. From there, switch to regular roads and follow the signs to Pineapple Park. The total journey should take you between 75 and 120 minutes, although you should plan for a bit more time during rush hours. There is free parking available at the Nago Pineapple Park.
Adults (16 years and older) 1,200 yen
Children (4 to 15 years old) 600 yen
Under 4 years old Free
I strongly recommend buying your tickets in advance. Simply book them online and present the voucher on the day. When you get the tickets online you can often find them discounted. We bought ours on Klook. If you buy them on the day, you will always pay the full price. Remember that the park does not take card and you need to pay in cash only.
Business hours for the Nago Pineapple Park
10:00-18:00 (last entry 17:30)
Annanas Kitchen business hours
Weekends (Friday-Sunday) 11:00- 16:00 *Including public holidays
What to Expect at the Nago Pineapple Park
As soon as you step foot in the park, you'll realize that this place is all about pineapples. From pineapple-shaped decorations to guides who are experts in all things pineapple, get ready for a full immersion into the world of this tropical fruit. But no, seriously, do pay close attention to the decorations throughout the park. There are sconces in the shape of a pineapple, and even the toilet paper holders are made from pineapple shaped brass.
Ride the Pineapple Express
No, it's not the movie, it's the Pineapple Train ride that you'll get to experience here. It's a little train that takes you from the car park to the main entrance. The main train it's decorated with pineapples and the seats are all bright and yellow. The ride is very short, less than a couple of minutes.
You will be subjected to a Japanese pineapple theme song though. Pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pineapple! Don't blame me, it's actually really catchy. You can listen to the song on YouTube with the original dance and everything.
It's super cheesy, but yes, you do need to wait in line to get your photo taken. You will be surrounded by plastic pineapples and do silly faces. You can purchase your photo at the end. The photo costs 1200 yen. I was surprised to see they print the photos for you in case you buy them. Normally, you see them in digital format and decide to get them printed. If you don't want the photo, the staff just discards it.
Pineapple self driving cart
When you visit Nago Pineapple Park, one of the experiences you won't want to skip is the Pineapple Self-Driving Cart. This is more like a mini-adventure that's both informative and engaging. With audio commentary available in English, you'll get all the essential info about pineapples and the park itself as you ride along.
The cart takes you on a brief but captivating route lined with baby pineapples. Trust me, they're as adorable as they sound. The journey is not just about pineapples, though; the path is adorned with a variety of local flora, giving you a well-rounded glimpse of the park's botanical beauty.
The whole experience lasts only a few minutes, but it manages to pack in a lot. It's a great introduction to the park and a comfortable way to get some background information without trekking across the entire grounds.
Walk in the garden
You'll be greeted by a staggering variety of approximately 120 types of pineapples. If you thought all pineapples were created equal, prepare to be amazed.
But it's not just pineapples that welcome you; the staff have handcrafted Shisa statues that add a unique Okinawan touch to the area. For those not familiar, Shisa are traditional Ryukyuan cultural artefacts, somewhat resembling a cross between a lion and a dog, and they're believed to protect against evil spirits.
If you're looking for a change of scenery, take a stroll on the nearby aerial promenade. This walkway is said to be full of negative ions, which are thought to have various health benefits. The area closely mimics the atmosphere of a jungle, complete with lush greenery and the distant sounds of wildlife.
Lots of photo spots
There are lots of cheesy spots at every corner. Benches, giant pineapples, cute hearts made of plants. Every photo spot has a wooden selfie stands for your phone. Just set up the timer, place the phone there and say pineapple. It's an adorable idea but I must say, all the spots are extra cheesy. But I guess this is just part of the pineapple experience.
Dinosaur Adventure Tour
It's not just about pineapples, but randomly, it's also about dinosaurs. You'll encounter animatronic dinosaurs that look super fun and make all sort of sounds. And yes, you can find many, many cheesy photo spots here too. Probably the weirdest of them all is a dino with a large saddle where you can ride it and take the weirdest photo ever. The kids will love it tho!
Food & Beverage
There are plenty of stops for snacks as well as proper lunch places at Nago Pineapple Park.
Need a break while exploring? Don't miss the Pineapple Café. It's nestled among subtropical plants, so you feel relaxed the moment you walk in. The large windows offer an impressive view, like a painting filled with pineapple fields. The interior combines wood accents with pastel chairs, creating a cosy yet chic atmosphere. They even have terrace seating for those who prefer the open air.
One highlight is the view of the park's signature pineapple monument, perfect for a romantic selfie. The café is generally open on weekends and public holidays from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and they offer a selection of sweets and tropical drinks. Just a note: the café may close for bad weather, so plan accordingly.
Sweets de Pineapple
If you're looking to take home a piece of your pineapple experience, this shop is your go-to place. It's not just another gift store; it's a pineapple paradise. Alongside sweets and drinks that showcase the tangy and sweet flavours of pineapple, you'll find a variety of knick-knacks adorned with cute pineapple motifs. From home decor to accessories, this place has got pineapple-themed everything. But what really steals the show are the freshly baked pineapple sweets available for purchase. Best of all, if you can't carry all your pineapple loot with you, don't worry, they offer home delivery services as well.
After wandering through the botanical garden, you're going to want a breather and maybe something sweet. This is where this sweets spot comes into play. It's strategically positioned to give you that much-needed energy boost. One of the treats you shouldn't pass up is their "pine sticks," which are basically fresh pineapple chunks carved into easy-to-grab sticks. They've got the refreshing taste of raw pineapple without any of the hassle. If you're looking for something even cooler, try their ice lollies. It's like a chill breeze for your taste buds and a perfect way to recharge before you continue exploring.
Fresh on the scene is the Nago Pineapple Winery, a must-visit spot for any food and drink aficionado. This place is a haven for unique blends featuring Okinawan gems like pineapple, Shikwasa (a local citrus), and even bitter gourd. All these ingredients are sourced from contracted local farmers to ensure top-notch quality.
If you're up for a little tasting, head to the bar counter, where the staff are more than happy to guide you through their original menu. Popular picks include a tasting flight of three different types of wine, allowing you to compare flavours and find your favourite. For something a bit more adventurous, try the Pineapple vinegar soda flavoured with either shikwasa or blueberry. Seasonal offerings like mulled wine make appearances from time to time, and for a refreshing non-alcoholic option, there's freshly squeezed pineapple juice. If you're into health drinks, their Kenko smoothies blend the unique tastes of pineapple with either bitter gourd or shikwasa.
If you're a pineapple aficionado (and you should be since you are here), then a stop at Ananas Kitchen is non-negotiable. Housed in a trendy container shop, this place takes pineapple culinary experimentation to a whole new level. From pineapple taco rice and pineapple pizza to a glorious whole pineapple shaved ice, it's basically a pineapple lover's dream come true. Their newest menu addition, the Honey Pine Pizza for 700 yen (tax included), is an unexpected but delightful trio of flavours: Okinawan pineapple, cheese, and honey.
La Piña Distillery
Way back in 1992, Japan saw its very first winery dedicated to using pineapple as a primary ingredient: the Nago Pineapple Winery. They didn't just jump on a trend; they started one. To this day, it remains Japan's only source for pineapple wine, and it's a favourite souvenir for tourists visiting Okinawa. The winery has mastered the art of balancing the natural acidity of pineapple with just the right touch of sweetness, resulting in flavours that are distinctively Okinawan.
Fast forward to July 2022, the winery took a bold new step by opening La Piña Distillery. Specializing in pineapple brandy, which is quite the rarity globally, the distillery is in it for the long game. They sell pineapple brandy aged for three years, but in the meantime, you can still enjoy a variety of spirits. Their offerings include pineapple vodka, seeker spirits, and sugarcane rum. They even venture into more local flavours with sodas and sparkling wines featuring ingredients sourced right from Okinawa, like passion fruit.
Tip: You can sit down here and enjoy a perfectly crafted cocktail if you don't want to purchase a whole bottle of liquor.
Tips and Tricks
Best Time to Visit
If you're not a fan of crowds, aim to get there in the morning. The park is spacious, and visitors are generally considerate, so you won't feel rushed while taking selfies at the many photo spots.
Getting There and Tickets
Driving is the most convenient way to arrive, especially if you want the freedom to explore the park at your own pace. But remember, Japan has a strict zero-tolerance policy on alcohol, so if you're planning to try some of the winery offerings, make sure you have a designated driver. There's ample parking available, so that's one less thing to worry about.
When it comes to tickets, buy them in advance if you can. You'll usually get a slight discount, and it saves you the hassle of standing in a queue and dealing with cash payments.
Advance tickets can be purchased with a card, but if you're buying them at the park, be prepared to pay in cash. Sometimes there's a queue, so plan accordingly.
You'll find plenty of kitschy, Instagram-worthy photo spots throughout the park. Many even have phone stands in front of them. Just set your phone on a timer, strike a pose, and say "pineapple!"
Free Samples and More
Don't miss out on the free samples scattered throughout the park. It's a great way to try before you buy, especially at the winery and various snack stops.
If you're wondering what to bring back from your pineapple-packed day out, well, your choices are almost as plentiful as the fruit in the park. Whether it's edible or wearable, if it's pineapple-themed, it's likely here.
As soon as you start your adventure in the park, you'll notice shopping opportunities. For instance, right at the start of the track, there's a professional photo opportunity that you can take advantage of. The shot will be ready and printed for you to buy by the time you finish your tour.
Price Guide for Souvenirs
- Professional Photo: Around 1000-1500 yen. A great keepsake that's ready on the spot.
- Food Items: Ranges from 350 to 2000 yen. To give you an idea, a pineapple pizza will set you back around 1800 yen, while simpler treats like a pineapple cornet are only 350 yen.
- Pine Soft Ice Cream: A cool 380 yen.
- Pineapple Wine: A small bottle usually costs around 1300 yen.
- Hard Liquor: If you're eyeing something stronger, expect to pay around 4000 yen, depending on what you choose.
- Biscuits and Snacks: Prices vary, but most are in the region of 1000 yen.
- Apparel and Accessories: Looking for pineapple-decorated clothes or small wallets? You can find these too, typically ranging around 1000-3000 yen.
- Kids' Souvenirs: Smaller trinkets and souvenirs for kids are also available, so you can keep the young ones entertained and let them have a memento of the day.
While Nago Pineapple Park is all about soaking up the tropical vibes, it's crucial to stay safe and take necessary precautions. Here are some guidelines to ensure you have an enjoyable, worry-free experience.
The Okinawan sun can be strong, even when it doesn't feel that way. Always apply a good amount of sunscreen, ideally SPF 30 or higher, and reapply throughout the day. Don't forget areas like the back of your neck and your ears, which are often overlooked.
The subtropical climate can catch up with you before you know it. Make sure to have plenty of water on hand. Dehydration can creep up on you and spoil what would otherwise be a great day out, so keep that water bottle filled.
Check the Weather
Keep an eye on local news and weather updates, especially during typhoon season. The park may be closed during severe weather conditions for safety reasons, so make sure to check its status before making the journey.
In a nutshell, Nago Pineapple Park is an unmissable gem in Okinawa for a slew of reasons. Sure, it's cute and local, and okay, maybe a little kitschy, but that's all part of its unique charm. It's an attraction that caters to everyone, ideal for families with kids and just as enjoyable for couples looking for a quirky afternoon adventure.
From self-driving pineapple carts to an eclectic range of pineapple-based treats and souvenirs, the park provides an unconventional and captivating experience. And don't forget the newly opened LA PIÑA DISTILLERY, offering a selection of pineapple booze that's rare in the world!
While it might be a bit pricier than some other local attractions, it's worth every yen. The food is delightful, the atmosphere is cute, and let's face it, where else can you ride a pineapple-themed train through a subtropical garden?
Additionally, by spending your tourist dollars here, you're giving back to the local community, contributing to Okinawa's vibrant economy. That feels good too, right?
So, if you're compiling a list of must-dos in Okinawa, make sure Nago Pineapple Park is on it.