Finding turquoise, aqua and shades of green SEA GLASS scattered all over the beaches of Okinawa, Japan was enough to make my heart skip a few beats. But… to find THE most amazing shells washed up in the sand and in between rocks? My heart almost leaped out of my body!
I’m not even sure how I kept it together after I found these shells in the next photo while taking an hour stroll on the beach before breakfast. And yes… I said “on the beach” – can you believe it? All of the shells we found were on the beach or just at the water’s edge. Pinch me!
Every day we woke up to this stunning view in Nago, Okinawa looking down from our room at that beautiful beach where I found that awesome SPIDER CONCH, DIMIDIATE AUGER, PAINTED SCALLOP and BEAR PAW CLAM.
Our heads were spinning as we stared at our shell loot from our first day shelling. I know… what?
That was Day 1. Ready to get your mind blown away? This was Day 2 in Okinawa…
To explore the entire island, we rented a car to find sweet little paths leading to the spectacsheller shell filled beaches.
From there, we hiked miles of beaches and climbed mountains of rocks to get to another Shellgri-la.
Each step took us to another Shelltopia.
Every afternoon, we sifted through our treasures to ogle at our fortune.
Okinawa has been on our bucket list since we visited our friends Lee and Susan when they lived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While we were visiting them, they showed us their collection of shells they found in Okinawa… OMG… they had those SPIDER CONCHS and huge CONES they found on the beaches. Immediately Clark and I looked at each other “We HAVE to go there!”.
I’m telling you, each day filled us with excitement and joy to discover a new world of beauty.
I want to share more photos with identifications of more shells and beach bling but after traveling more than 30 hours back home to Sanibel… I’m a little off my game right now. But to tide you over if you have questions, here are maybe a few answers …
Hotel? AJ Kouki Resort
Car? Times Car Rental (FYI- Clark did an awesome job driving on the other side of the road!)
Food? Loved it! We stuck to places around the hotel with of course lots of chicken, fish, rice and noodles… not as much sushi as we thought we’d find. (Funny, they have soup and salad for breakfast)
Traveling with shells? As with all of our trips, we only bring home what will fit in our carry-on suitcases. So yes, we brought home lots of shells with no problems going through security. We didn’t however take a big wardrobe so we would have room for our loot. I did take like 5 different shelling shirts (I washed them every night in the tub) but it seems all of my pics have that pink one on- hahah. Maybe thats my new lucky color? Naaaaa- I’ll stick to my aqua- ;)
Snorkeling? We snorkeled for maybe 2 hours one day… it was so weird… although it was extremely clear and pretty, we didn’t see any shells. I picked up one empty OLIVE- thats it. We saw a few live STRAWBERRY CONCHS which are very common (we called them FIGHTING CONCHS while we were there since they were every where- haha) and then felt like we were waisting time since all of the empty shells were on the beach. Well, and plus- I snorkeled with my waterproof backpack which failed and leaked… with my iPhone with the Lifeproof waterproof case on it inside the backpack… the case failed too. I drowned my iPhone- ugh. That was the end of snorkeling for our trip but trust me- that did not slow me down. iPhone schmiphone- there was no time to worry about that- there were beaches waiting for me to explore!
Check out more info about this trip to Okinawa and lots more photos on ..
Gone Extreme Shelling- Across the World– http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2015/06/15/gone-extreme-shelling-across-the-world/
Sea Glass Beach Finds While Beach Combing Okinawa– http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2015/07/06/sea-glass-beach-finds-while-beach-combing-okinawa/
Indo Pacific Seashells Of Okinawa Japan– http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2015/06/24/indo-pacific-seashells-of-okinawa-japan/
Amazing adventure, awesome trip, spectacular shells. I did not realize that the shelling was that amazing there! Did you see a lot of people on the beaches there or were they relatively quiet? Just curious … I think I might have to add this to my bucket list. So excited about the lifting of travel restrictions to Cuba, that has also been added to my list. I will be going to the Bahamas (not making it to your islands of choice this time, but heading to Bimini for some snorkeling … hoping to find some shells there too). So glad you guys had a great trip and made it home safe!
Our hotel beach had a few other people (not many shell collectors though) but we rarely saw anybody else on the other beaches we went to. soooooo nice.
Wow wow wow! As you say, BOOMshellacka! what a great treasure trip! Thank you for sharing! I never thought of Japan as a great place for shelling, which is odd since it is an island :)
Wow! I never thought I would want to go to Japan. Now I do! Incredible shells! I hope jet lag isn’t too brutal. :)
So beautiful, please share more……
Such beautiful shells! We were stationed there about 30 years ago, loved Okinawa but never thought about looking for shells :-( I would love to go back! Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip!
My brother was stationed in Okinawa a few years ago and he too found lots of beautiful shells lying on the beach.
How exciting! So happy for you!
Wow!!! Love the shells of course….
But that sea glass !!! Amazing finds!!!
all I can say is OMG…………….look at those shells and sea glass. JEALOUS!!
Wow!!! Just added Japan to my Shelling Bucket List. Can’t wait for the shell identification thanks for sharing.
Almost speechless……except for ‘WOW’!
I am a big sea glass collector here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I also love
the pottery shards and make jewelry from them. Looks like in addition to the
shells the glass and pottery were in abundance. I am sooo jealous.
Beautiful shells and seaglass – i love seaglass
Can’t wait to hear more about your trip after you are rested
WOW! Amazing shells…but that Seaglass?? Jealous!! I’ve only been lucky once on St. Lucia to find some seaglass.. just beautiful treasures you got!
In my previous post i saw i had Cards from 16.90 – i was trying to copy something from AMAZON Go to Amazon and key in the Search – Sea Glass Cards – i have them and they tell you about the sea glass, what the colors came from (bottles, Noxema tubs etc) and the time period, really good information
yes, Richard LaMotte from Chestertown, Md here on the Eastern Shore
published those cards, they are wonderful, can’t live without them as I am
a big fan of sea glass and pottery shards. I find everything along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
Hi Gail, I have his book Pure Sea Glass, I love looking for sea glass, I was in Sanibel and actually found a green piece of sea glass (not new bur well tumbled), Found it by the Lighthouse, have been going to Sanibel for 10 years and never saw sea glass there before
Where along the Chesapeake Bay do you find sea glass? I live in Essex, a suburb of Baltimore and would love to go hunting.
I would love to hunt too! Can you let us know where? Thanks
hi Gail- thanks for the info! I looked it up too but I’m a little confused… when you say “cards”… you mean note cards or ID cards. Im not sure which one to buy now- his book? or cards? …for identification. thank you!
Oh, Pam! It ALL looks so amazing and wonderful!! So happy for you and Clark! Can’t wait to see more:)
I’m still on the Marine Expedition, making a lot of identifications and finding some rare shells, although not as pretty as the ones you found!
But still… I am contributing to science, so that’s good. :)
Susan do you ever post pictures of the shells that you ID? Pat
Was there any difficulty taking them out of the country?
Holy Moly Pam. You got me checking flights to Japan girfriend!!!!! Welcome back- the island missed you.
What fantastic shells. It’s hard to imagine that people don’t go to the beach and pick up a few shells. Pam you may start a run of people flocking to Okinawa for the shells. I wish it was closer. It must have been hard to leave some shells behind. Can’t wait to see some more pictures. Pat
Wow! This is awesome! Thank you so much for letting me live vicariously through you. :)
Pam – you must have gained an Okinawan follower!
hahah – Do-gooder Clark went to a Rotary meeting in Nago and was asked to speak … so Im sure there are a few of those guys that checked it out. I think SSS was just being clever and silly ;)
According to GoogleTranslate, it means “Surprisingly wonderful seashells.” Which fits perfectly! :-)
Oh my gosh!! What a wonderful place! Absolutely, gorgeous finds on the beach! I hope to go there one day.
What an fanshellulous trip!! I can’t wait to see what other treasures you found…thank you so much for sharing your finds…you are the shelling Queen!!!
My daughter just arrived on Okinawa yesterday (today?!) to join her Air Force husband for a 3 yr assignment. Needless to say, I forwarded this post to her to start gathering my haul…er…go explore the beach for me! Yet another reason for me to go for a visit…new grandchild in 4 more months, of course, is the MAIN reason! LOL Love your blog!
Omigosh! You will have a wonderful time visiting her! We met a marine stationed at Camp Foster and loves to shell so we invited her with us one day- i’ll show pics of that day in another post. I hope your daughter gets to explore the northern part of the island… and you too. Congratulations on your new addition!
What’s the policy on taking shells, live shelling, or other restrictions on what you can take with you? I know some other places in Asia are fairly restrictive.
Carrie and I are definitely adding this to our list of places to visit, it looks amazing.
Hey Joe, We didn’t have any problems bringing home our shells.
Lovely seashells! I never knew Japan had such beautiful shells! Considering to shell there sometime! :) By the way, if you need any help identifying the shells, I’d be glad to help. :)
Joash! Yes! I will get in touch because I am so overwhelmed by all the different species of shells…. especially cones. Its crazy how many different types we found.. and not to even mention the cowries- jeez- its wonderful! thank you so much for offering to help- Im sure you have many the same info-pacific shells that we found. I’ll email you! :)
Hi Pam! Sure thing! Just send the pics over! :)
Great googly-moogly! Those shells are ridiculous and the view from your balcony was gorgeous. What the heck is that big orange spherical thingy? Thank you so much for sharing… Looking forward to hearing more about the Loot.
I was wondering about the orange thing too! It looks sorta like coral but i have no idea. :P
It is a “seed” from a corkscrew pine.
Hi Bird, Its called Adan Fruit that hangs on some of the trees near many of the beaches we went to. This one had fallen so I thought it was so beautiful with the yellows and oranges that I had to photograph it with the shells. :) I googled it and it says its not good to eat.
Please adopt me and take me on your adventures….LOL! Will be in Clearwater Beach from July 4-18 and can’t wait to go shelling!!!!!
hahaha If we think about adoption, you’re top of the list…. if you have shell cleaning and organizing abilities. LOL
All I can say is WOW!! Beautiful treasures you guys found. I want to go to Japan on a cool beach with cooler temperatures and with so few people!
Vicki- trust me, it was VERY HOT and humid there. It rained one day- the only cool day. LOL
Fabulous shells….thats for yet again letting me live through your travels! Amazing place and shells! Ill have to add it to my bucket list! I hope to see you in July when Im on the island for the month!
Thanks for yet…
Great looking shells and sea glass. Were they on all the beaches or just certain ones? Looks like a fun vacation!
what an awesome find in such a place like Okinawa who would have guessed but again its mother natures realm and she gives treasures like you two found to good people like the both of you are,glad you found such beauties and shared with all your friends that’s why we love shelling so much what a joy.sincerely r.g.stein
WOW – never knew Japan had shells like these beauties! You two are really “living the life”! So lucky! Thanks for sharing your stories and photos, Pam. Loved meeting you in May (I’m one of the two women who live near each other and worked at the same company, but met on the boat!) Okinawa is now on my list of places to visit!
Wowza! Those are gorgeous! I can’t wait to hear more about them! I love the seaglass- we find some when we visit family up in Maine. Congrashellations on the amazing haul!
Speaking of drowning devices, i may have nearly drowned my tablet with drool over your pictures !!! Holy cow are those gorgeous!
Thanks so you all for such nice comments. We are organizing and trying to ID some of our different shells so I hope to have more photos for you soon. we just keep shaking our heads in disbelief. haha
The cards are under Pure Sea Glass Identification Deck for $16.95 ISBN #978-0-9753246-5-3 this was under Amazon. My friend Denise and I got to meet you the week of April 19th we went out on your lecture cruise to the state park, we learned a lot from you. Now I need to go to Okinawa it looks so beautiful
thank you- i ordered it! ;)
It is hard to believe any place can rival Sanibel but Okinawa and GTMO sure rank up there. I loved all the sea glass and the shells were amazing. Thanks for the great pictures and information. Maybe all of us shellers can book a charter plane with you at the helm!
I like that idea!
Just beautiful. The shells are nice, especially the huge cones, but the sea glass and pieces of pottery are just breath taking.
OMG, these photos make my heart beat faster just sitting here in my chair looking at them. These shells are spectacular….you two are so fortunate to be able to share the love of shelling together and be able to make these wonderful trips. Thank you sooooo much for taking your time to share this part of your life with all of us out here in cyber land.
I need to make more trips to the northern beaches! I haven’t had a ton of luck combing the southern beaches. I’m glad your trip was so great. We are stationed here on a 4 year tour and love it. I saw someone asking about regulation and just wanted to pipe in. I do know from my scuba diving experience that live shelling carries a ticket of 40 grand or so. There’s plenty on the beaches and lots to see if you have the opportunity to dive out here but I would stick to the beaches for gathering ;)
I have a feeling you used my book for directions….congrats on your shelling finds, you’re welcome. :)
I think I’d have died and gone to heaven! We’ve been to Sanibel and brought home our share of small conchs, but this is another level entirely! Put Okinawa on my bucket list – now!
Which beaches did you search in Okinawa? My sister is currently stationed there and I’d love to send her to find a few to bring back stateside.
I was born on Okinawa, got the privilege of living there from 03-05 with military husband, and the shells are only part of the beauty, as it seems you also found out…the people, the quiet beaches, the hospitality, the safety, the politeness! We go back every three years, are good friends with our landlords and others from our village, where we lived not too far from the Renaissance resort, off the main road on the west side of Okinawa, past Moon Beach but before Nago. Nakadomari is the best place ever, our home away from home, our family. Shells are beautiful there, so is the fish and marine life, and it’s nice you made friends and let so many who live there keep what you found. And, how nice of you to take that Marine around who wanted to shell with you, as the restrictions on driving there are strict because of some Americans who are or were stationed there and are not more careful as drivers or with their time off base partying. Very sad. But, we went back in 2008, 2012, and 2015…magical times! So glad you went and enjoyed it. A heaven, so different from Japan, and although we love mainland Japan, Okinawans were never Japanese, never wanted to be, so it’s nice to see a completely different Ryukyu culture there, too: Palaces, temples, untouched areas (and let’s be honest, if the Japanese had their way, if the bases were NOT there, the beaches would be built up and GONE by now!) of nature…just amazing.
Amazing. I’m currently preparing a trip to Okinawa and I would value very much your advice on the best beaches to go beachcombing.
My son and I spent about two days collecting shells on the main island of Okinawa in 2017. We were simply blown away by the variety and abundance. I spent a total of 4 years in Hawaii several decades ago and I haave to say that the shelling in Okinawa was better by leaps and bounds. There was simply no comparison. I think Hawaii might have been resoaqbly good for collecting a.very long time ago but has been terribly overcollected in recent decades.. One thing that drove me crazy in Okinawa was seeing a couple of snorkellers stepping on coral on a reef close to shore. WIth the acidifiication of the reefs due to climate change I think it is likely that many shells species will suffer as well.