A couple of weeks ago I dropped in at the Yanbaru Sangyo Festival in Nago which showcases business in northern Okinawa. I made contact with a few local farmers and other small businesses that produce unique Okinawan products. Hopefully I will meet them again when writing or shooting magazine articles.
Another aspect of the festival was showing current and future development plans in the region. Of biggest interest to me were plans for the expansion of the Nago bypass
In the image above we see the Nago bypass. Currently, after leaving the expressway at Kyoda you drive north along the coast on the 58, then take a right at the Blue Seal / Mcdonalds junction as you enter Nago. At the next traffic light you turn left onto the new bypass. The image however also shows that the south end of the bypass will eventually join back to the 58. The yellow section of road is a further possible overwater extension connecting the bypass with the expressway. (This could also be done overland) In this situation the bypass would become a continuation of the expressway.
An even larger proposal is for the bypass to continue along the center of the Motobu peninsular to Bise just north of the Aquarium ( and potentially Universal Studios Okinawa.)
And if budgets stretched you could finish off with new bridge across to Ie Island.
It is a fascinating look into a possible future for Okinawa. Tourism is a huge part of the Okinawan economy and this is going to increase over the next few years and decades as international tourism increases and the U.S. military presence is reduced. Hopefully the government will be able to manage the economic, social, and environmental issues that this will create.