Gateway to Okinawa (GTO) positively exceeded my expectations in all areas; quality instruction with top masters, excellent accommodations, and culturally enriching events.
During the All Okinawa Karate and Kobudo Seminar Series (October 2013), we participated in small group sessions with seven different masters representing five different arts. It is unlikely that there has ever been a more diverse or competent group of Okinawan masters brought together over a one week period to share their love and knowledge of traditional Okinawan karate and kobudo. The small groups, often 10 or fewer students, ensured that the masters were able to interact directly with each participant.
Even though I’ve travelled to Okinawa several times previously, and have stayed at various hotels, the accommodations arranged through Gateway to Okinawa were the best yet. The apartment GTO found for me had a kitchen and washing machine as well as an excellent location in central Naha close to a monorail station. This not only saved time and money but made for a relaxing place to come back to after demanding training sessions.
GTO also provided access to a variety of cultural experiences including the annual Okinawan Tug of War where we received a personal guided tour that took us to the heart of the action. A tour was also arranged to visit the Okinawan Karate Museum and burial places of famous karate masters where we could pay our respects. GTO also provided opportunities for individualized trips to multiple places on the island ranging from the famous aquarium in the north to the Peace Park in the south.
Most important to me is the belief that Gateway to Okinawa puts people first, the people of Okinawa, and visitors from all over the world. GTO embodies the Okinawan saying, “Once we meet we are friends,” and that is a feeling I got from everyone involved with GTO. The positive relationships that emerged from my recent experience are a testimony that GTO is becoming great by doing good, by creating win-win situations that spread Okinawan culture as well as martial arts.
I highly recommend Gateway to Okinawa as a resource for the first time visitor or for the veteran traveler who has visited Okinawa several times. Without a doubt, they will be my choice for future trips.
Kyoshi, Ryusyokai Karate-do
I have been to Okinawa 25 times. This past May I brought a group of 24 students, many of them for their first time. Thanks to my friends at Gateway to Okinawa, we enjoyed beach training and a barbecue, tours of Orion Beer and awamori factory, the aquarium in Nago, Peace Park, and many other sites of interest. Although I have seen the sites on previous trips, I have never experienced so much on one visit. Gateway to Okinawa took great care of us! I would like to thank Gateway to Okinawa on behalf of my students. Many of them said it was the best time of their life.
Neil Stolsmark Kobudo Doushi Rensei Kai 8th dan
I used Gateway to Okinawa in October 2012 and I was very impressed with the results. Steve and James are great people to work with to make your visit to Okinawa a great experience. They met up with us the shortly after we arrived and gave us a run down on things and were accessible the entire trip to make sure our needs were met. They are well connected in Okinawa and will show you how to make the most of your visit. The best thing they did for my friends and I was the accommodations they set up. The apartment they use is great! Top to bottom it couldn't be better. It's inexpensive, very clean, convenient location (close to kokusai dori, grocery store, Dojo Bar, and karate dojos), it is also very well managed and they have airport shuttle. You just can't get any better unless you stayed with a friend.
If you are going to Okinawa there's no doubt you should use Steve and James, Gateway to Okinawa to make your trip the best possible.
I have been travelling to Okinawa periodically since 1990. While I know the island well, know who I will be training with, and speak the language (well enough to get by, anyway!) Gateway to Okinawa has quickly become an invaluable service for me in planning my visits. They know the island inside and out, have connections in all kinds of places, and provide a very professional service. From tours to historical places to great places to stay and eat (and drink), everything I have arranged through them has been taken care of with care. If you are looking for a place to train, they also have relationships with the best teachers Okinawa has to offer, relationships that a visitor would be hard-pressed to develop on their own. On top of it all, the people who run Gateway to Okinawa are really great people. They are engaged in life on the island and the Okinawan martial arts, and, in the spirit that I have come to associate with the island, really want to help share the island and its culture with everyone who visits and it shows in the service they provide.
My wife and I made another pilgrimage to the birthplace of Karate in October 2012 and we utilised the services of Gateway to Okinawa to organise our trip. The GTO team worked hard to make our trip a success and memorable for all the right reasons. Previously we had travelled with big groups and as a result got the sanitised “one size fits all” experience; with all the drama’s that come from travelling with big groups thrown in for good measure. GTO personalised our trip and help us to achieve all we planned to on the trip, and threw in a few suggestions of their own that we hadn’t thought of – or known were possible!
IMHO the GTO team went above and beyond the call of duty. They not only took care of our accommodation and airport transfers, they arranged additional training for us with some fantastic instructors in both Kobudo and Karate. Whilst we were on the island to train with our own Sensei, these extra classes were certainly well worth the extra time and effort. They introduced us to some awesome people and answered all of our newbie questions with a smile. The training was great, the accommodation was great, the tours and day trips were also great. They even went out of their way to make sure we were OK after Typhoon Jelawat.
Thanks guys. You may rest assured that when we return in 2013 we’ll be having you help us organise things for us and our students.
DIRECTOR & PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT
CRUX AUSTRALIS PTY LTD
ABN: 62 131 309 932 ACN: 131 309 932 RTO #: 31941
2/54 Kingston Drive, Helensvale QLD 4212
Ph: 07 55000822 Fax: 07 56656268