First off, the name of this place is Apogama, not Mermaid’s Grotto… some cute nickname given to it by presumably an American who does not know any Japanese or Okinawan language. To be honest, I feel like probably very few foreigners know it by its’ Okinawan name “Apogama”; I only ever hear them call it “Mermaid’s Grotto” as if this is the official name… which it isn’t. Funny enough, the name Apogama actually comes from the the English word “appointment,” shortened to “apo” アポ, and the Okinawan word “gama” ガマ meaning “cave.”
アポイント appointo: appointment => apo アポ
ガマ (洞穴) gama: cave
This was known to be a secret spot for lovers to meet, hence the name “appointment.” I guess I find it kind of funny that a location already using an English name (well, Japanglish, really if I am being honest) was given some different name in English. While the name “Mermaid’s Grotto” sounds cute and whatnot, it is some made up name by Americans in recent years and not an official name. I am not sure many Japanese/Okinawan people would even know that this place was nicknamed Mermaid’s Grotto by foreigners… and just as I said before, probably most foreigners would not recognize it by its Okinawan name. I am sure there is some crossover of folks who know it by both names (and probably feel a tad confused by it, wondering if it is 2 separate places or in fact the same place like I did initially), but there seem to be a lot who don’t know the other side of it.
Anyway, located in Onna (North), this is another beautiful spot to check out in Okinawa, as well as a very popular for diving. It is even designated as a special cultural property or sightseeing or something like this of the town of Onna! However there is some serious undertow here, and there is even a sign in English cautioning against this, so swimming is NOT recommended. It is a nice place to explore the tide pools (with water shoes, felt boots for diving/snorkeling). Just use caution.
(pictures coming soon).