Although each Japanese prefecture is unique in its own way, tropical Okinawa Prefecture (沖縄県, Okinawa-ken) is by far the most distinct, almost like a different country. And that assessment is true to a certain extent; Okinawa, known then as the Ryukyu Kingdom, was independent from Japan until 1879, and was part of US territory from 1945 to 1972. As a result, the culture, food, and even the language (although many do speak standard Japanese) differ vastly from those of any other region.
On Okinawa Island, places of note are the Chura-umi Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world and home to the whale shark, as well as ancient Ryukyu castle ruins, most notably Shuri-jo. Buy your souvenirs at Kokusai-dori, Okinawa’s main street.
Off the main island, the Yaeyama and Miyako Islands have Japan’s most pristine beaches, while retaining traditional Okinawan culture.
Ishigaki Island boasts a pottery culture as beautiful as its natural surroundings, and the Ishigaki Island Pottery Festival is an..
The Okinawa Zoo & Museum Christmas Fantasy event has been running for over 25 years now, and is one of the largest illumination..
Held in January each year, the Ishigaki Island Marathon serves several purposes. Naturally, there's the component that challenges..