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Okinawa

Tropical paradise and a unique culture

About Okinawa

Things to do in Okinawa

Areas

Uruma

Uruma

The 2005 merger of the former cities and towns of Gushikawa, Ishikawa, Katsuren and Yonashiro created Okinawa Prefecture's third largest City. Uruma City, known as Uruma Shi to the Japanese, straddles the Pacific coastline of Central Okinawa and eight nearby islands Historically a collection of..

Naha

Naha

Naha in the south of the main island of Okinawa is the capital city of the Prefecture and the center of business, culture, arts, entertainment and politics. Nearly all visitors will begin their visit to Okinawa by arriving at the Naha International Airport or Naha's Tomari Sea Port. The city is ..

Yomitan

Yomitan

Yomitan Village on the East China Sea in Central Okinawa is well known for its pottery, beaches, castle, agriculture, and lighthouse. Known as Yomitan Son to the Japanese, Yomitan prides itself as the village in with the largest population in all of Japan; it has nearly 41,000 residents. Historical..

Dining

Naha Airport Restaurant

Naha Airport Restaurant

Starving after a long flight into Naha Airport, I asked the Information Counter receptionist at the arrivals floor for the best place to go for Okinawan cuisine. When she wrote in Japanese script “Naha Airport Restaurant”, I was slightly ..

Two Awamori Distilleries in Shuri

Two Awamori Distilleries in Shuri

A visit to Okinawa is not complete without having tasted some Awamori, the local liquor of the islands. Influenced from trade with Thailand during the Ryukyu era, Awamori was a popular export from Okinawa and often gifted by the Ryukyu kingdom to nei..

Makishi Public Market

Makishi Public Market

A good place to sample some traditional Okinawan delicacies is the Makishi Public Market. A small, two story building located just off Naha's famous Kokusai street. The first floor is a wet market of sorts where vendors sell fresh produce and sea..

Places to stay

Kalakaua Inn: The Kitchen Hostel Ao

Kalakaua Inn: The Kitchen Hostel Ao

If you're a budget-conscious traveller still intent on exploring the best that Okinawa has to offer, consider the Kitchen Hostel Aoi in Naha city. Its convenient location and comfortable low-cost rooms will allow you to stay in comfort and enjoy ..

Okinawa Grand Mer Resort

Okinawa Grand Mer Resort

Japan is acclaimed for its hospitality, so much so that there is a word for it called omotenashi. In Okinawa, you need to be careful with the locals, least they adopt you into their family. Once I was having lunch at a beach shack, and soon struck up..

Hotel Breeze Bay Marina

Hotel Breeze Bay Marina

At the Hotel Breeze Bay Marina, all the rooms in its Tower Building boast of a breathtaking ocean view. There's a lot to see and do around the hotel. Guests can take a glass-bottom cruise vessel to view the colorful marine life without getting we..

Latest

Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum

Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum

“Shota, Shota, are you okay? Shota!” It was a beautiful Saturday evening. Laughter and chatter fill the night skies on the beach overlooking the Philippine sea. Shota is soaked by a wave of friendship, in the form of people in the teens,..

48 Hours on Kouri Island

48 Hours on Kouri Island

... Just enjoy it! It's a micro-paradise linked to Yagaji island (and then on to main Okinawa) by a 2km long Kouri bridge - the longest open-road bridge in Japan. You can cross it by car, taxi, or even by foot, as it offers stunning views of the..

World Heritage Nakijin Castle

World Heritage Nakijin Castle

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries an ancient people built a fortification, with large stones high above the sea, one that was largely hidden to the world. Halfway across the world on the other side of the Pacific, another ancient people also ..

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About okinawa

Okinawa Nagasaki Fukuoka Saga Kumamoto Kagoshima Miyazaki Oita Ehime Kochi Tokushima Kagawa Yamaguchi Hiroshima Okayama Tottori Shimane Hyogo Kyoto Osaka Wakayama Nara Shiga Mie Fukui Ishikawa Toyama Gifu Aichi Nagano Shizuoka Niigata Yamanashi Kanagawa Tokyo Saitama Gunma Tochigi Chiba Ibaraki Fukushima Miyagi Yamagata Iwate Akita Aomori Hokkaido
RegionKyushu
IslandRyukyu Islands
CapitalNaha
Population1,392,818
Area2281.00 sq. km

Although each Japanese prefecture is unique in its own way, tropical Okinawa 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 traditional Okinawan culture remains there very much.

Things to Do in Okinawa
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