There’s a reason why over 10 million people visit Okinawa every year – Japan's southernmost island is a natural wonder, with pristine beaches, friendly people and a unique local culture heavily influenced by its Southeast Asian neighbors. Its main city Naha is home to popular attractions such as Shuri Castle, Naminoue Shrine and the bustling central shopping district Kokusai Street.
But for most visitors, the main attraction is the magnificent mini islands and the crystal clear waters that surround them. Okinawa is a diver's paradise, with some of the world's top diving spots at Kerama, Miyako and Ishigaki Islands. The local cuisine is as distinctive as it is delicious – don't miss the famous goya champuru (stir fried bitter gourd, eggs and tofu), Okinawa soba and American influenced taco rice.
Also known as “Ryukyu,” Okinawa has distinctive dialect, architecture, and food due to its close relations with China and Southeast Asian countries since the ancient times.
With its subtropical climate, Okinawa is a great travel destination throughout the year. The local temperature remains at roughly 20℃—even in winter.
Here’s a recommended five-day tour for your first trip to Okinawa that covers most of the top local attractions.
Naha Airport is located south of Naha. It has two terminals—one for domestic airlines and the other for international airlines. The main modes of transportation from Nara Airport to other areas of Okinawa Main Island are the monorail, bus and taxi.
Okinawa cuisine is quite different from the rest of Japan and reflects a heavy influence from China, and in more modern dishes, America as well. Don't forget to try awamori, the local spirit awamori, but be warned – it's really strong!