Okinawa

Introduction

Okinawa is the southernmost island in Japan, consisting of the main Okinawa Island, Miyako Islands, and Yaeyama Islands. It is closer to Taiwan than it is to the Japan mainland.

Unlike Tokyo and Osaka, Okinawa is not known for its developed economy, nor is it like Hokkaido and Kyoto which are popular among the younger generations for its unique charm. Nevertheless, the small island of Okinawa still received almost ten million tourists in 2015 alone.

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. Visiting tourists must try dishes representative of Okinawa, such as Goya chanpuru, Rafute (Shoyu pork) and Umibudo. After World War II, Okinawa had been governed by the U.S. until the 1970s, and it is for this reason that American culture has been deeply rooted here. Thanks to multicultural influences, today’s Okinawa exhibits a natural and distinguishing appeal that differentiates it from mainland Japan.

Touring in Okinawa entails sightseeing and shopping at numerous must-visit spots, particularly in the capital of Naha. These destinations include Shuri Castle, Naminoue Shrine, and the bustling Kokusai Street called “Miracle Mile.”

When traveling to the other areas of the main Okinawa Island, the express bus from Naha is a convenient option for transportation. Destinations worth visiting include the popular Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, Okinawa World, Cape Manzamo, and the Mihama American Village. If you’re looking to shop, DFS Galleria and Ashibina Outlets near the airport can provide you with an extensive assortment of merchandise.

For divers, Okinawa is also an ocean paradise worth visiting again and again. Since the Kuroshio current—the world’s largest warm current—goes through it, Okinawa boasts of a larger number of marine species compared to other sea areas. The most popular dive site in Okinawa is Blue Cave, which has waters 18 meters deep. Surrounding offshore islands are also perfect places for diving, namely Kerama Islands, Miyako Islands, and Ishigaki Island.


Areas

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Naha, is the capital city of Okinawa, and is in the southwest of Okinawa Island. Once a part of the ancient Ryukyu kingdom, Naha is a tropical paradise with blue sea and swaying palm trees. If you are interested in shopping, you’re in the right place – there is a central shopping avenue, and seve...
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Ishigaki Island has the highest mountain in Okinawa. ‘Umutodogi’ stands 526 meters tall. The island sits at the same latitude as Hawaii, and the sun shines all year around. It is a relaxed, sky-scraper free island with fine, soft sandy beaches. Sacrifice the urban atmosphere for the unpretentious...
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A family of isles situated at the southern end of the Okinawan archipelago, the Yaeyama Islands are a surprisingly accessible getaway from Japan. Wanting sun, scuba diving or sand? Yaeyama's aquamarine waters teem with wildlife -- namely sea turtles, dolphins and even stingrays -- due to plenty o...
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Cape Manzamo, located on the western coast, is one of the best scenic attractions on the Okinawa Islands. Visitors can indulge in the love story of the movie ‘Okinawa Rendezvous’. Cape Manzamo is on a cliff, in the Okinawa National Park. Even the name, Manzamo is interesting. ‘Manza’ means a plac...
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The Ocean Expo Park, located to the north of Okinawa Island, is ideal for the whole family. It was built in 1976, on the former grounds of the Okinawa International Ocean Expo Chamber. The park is styled to the theme of sunshine, flowers and the ocean. This is fitting as the natural paradise is h...
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The Kerama Islands are a group of over 20 small islands, located 35 kilometers west of Okinawa. The main islands are Tokashiki Island, Zamami Island and Aka Island. The Kerama Blue ocean features water so clear that visibility is about 50 meters. This provides the ideal site for scuba diving. Hum...
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Located in the southwest, 303 kilometers from Okinawa and approximately 380 kilometers from Taipei city, is Miyako Island. This beautiful island features coral-limestone, beautiful coral reefs, white sands and clear blue water that shimmers in the sunlight. Miyako Island is perfect for swimming...

Top spots in Okinawa

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