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20 Epic Issues to Do in Okinawa, Japan [2024 Guide]


From diving with sharks to crusing by means of a series of islands to stress-free on a seaside, listed below are 20 of the most effective issues to do in Okinawa, Japan.

The Okinawa prefecture is without doubt one of the 47 prefectures of Japan and includes over 160 islands. The chain of islands is south of Japan’s predominant island and is arguably Japan’s best-hidden gem.

The islands are surrounded by the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean to allow them to be accessed pretty conveniently from a number of areas all through Asia and never simply Japan.

Okinawa Honto is the Okinawa predominant island and is the preferred amongst vacationers. Regardless of being solely 110km lengthy and 11km large, there are many sights to see and a listing of enjoyable actions within the Okinawa predominant island.

With its heat and comfy local weather year-round, you may benefit from the Okinawa prefecture in any season. In January, the coldest month, the typical temperature in Naha (Okinawa’s capital metropolis) is a cool 17℃, a lot hotter than the remainder of Japan.

We suggest avoiding travelling to the Okinawa prefecture in Might and early June because of heavy precipitation in the course of the wet season. In late June, as soon as the wet season has handed, it’s scorching and sunny for the following few months.

You’ll fly into Naha Airport close to Okinawa metropolis and may proceed exploring from there.

READ MORE: Try our full journey to Japan information.

Prime Issues To Do In Okinawa

Whereas the Okinawa islands present numerous water-based actions, there are nonetheless many different issues to see in Okinawa if that’s not for you.

See the Shuri Citadel of the Ryukyu Kingdom, go to Okinawa Peace Memorial Park, discover Naha metropolis, and extra. There may be a lot enjoyable available when visiting Okinawa Japan.

1) Dive With Sharks or Whales

The largest draw for tourism within the Okinawa prefecture is well the diving. Okinawa is legendary for a few of the most beautiful dive websites world wide, boasting superior alternatives to dive with whale sharks and hammerhead sharks within the wild.

Whereas it might sound counterintuitive to journey to an island paradise in winter, from January to March, it’s potential to see humpback whales.

Japanese corporations don’t bait marine animals however at all times double test together with your diving faculty to make certain.

As with all issues in nature, typically you discover them and typically you don’t!

Even if you happen to aren’t eager to dive with the large animals, you may nonetheless take pleasure in snorkeling or diving amongst stunning coral reefs and perhaps spot some sea turtles.

Things To Do In Okinawa Whale Sharks
Seeing a whale shark within the wild is certainly a bucket record merchandise within the Okinawa prefecture!

2) Or Attempt Freediving As an alternative

As freedivers ourselves, we all know firsthand how fantastic the freediving life and expertise is.

Should you take pleasure in snorkelling and need to assist enhance your expertise to dive down and spend a bit longer with marine life, contemplate taking a course within the Okinawa islands.

You’ll learn to safely breath-hold, dive and optimise your power whereas out. within the water. Think about all of the fantastic fish and coral reefs you may see!

The marine life in Okinawa is wealthy in biodiversity and impresses even the extra skilled divers. Be certain that to hire diving gear – that is an Okinawa should see.

Freediving Okinawa
Take a freediving course in Okinawa.

3) Trek To Tadake Falls

For one of many extra adventurous Okinawa actions, trek your manner deep into the Northern Okinawa jungle. Right here, you’ll discover a beautiful and distant waterfall known as Tadake Falls.

Like a few of the finest issues in life, you need to earn this one. Dedicate a complete day to this journey as you hike, river trek, water slide, jungle swing and cord climb your manner by means of the jungle.

Count on a muddy trek, to get soaking moist and a reasonably powerful path. Not for the fainthearted however numerous enjoyable if you happen to’re keen to offer it a shot.

The waterfall isn’t among the many finest on this planet however the journey to get there makes it one thing that may’t be missed.

READ MORE: Try our record of the finest locations to go to in Japan.

4) Surfs Up!

We all know that probably the most enjoyable issues to do in Okinawa contain water so it’s no shock that browsing is fairly common right here.

Newbie-friendly waves make the Okinawa prefecture the right vacation spot to strive browsing for the primary time.

The one factor to bear in mind is that the waves right here often break over reefs. Because of this they are typically shallow and may be harmful if you happen to’re utterly new to browsing or are inexperienced.

We suggest going by means of a surf faculty so that you’ve somebody displaying you the right method, how you can learn and catch waves and to stop potential harm.

Browsing is common on the seashores round Okinawa Honto however you may as well discover some nice waves off the coast of a few of the smaller islands.

Surfing What To Do In Okinawa
Catch some waves in Okinawa

5) Go to One Of Okinawa’s Most Sacred Websites

Of the locations to go to in Okinawa, Sefa Utaki is without doubt one of the most sacred. It is a vital sacred website of the indigenous Okinawan faith which emphasises the worship of nature.

Within the early sixteenth century, Sefa Utaki got here into prominence when it grew to become one of many predominant places for non secular ceremonies and rituals.

Additionally a UNESCO World Heritage Website, Sefa Utaki is positioned on a hillside alongside the ocean and options a number of rock formations linked by strolling trails.

READ MORE: Don’t miss our information to the most effective issues to do in Japan!

6) Be taught About Okinawan Tradition at Okinawa World

One of many extra common Okinawa points of interest is Okinawa World, a touristy theme park devoted to tradition on Okinawa’s Foremost Island.

The primary points of interest at Okinawa World are a Gyokusendo Cave, a craft village and snake museum at Habu Park.

Gyokusendo Cave at Okinawa World is 5 kilometres lengthy and is the second longest collapse Japan. Solely 850 metres of the cave is open to the general public and right here, you may see spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.

Exterior the cave are plenty of memento stalls promoting native trinkets together with snake liquor, a delicacy in Okinawa.

You may study concerning the habu, an aggressive and lethally venomous snake mostly seen submerged in bottles of awamori.

In Habu Park, guests can study extra concerning the snakes in varied snake-themed displays that present info on the ecology and historical past of snakes and reptiles.

This superb museum and immersive theme park gives you a glance into the tradition of Okinawa. You may spend a full day exploring Okinawa World, from the Okinawa Cave to Nanto Brewery. E book your tickets right here!

Gyokusendo Cave Okinawa
Discover Gyokusendo Cave at Okinawa world to study stalagmites and stalactites!

7) Go to Conflict Memorials and Monuments

A number of the extra common locations of curiosity in Okinawa are vital historic websites like varied struggle memorials.

In the direction of the tip of World Conflict II, Okinawa Honto grew to become the websites of one of many struggle’s bloodiest battles with an estimated 200,000 individuals killed in battle from April to June 1945.

There are a variety of monuments and museums regarding the interval. A number of the bigger monuments have been constructed within the south of Okinawa Foremost Island the place the worst combating of the battle came about.

The primary memorial to the Battle of Okinawa is the Okinawa Peace Memorial Park, positioned close to the southern tip of the island. The Peace Memorial Museum gives a sobering overview of earlier than, throughout and after the battle and the way Okinawa was reconstructed.

Varied monuments such because the Cornerstone of Peace and the Himeyuri Monument additionally commemorate fallen civilians and troopers.

The Peace Memorial Museum can be a well-liked place to take a look at. Okinawa Conflict Memorials are a must-see on Okinawa’s Foremost Island.

8) Proceed On to the Former Navy Underground Headquarters

This isn’t a contented place to go to. For historical past buffs or these fascinated with WWII, this sombre museum is fascinating and eye-opening.

The Headquarters consists of a number of hundred metres of underground corridors and rooms that served because the Japanese navy’s headquarters in the course of the struggle.

On 6 June 1945, commanding officer Rear Admiral Ota despatched a prolonged telegram to Tokyo commending the bravery and fierce resistance that Okinawans had proven within the lengthy battle.

A number of days later, he and his different officers, totalling over 175, sadly died by suicide (thought-about an ‘honourable demise’) within the tunnels.

9) Go to A Pineapple-Themed Park

Yep, that’s proper, pineapples. Should you’re ever questioning what to do in Okinawa, it’s celebrating pineapples in fact. And what different manner than a theme park accomplished devoted to them!

Pineapples have been cultivated in Okinawa as an agricultural product for round a century however the arrival of lower-priced imported pineapples has seen the business endure.

The answer? Promote the fruit as a vacationer attraction!

The Nago Pineapple Park is a small theme park that features a trip on a pineapple-shaped car by means of pineapple fields, a tropical backyard and a. memento store the place guests get the possibility to pattern some pineapple merchandise.

At sure instances of the 12 months, you may as well observe how pineapples are peeled, reduce and canned in a small manufacturing facility on website.

Pineapples Okinawa Attractions
Have a good time pineapples!

10) Take pleasure in West Coast Vibes At Mihama American Village

The Mihama American Village is constructed on former US Forces airfield and the thought behind the leisure advanced got here from Seaport Village, a mall in San Diego.

On the Mihama American Village, you’ll see an on the spot resemblance to the West Coast of the US.

Discover a distinctive combine of retailers with anime items shops, boutiques, eating places, cafes, karaoke studios and a cinema on the Mihama American Village.

12) Go to Shuri Citadel of the Ryukyu Kingdom

One of many high places for sightseeing within the Okinawa prefecture is Shuri Citadel, house to the rulers of the Ryukyu Kingdom and the title of the previous capital.

Initially constructed within the late 1300s, Shuri Citadel performed an integral position within the political unification of Okinawa island. Over the centuries, wars and fires destroyed the fortress a number of instances with the latest in the course of the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

It was restored in 1958 and 1992 so guests may proceed to understand and benefit from the gusuku structure of the fortress which is constructed within the conventional Okinawan type.

Sadly, Shuri Citadel was devastated in one other fireplace in 2019. 9 buildings, together with the Foremost Corridor, have been destroyed.

All of Japan helps to help Okinawa rebuild the magnificent palace, and native volunteers are placing in commendable effort. Guests to Okinawa can view the progress of the palace’s reconstruction, although it’s nonetheless comparatively in shambles.

Shuri Citadel is supposed to be completed in 2026, although there isn’t a assure. Nevertheless, now we have left it on this record of the most effective issues to do in Okinawa as a result of it’s nonetheless a beloved landmark and the locals are very keen about restoring it.

Shuri Citadel has risen from the ashes quite a few instances already, so there’s a good likelihood this may occur once more.

The gardens across the fortress are nonetheless open to take pleasure in as nicely, so it might nonetheless be price a go to!

The palace is at present closed for restorations. Learn this text for more information!

12) Attempt The Conventional Ryuku Costume

The standard costume from the period of the Kingdom of the Ryuku is completely different from the frequent kimonos seen in the present day.

Guests can strive on the costumes, take images and tour the fortress. Girls get full skilled hair styling and make-up which takes round an hour.

Strolling by means of the advanced dressed up offers you a little bit of a visible concept of what it was like for the royal household within the Outdated Kingdom. It is a cool factor to do whenever you go to Okinawa.

13) Stroll By means of Makishi Public Market

The market is a maze of tiny alleys that interconnect into a big area of meals stalls. Right here, you could find quite a lot of elements together with recent fish, meat, greens, dried meals, every day groceries and liquor.

For an opportunity to pattern some recent seafood, strive the mochiage system the place you buy seafood on the primary flooring of the market and ask for a workers of a restaurant to cook dinner it and serve it to you on the second flooring. The price for cooking is round 500 yen every.

Seafood Market Okinawa
Take pleasure in some scrumptious meals at Makishi Public Market.

14) Take pleasure in Conventional Folks Efficiency Over Dinner

Zizake Yokocho is an izakaya (a restaurant the place you order smaller share type dishes) on Kokusai Avenue. It serves Okinawan delicacies, native sake Awamori and has conventional folks track performances.

Singers take to the stage thrice a day and requests from friends are welcomed. You’ll discover lyrics to the folks songs that symbolize Okinawa on the tables to higher perceive the music.

And if you happen to’re within the temper, stand up and dance!

15) Signal Up for a Crusing or Kayaking Journey

Crusing hasn’t been that common in Okinawa however extra lately, it’s experiencing an upward pattern.

There at the moment are varied crusing corporations that provide journeys to cruise round completely different islands in Okinawa.

Alternatively, if you’re a budding sailor, you may constitution your individual boat and go island hopping at your individual tempo.

This manner, you may cease by completely different islands within the East China Sea- a lot of that are uninhabited – and revel in your individual secluded paradise.

One other strategy to take pleasure in a day on the water is kayaking. For a beautiful day paddling by means of the water, e book a kayaking tour.

Sailing Okinawa
Sail by means of Okinawa for some epic paradise moments.

16) Go Whale Watching

Should you’re questioning what to see in Okinawa, how about some humpback whales?

A cannot-be-missed exercise in Okinawa Japan is whale watching. Between January and March, the world is notorious for recognizing humpback whales that swim within the waters off the southern coast.

The whales migrate from Alaska to Japan and among the best locations to see them whereas whale watching is across the Kerama Islands.

You may e book whale watching excursions which take you out on a ship to get shut to those magnificent animals.

Whales Okinawa Activities
Go on a whale watching tour within the Kerama Islands to see some beautiful humpback whales.

17) Hen Watching on Kume Island

For nature lovers, Kume Island is without doubt one of the finest locations to go to in Okinawa. Right here, you’ll discover a variety of native plant and wildlife.

Kume Island can be a nationwide park so one of many high actions to do is to trek by means of the plush foliage

The island can be a nationwide park and one of many high actions right here is the possibility to go trekking by means of the plush foliage that covers a lot of Kume.

Avid birders will even love Kume as a result of the central a part of the island comprises pure wetlands with chicken watching alternatives.

You’ll discover numerous native species that congregate across the space and conceal within the tall grasses and bushes.

18) Dive the Yonaguni Ruins

Whereas this isn’t one thing to do from Okinawa Honto, it’s a should if you happen to’re within the space and seeking to do another outer Okinawa journey on some completely different islands.

Yonaguni island is definitely nearer to Taiwan than it’s to Japan’s predominant island of Honshū. Of the completely different islands in Okinawa, this is without doubt one of the most well-known for its scuba diving websites.

Yonaguni is understood for its unimaginable underwater ruins and most of the ruins listed below are manufactured from stable rock, with some dated again to eight,000 years outdated.

Should you’re an intermediate or skilled diver, this is without doubt one of the finest issues to do in Okinawa and may’t be missed.

There are legends concerning the origins of the ruins and are say that they’re aside of a misplaced continent known as Mu. Right here, you’ll discover rock formations that appear like staircases, rooms and partitions.

19) Fully Chill out At Aka Island

Should you’re seeking to discover some Okinawa actions away from the principle island, jump over to Akajima Island, also called Aka Island.

This picturesque and peaceable island is comparatively small. It’s well-known for its statement towers which supply some beautiful views throughout the islands and wider Okinawa.

You’ll discover some spectacular picture alternatives across the island. You may also go swimming, hike throughout the island or simply chill out in paradise.

Akajima Island Okinawa
Chill out in paradise on Akajima Island

20) Swim With Rays At Ishigaki Island

Ishigaki Island is one other considered one of Okinawa’s unimaginable islands, and it’s well-known for manta rays.

Ishigaki Island was listed within the Michelin Inexperienced Information Japan and is the primary place for swimming with manta rays in Japan.

You’ll discover crystal clear water in spots like Manta Scramble and may simply discover majestic rays swimming by means of the seas. Snorkeling at Ishigaki Island is really a dream!

You may dive or snorkel within the space and simply take pleasure in observing and sharing the ocean with these swish creatures.

Manta Rays Okinawa
Sleek manta rays swimming by means of the ocean close to Ishigaki Island.

Okinawa Journey Information

That can assist you benefit from your time in Okinawa, we’ve put collectively a bit journey information so that you can select the place to eat and the place to remain in Okinawa. You’ll need to keep on the principle island of Okinawa for comfort.

Greatest Lodging – The place To Keep in Okinawa

Since there are lots of completely different areas and locations to remain within the Okinawa Foremost Island of Okinawa Honto, we’ve made some recommendations based mostly round Naha, Okinawa’s capital.

You’ll fly into Naha Airport close to Okinawa Metropolis. From Naha Airport you may simply get public transport or a lodge transport to a lodge close to the town.

The Greatest Hostel in Okinawa – My Place Visitor Home

Operated by a widely known diving ship in Okinawa, My Place Visitor Home is the most effective place to remain in Okinawa Honto if you happen to’re planning on doing any of the marine actions.

The hostel offers free dependable WiFi all through, a spacious frequent space, absolutely geared up shared kitchen and a large front room that you should use 24 hours. There are even hammocks!

My Place has a variety of various rooms from dorms to privates, and is the most effective price range place to remain on the principle island of Okinawa.

The Greatest Finances Lodging For {Couples} – Naha West Inn

Naha West Inn gives clear and comfy price range lodging for {couples} on the lookout for one thing non-public in Naha metropolis.

The lodge has loads of parking out there, is reverse a Household Mart and strolling distance from public transport. Location smart, it’s very central and handy for visiting Okinawa sights.

The lodge has a contemporary and smooth design, rooms are spacious and clear and the beds are massive. And as an added bonus, espresso is free!

Greatest Mid-Vary Lodge – Lodge WBF Artwork Keep

This funky lodge combines the idea of tradition and artwork right into a 10-floor lodge.

Lodge WBF Artwork Keep is a particular place that celebrates creativeness and in itself is without doubt one of the superior Okinawa points of interest of Naha metropolis.

Rooms on ranges 3 to 10 are embellished with drawings by the ‘Ban Rom Sai’ in Thailand, a house for youngsters who’ve misplaced their dad and mom because of AIDS or have contracted HIV from their dad and mom.

The opposite rooms on the second flooring are embellished with artworks of lively artists from completely different international locations.

Situated centrally amongst all of the motion in Naha metropolis close to the Naha Airport, there are lots of surrounding eating places open late and the morning markets are solely a 5-minute stroll away.

Greatest Luxurious Lodge In Okinawa – Hyatt Regency Naha Okinawa

For individuals who need to splash out and revel in some luxurious in Okinawa metropolis, try Hyatt Regency in Naha. It’s close to Naha Airport as nicely!

The lodge is beautiful with a basic trendy look, embellished stylishly with elegant finishes.

There’s a health club, spa, massive out of doors pool with timber decking and good lounge areas. Rooms are spacious, comfy and stylish.

Should you’ve stayed at any Hyatt Regency motels earlier than, you’ll know to count on fine-tuned luxurious and this lodge is not any completely different.

Greatest Eating places in Okinawa

Hamaya Soba is a soba specialty store that gives Okinawa soba, a basic noodle dish in Okinawa delicacies. It’s inexpensive, scrumptious and distinctive to the area.

Meat eaters desirous to strive some scrumptious high-quality Japanese Wagyu ought to go to Yakiniku Hana, a BBQ restaurant serving mouthwatering Ishigaki beef, among the best sorts of Wagyu beef in Japan.

Marutama serves its personal twist on taco rice, an Okinawan fusion meals of taco-flavoured minced beef on white rice. Right here, you’ll discover it with a do-it-yourself miso and salsa sauce, taking the dish to a different stage.

DISCLAIMER: A number of the hyperlinks on this article are affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests if you happen to e book lodging, excursions or purchase a product, we’ll obtain a small fee at no additional value to you. These commissions assist us preserve creating extra free journey content material to assist individuals plan their holidays and adventures. We solely suggest the most effective lodging, excursions and merchandise that ourselves or our improbable editorial workforce have personally skilled, and repeatedly evaluation these. Thanks in your help, sort pal!



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