Okinawa is one of Japan’s prefectures, truly a paradise on earth, being composed of a beautiful chain of islands that attract thousands of tourists from around the world. Most tourists arrive in Naha, Okinawa’s capital – wanting to enjoy the friendly sun and fine beaches that gently merge with the crystal-blue water.
Over time, Okinawa has earned the reputation as the island where people live longer, most islanders having advanced ages, due to their nutrition and active lifestyle. They eat fruits and vegetables and replacing meat with soy. Okinawa, besides being one of the safest places in the world (people usually leave their house doors unlocked), also has a rhythm of life that is relaxing yet invigorating which make people return for more.
With a subtropical/ tropical climate, Okinawa attracts its visitors even in winter, when temperatures are maintained at 15 degrees Celsius. While in other regions of Japan, everything seems to be ready to frost, here, many find the warmer environment inviting.
Like all adventures, a little research and preparation can make a big difference. The following offers a quick guide to help you start.
Okinawa Skiing and Mountains
If you like to ski, the nearest resort is Gokase Highland, being followed by Asosan, Tenzan Ski Resort, Kujyu and Sol-Fa. The skiing is world renowned and an increasingly popular destination for Australians. There are also wonderful hiking trials set amognst the mountains, Mount Yonah, Akusekijima and Yokoatejima, are the ideal choice!
Okinawa more than just mountains
If mountains are not your thing, then there are magnificent coral reefs that offer snorkeling and diving enthusiasts the opportunity to have an experience more than fascinating. Or if you want to enjoy the immensity of rare flora and fauna, the surrounding forests will stimulate your senses as you discover the abundance of beauty Okinawa provides.
Other Attractions of Okinawa
Among the mainattractionsyou can enjoyinOkinawa, is the fabulousaquariumcalledChuraumiAquarium,locatedin OceanExpoParkinMotobuPeninsula. Itincludesa reconstructionofa nativeOkinawanvillagebut also the OceanicCultureMuseum.
In Naha, you can visit Shuri Castle, dating fromthe1300s. In Yaeyama Islands are the villages of Taketomi, which have been carefully preserved.
Downtown Naha is “Kokusai Dori”, in translation: The International Street. As this name suggests, here you will find a wide variety of shops, from souvenirs, fashion to food, hotel chains and restaurants. This vibrant street is the landmark for tourists who arrive in Naha.
Yubu Island clearly deserves to be visited. So small and cute, with a gorgeous botanical garden that gives it that aspect of purity, due to an exquisite beach, crystal blue water and the vast variety of flowers, trees and plants that embellishes this idyllic setting. The third largest island in Okinawa is Ishigaki Island – which enjoys a striking touristic development, with shops, hotels and many opportunities to spend time on activities, like diving, snorkeling and other water sports.
Okinawa In Spring
If you are lucky and get to Okinawa in the spring, you’ll see a very special spectacle of nature: The Cherry Blossom Festival. During spring, all the trees turn pink, providing an absolutely stunning vista and ideal backdrop for the avid photographer.
Okinawa is an enchanting destination where you can fully appreciate and experience the Japanese atmosphere and culture. Further to the natural beauty, there are ample shopping, markets, great food and malls; Okinawa offers everything you can wish from a trip. Try to buy something nice from Jusco or American Village, but also feel the specific rhythm of life on the Heiwadai and Kokusai Streets, where you will find interesting and strange objects, and as you explore time seems to just disappear.
Local Food of Okinawa
We mentioned Okinawa offers fine culinary delights. Hence, you cannot leave Okinawa without tasting the local dishes. We recommend you to try Sushi (of course), the local Fried Rice and Okinawa Soba – a kind of noodle soup where you can select different toppings…and it is excellent! Go and eat at the famous CoCo’s Curry, a restaurant chain well known in Japan, which fully deserves its reputation.
Okinawa and its people provide wonderful cultural experiences, local dishes, quiet beaches with pure waters, to sugar canes fields and cherry blossom trees. You can scuba dive or ski plus tour castles and other historical sites. All this and much more are waiting to be discovered in Okinawa.
We have another great travel guide for traditional Japanese accommodation – when a hotel is not a hotel…
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Overseas holidays are wonderful as they offer out of the ordinary experience and surprises. But it is best to avoid the surprise of large medical bills, lost luggage or cancellation expenses.