Okinawa Travel Guide
Also known as the Ryuku Shoto, Okinawa is a stunning collection of sub-tropical islands which almost reach Taiwan. With countless soft golden beaches, coral reefs and lush flora, these islands could almost be called paradise. A superb destination for travellers from all over the world, tourism in Okinawa has seen a sharp rise in popularity.
A city guide to Okinawa is essential for planning your itinerary here. There are numerous things to do in Okinawa, but this area is known worldwide for its fantastic beaches and its extraordinary scuba diving opportunities.
There are a number of fantastic cultural attractions in Okinawa. Start with a trip to Shuri-jo, located on the island of Okinawa-Honto. Situated three kilometres north of the capital, Naha, this castle dates back from the 15th century and was the home to the Ryukyu kings until 1879. Diplomats from all over Asia made their way here to participate in some of the lavish ceremonies held in the main throne hall, and you can imagine these as you step foot inside. A distinctive blend of Chinese and Japanese architectural styles, the castle ruins is a fantastic cultural attraction.
On the same island, visit the Naha Municipal Arts and Crafts Museum. There are wonderful displays of cultural and everyday objects, including ceramics, glass, textiles and Lacquerware. What makes this place really interesting is the fact that you can watch some of these being made by local artists and even try it for yourself.
Another popular tourist attraction is the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium where the world of the ocean is close enough to touch. This aquarium is home to the largest sharks on the planet, the whale sharks, along with dolphins and a wide variety of fish and other marine mammals. The aquarium also contains an ocean nursery, a beach, a subtropical arboretum and an Oceanic Culture Museum.
Okinawa is a fantastic place to go to if you are a lover of beaches and diving. Kondi and Hoshizuma are located on the main island and are considered the best beaches to head to if you want to swim. For snorkelling, visit Misahi, where the reefs are home to a wide variety of sea life.
Divers will fall head over heels with the diving opportunities. These islands are home to a variety of coral reefs and sea life which could rival those in the Great Barrier Reef, including whale and hammerhead sharks, turtles and tropical fish. You can spend a full day out at sea diving and still want more, or else you can dive from the shore if you don’t want to head out to sea.
There is a variety of restaurants in Okinawa which feature local dishes. There is a distinctive Taiwanese flavour to Okinawa cuisine, heavily featuring pork, bitter melon, mango, dragonfruit and calamansi.
You will find hotels in Okinawa are one of two types, either luxury resorts which can easily drain your wallet or basic accommodation. There are a few B&B options scattered amongst the islands along with a few city hotels dotted about.
Okinawa can easily be mistaken for paradise on earth – with lush vegetation, soft golden beaches, crystal clear waters and several cultural attractions, Okinawa will be your idyllic destination.