Okinawa – a Different Japan

Safely accessible by either ferry or plane, Okinawa Prefecture is Japan’s foremost destination for tropical island fun. This island chain south of the mainland offers a unique cultural experience distinct from the rest of Japan. The subtropical climate, mesmerizing beaches, unrivaled marine attractions, healthy gastronomy, and bewitching culture makes the Okinawa experience endearingly memorable.
Okinawa’s Natural Beauty

Surrounded by boundless blue waters, Okinawa is the perfect place for exciting marine activities. Try sea-kayaking and take a stroll on the island’s clear blue ocean to enjoy the diverse undersea ecosystem. Equally pleasurable, go big-game fishing and try your luck catching prized tuna and marlin swimming along the Kuroshio waves.

Another option is to take a dive and be fascinated with the sundry marine ecosystem of spectacular coral reefs and colorful tropical fishes. Sunabe Point from Sunabe Beach, Onnna Point at Caoe Manza Beach, and Maeda Point at Cape Maeda are some of the most noteworthy diving sites in Okinawa Main Island. Kerama site at Kerama Islands is a world famous diving spot, which should never be missed.

Soak up the sun and enjoy the fine ocean wind at Okinawa’s many splendid beaches that are all equally beautiful and enchanting. Some of the best beaches around the area are Renaissance Beach and Uppama Beach in the North region, Azama Sun-sun Beach and Zanpa Beach in the south central area of Okinawa Main Island

Diverse Culture and the Arts

Okinawa is also famous for its craftwork and performing arts. Make sure to get your hands on some colorful and intricately dyed and woven textiles, skillfully handmade Ryukyu Glassware, and exquisite pieces of Tsuboya, Joyachi, and Arayachi pottery. Enjoy an elegant dance show of the traditional Ryukyuan Dance with their vibrant Bingata costumes blending seamlessly with the relaxing sounds of the three-stringed guitar-like “Sanshi”. You may also try the famed ancient martial art of Karate, Okinawa’s greatest gift to the world.

Okinawa’s Grastronomy

One of the best things about Okinawa is the food. The traditional island offers the healthiest cuisines, which is a major factor to Okinawan’s longevity. Though there are virtually hundreds of places and restaurants to try Okinawa’s delectable palates, you might want to try Umi Tamago House (Sea Egg House) and Me Kara Uroko at the Sunabe Seawall, White Kichen at Kinville outside Camp Hansen, and Sea Time Sunset Dining at Onna Village.

Ryukyu’s Noble Heritage

The “Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu” are World Heritage Sites that represent the island’s glorious past. Discover this immortal history and visit the Shuri Castle and Shikinaen Garden at Shuri, the Katsuren Castle Ruins in central Okinawa Honto, or the sacred Shinto shrine of Sefa-utaki in Nanjo.

Emerging Modernity

Finally, after an extensive nature adventure and historical time-travelling, it’s time to experience the city life and head to Naha City, Okinawa’s capital and urban locale. Enjoy urban lifestyle at Kokusai Street, a busy area filled with restaurants, boutiques, and souvenir shops. Do some serious shopping at Heiwa Street and the Market’s Main Street, a true shopper’s paradise. You should also see the latest gadgets and technology at Omoromachi or Naha Shin-toshin, Okinawa’s modern district.

Okinawa prides itself by offering a divergent culture that can easily stand out from the rest of Japan. A journey to this island paradise is sure to rejuvenate a traveler’s soul.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!