Okinawa

Ishigaki Island, Okinawa
Ishigaki Island, Okinawa
Ishigaki Island, Okinawa
Okinawa main island
Okinawan style architecture
Takitomi Island, Okinawa
Okinawa main island

About Okinawa

Okinawa Prefecture is one of Japan’s southern prefectures, and consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1,000 km long, which extends southwest from Kyūshū (the southwesternmost of Japan’s main four islands) to Taiwan.

The prefecture’s capital, Naha, is located in the southern part of the largest and most populated island, Okinawa Island, which is approximately half-way between Kyūshū and Taiwan.

Unlike the other subtropical and tropical islands of Japan such as the Ogasawara Islands, Amami Islands and Tokara Islands, there are frequent flights from all the major cities of Japan, and Okinawa is one of the major tourist destinations for the Japanese. Every year the number of overseas visitors is increasing, but the number still remains low compared to the tourist destinations on mainland Japan.

CLIMATE AND GEOGRAPHY

The name Okinawa means “rope in the open sea”, a fairly description of this long stretch of islands between mainland Japan and Taiwan. Consisting of 49 inhabited islands and 111 uninhabited islands, it has a subtropical/tropical climate.

The prefecture can be divided into three major island groups, the Okinawa Islands (Okinawa Shoto) around Okinawa Island (Okinawa Honto), the Miyako Islands (Miyako Retto) around Miyako Island and the Yaeyama Islands (Yaeyama Retto) around Ishigaki Island.

The area’s subtropical climate, with white sand beaches, emerald-green sea and reefs to swim and dive, make it one of the best dive sites in the world!

CULTURE AND HISTORY

As a separate kingdom for centuries, the area developed a unique collection of handicrafts, architecture and cuisine, heavily influenced by both China and Japan.

The area’s most famous export worldwide is the martial art of Karate. In recent years Okinawan culture has become quite popular throughout Japan thanks to popular musicians and local foods. The music of the islands is very attractive and unique because of the mixture of original Okinawan sounds and American rock, jazz, and other styles from the USA. The distinctive instrument of choice is the sanshin, a three-stringed instrument like a banjo. It is a distant relative of the mainland’s shamisen, whose pentatonic melodies are instantly recognizable.

In Shuri just outside the city of Naha are the magnificent restored castles of the Ryukyu kings, who ruled for 500 years. These castles are an example of the mixture of Japanese and Chinese architecture that was the characteristic of this culture.

Okinawan cuisine is distinct from that of mainland Japan and shows distinct Taiwanese influences.

Practical information:

  • From Tokyo Haneda to Naha Airport (2h45)
  • From Osaka Kansai International Airport to Naha Airport (2h)
  • From Nagoya Chubu International Airport to Naha Airport (2h15)

Okinawa on our Google map

Our packages includes Okinawa

okinawa_ishigaki

ISLAND HOPPING – 5 DAYS

Experience the Yaeyama Islands as an extension to your Japan trip.
Located between Japan and Taiwan, the Yaeyama Islands are ideal for those who wish to experience ‘untouched’ Okinawa that has a different feel from the main island. These subtropical islands are famous for their sandy beaches and fantastic diving and snorkeling spots with rich, beautiful […]

Okinawa main island

OKINAWA EXTENSION 5 DAYS

Why not visit Okinawa as an extension of your Japan trip? This self-guided tour allows you to experience the attractions of the main island of Okinawa as well as the smaller and scenic Kerama Islands.
As a separate kingdom for centuries, this group of islands off the southern tip of mainland Japan developed a unique collection […]

JTB-ABTAJTB-ATOLJTB-British-airwayscredit cardJTB-IATAJTB-JNTOYOUTUBE Japanspecialist