Home DestinationsAsia 15 Best Things to Do in Okinawa : Must-Visit Attraction & Activities

15 Best Things to Do in Okinawa : Must-Visit Attraction & Activities

by Naoi Rei
white flowers near sea under blue sky during daytime

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : Okinawa, a stunning archipelago in Japan, is known for its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and rich cultural heritage. With its unique blend of traditional and modern attractions, Okinawa offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you are a nature lover, history enthusiast, or adventure seeker, Okinawa has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore the 15 best things to do in Okinawa that should be on your must-visit list.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 1. Explore the Churaumi Aquarium

The Churaumi Aquarium is one of the top attractions in Okinawa and is home to a diverse range of marine life. With its massive Kuroshio Tank, which is one of the largest aquarium tanks in the world, visitors can witness the beauty of whale sharks, manta rays, and other fascinating sea creatures up close.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 2. Visit Shuri Castle

Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit for history buffs. This magnificent castle was the royal palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom and offers a glimpse into Okinawa’s rich cultural past. Explore the beautifully restored buildings, gardens, and learn about the history of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 3. Relax at Naha’s Kokusai Street

Kokusai Street is the heart of Naha, the capital city of Okinawa. This bustling street is lined with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Take a leisurely stroll, indulge in some retail therapy, and savor delicious local cuisine.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 4. Dive into the Blue Cave

The Blue Cave, located in Onna Village, is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The cave gets its name from the mesmerizing blue light that filters through the water, creating a magical underwater experience. Explore the vibrant coral reefs and encounter colorful marine life.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 5. Discover the History at Okinawa Peace Memorial Park

Okinawa Peace Memorial Park is a solemn reminder of the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. The park features various monuments, memorials, and museums that pay tribute to the lives lost during the war. Take a moment to reflect on history and gain a deeper understanding of Okinawa’s past.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 6. Enjoy the Pristine Beaches of Okinawa

Okinawa is renowned for its stunning beaches. From the famous Emerald Beach to the secluded Kondoi Beach, there is a beach for every preference. Relax on the soft sand, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or engage in water sports such as snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 7. Take a Trip to the Okinawa Churaumi Tropical Botanical Garden

The Okinawa Churaumi Tropical Botanical Garden is a paradise for nature lovers. Explore the vast garden filled with tropical plants, rare flowers, and exotic wildlife. Take a leisurely walk along the nature trails and immerse yourself in the beauty of Okinawa’s flora and fauna.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 8. Visit the Nakagusuku Castle Ruins

The Nakagusuku Castle Ruins offer a glimpse into Okinawa’s ancient history. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once a majestic fortress and provides panoramic views of the surrounding area. Explore the ruins, learn about the castle’s strategic importance, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 9. Experience Traditional Okinawan Culture at Ryukyu Mura

Ryukyu Mura is an open-air museum that showcases traditional Okinawan culture. Visitors can participate in hands-on activities such as pottery making, traditional dance performances, and try local delicacies. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and traditions of Okinawa.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 10. Explore the Underground Caves at Gyokusendo

Gyokusendo is one of the largest limestone caves in Japan and offers a fascinating underground adventure. Walk along the well-lit pathways and marvel at the stunning rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites. The cave’s natural beauty is truly awe-inspiring.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 11. Discover the Unique Tsuboya Pottery District

Tsuboya Pottery District is a haven for pottery enthusiasts. Explore the narrow streets lined with pottery shops and witness the craftsmanship of local artisans. You can even try your hand at pottery making and create your own unique piece of Okinawan pottery.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 12. Visit the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum

The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum is a treasure trove of Okinawan history, art, and culture. Explore the exhibits that showcase the island’s unique heritage, including traditional costumes, artifacts, and contemporary artworks.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 13. Enjoy a Traditional Okinawan Performance

Experience the vibrant energy of traditional Okinawan performances such as Eisa dance and Sanshin music. These lively performances are a celebration of Okinawan culture and are often accompanied by colorful costumes and dynamic music.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 14. Take a Day Trip to the Kerama Islands

The Kerama Islands, located just a short boat ride from Okinawa, are a paradise for nature lovers. Explore the pristine beaches, go snorkeling or diving in the crystal-clear waters, and encounter sea turtles and vibrant coral reefs.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : 15. Indulge in Okinawan Cuisine

No visit to Okinawa is complete without trying the local cuisine. From the famous Okinawa soba noodles to the unique island delicacy of goya champuru (bitter melon stir-fry), Okinawan cuisine offers a delightful blend of flavors and influences.

Best Things to Do in Okinawa : Summary

Okinawa offers a diverse range of attractions and activities that cater to every interest. From exploring historical sites and immersing in traditional culture to enjoying the natural beauty of the beaches and underwater caves, there is something for everyone in Okinawa. Plan your visit to this enchanting archipelago and create unforgettable memories.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. When is the best time to visit Okinawa?

The best time to visit Okinawa is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and the tourist crowds are relatively smaller.

2. How do I get to Okinawa?

Okinawa has its own international airport, Naha Airport, which is well-connected to major cities in Japan and other countries. You can also reach Okinawa by ferry from mainland Japan.

3. Are there any cultural etiquettes I should be aware of in Okinawa?

Respect for local customs and traditions is important in Okinawa. It is customary to bow when greeting someone and to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home or certain establishments.

4. Can I rent a car in Okinawa?

Yes, renting a car is a popular option for exploring Okinawa as it provides flexibility and convenience. However, it is important to have an international driving permit and be familiar with local traffic rules.

5. Are there any unique souvenirs I can buy in Okinawa?

Okinawa is known for its unique crafts and souvenirs. Some popular items include traditional Ryukyu glassware, Bingata textiles, and Shisa statues, which are believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

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