Let me show you an area that often stays unnoticed, but holds so much fun, beauty, history and great relaxing spots. The city of Nanjo is located in the south-eastern part of Okinawa. It lies right on the ocean has much history to share and has a beautiful view of the coast line. Here are my five tips for a daytrip to Nanjo.
Taketomi Island is easily reachable from Ishigaki Island, at only ten minutes by ferry from Ishigaki Port. You can reach Taketomi with one of the two ferry companies, Ishigaki Dream Tours and Yaeyama Kanko Ferry. At Ishigaki Port, you can also get package tours to make the most of your time on this beautiful island.
On Aka Jima (Aka Island), all roads lead to the ocean. That is, if you can call them roads. Barely wide enough to accommodate one car, the three tiny lanes in the village of Aka all run parallel to the sea, and from every corner you can catch glimpses of that absolutely perfect ocean, with a color so distinct they had to give it a name — 'Kerama Blue'.
Visitors to Okinawa seek out the ancient castle ruins of the island that tell the stories of the Kings of the Ryukyu era. The most famous one surely is the majestic Castle Park of Shuri. But before the political base was built there, it resided in Urasoe, on a hill that would later on become known to American soldiers as Hacksaw Ridge during World War II.
Once the Kingdom of the Ryukyus, a distinct local culture flourished, with strong influences from China, Indonesia, and other neighbors, who traded dyes, tools, and techniques. Many of these beautiful handicrafts survive today, so when in Okinawa, skip the mass produced souvenirs, and have fun making your own instead.
Here are a few things you can experience at the start of the New Year on the beautiful Ryukyu islands, which differ from mainland O-shogatsu.
Anyone who comes here with kids quickly realizes that Okinawa is pretty much one big playground. Parks, parks, everywhere! And they are HUGE! I'm talking ropeways, slides with vertical drops, trampolines, jungle gyms to climb up and through, ziplines, rock climbing, and the list goes on and on. And all completely free and open to the public!
Welcome to the Great Tug-of-War, the highlight event of the Naha Matsuri, the biggest annual festival in Okinawa, Japan, which offers three days of fun activities and cultural events.
Yagaji Beach Camp has everything you need for a comfortable stay on the beach – a gorgeous waterfront view, hot showers, clean toilets, ample space, and total peace and quiet. All you need to do is bring your own tent, and you're good to go.
With its semi-tropical climate, warm surrounding ocean and extensive, rare and protected coral reefs, Ishigaki is probably the best location for snorkelling in the whole of Japan. Indeed, many would argue there is little else to do there, but the year-round warmth and relaxed pace the island offers makes it equally ideal for those simply seeking respite from the hubbub of city living.
This one-day itinerary relies on the monorail, starts from the furthest point, and ends in the heart of downtown, so that after a long day of sightseeing, you can kick back, watch the sunset at the beach, and maybe even take a dip before going out to enjoy some nightlife.
Thanks to Okinawa's southern location and warm climate, it enjoys the country's earliest hanami season, usually starting by the end of January and going into the first two weeks of February.