Okinawa main island inhabits around 1,3 million people and has lots of smaller islands nearby. Okinawa is around 640km south from Japan main island, more close to Taiwan actually.
In my post, I share a few reasons why I think Okinawa is a place worth visiting.
It is the southern most part of Japan! In addition to the Okinawa Main Island, there are other islands nearby as well! The biggest ones are Ishigaki, Iriomote and Miyako islands. Ishigaki and Miyako islands are popular destinations for holiday. You can reach these with an easy access.
Then there are Taketomi and Yonaguni islands.
The sea and beaches! Either you like or not like swimming, the sea is beautiful. You can collect shells and other treasures from the beach too. Evening time, sea acts as a peaceful element. How about watching a sunset?
Okinawa has one of the best Aquarium in Japan. Churaumi Aquarium welcomes you!
Although Naha is the biggest city of Okinawa where the airport also locates, Okinawa city has a brand new AEON shopping mall which is worth a visit.
Okinawa is warm even during the winter! Best seasons are autumn and spring in my opinion, but summer is also a bit cooler than in the mainland.
Atmosphere on the island is peaceful and relaxed! You can escape crowded and busy city life, and easily relax in a hassle-free laid back environment. No rush anywhere, even locals walk with a slow pace.
Okinawan food culture is bit different from the mainland Japan. Therefore, you can enjoy delicious Okinawan meals! Try Okinawa soba (of course!) and tofu or goya champuroo. Why not Okinawan tempura too? Special vegetables include purple potato (beniimo), bitter melon (goya), yellow Okinawan carrot, and okra.
Another point is that Okinawan people are said to be one of the longest-living people in the world.Local fruits are super yummy! (pAnother point is that Okinawan people are said to be one of the longest-living people in the world.
Okinawa has Shisa! These are legendary guardians in a shape of lion-dogs. You can see many statues and figures of them around the island. Remember to buy your own too, as a pocket size memory.
Discover Okinawan music, dance and sanshin! What a lovely combination they all make!
Locals are friendly and laid-back. You might hear Okinawan accent or even Okinawan language too, if you are lucky!
Okinawa has many beautiful nature areas, forests and waterfalls, especially in the northern part of the island. You get to discover nature.
You can participate in marine activities, such as scuba diving, whale watching and fishing. There are nice boat rides too, such as glass-boat where you can admire the fish from the bottom glass! Coral reefs too!
Beautiful flowers (such as Hibiscus), and various types of flowers bloom at all seasons.
Okinawa has American Village. In Chatan, you can take a ride in Ferris wheel and eat American food such as steak and tacos.
Okinawa used to be Ryukyu Kingdom. Due to that, historical places, such as Shuri Castle look really different compared to Japan mainland.
Okinawa has Awamori! This is rice based strong alcoholic beverage. Okinawa has its’ own beer too, Orion Beer.
Okinawan desserts are yummy! Shortbread like Chinsuko, purple potato tarts, purple potato ice cream and lovely Blue seal ice cream which is officially Okinawan. Try great looking parfaits too and ice slush
You can get some lovely souvenirs. These are Ryukyu design items, such as fabrics. Ryukyu glass is also beautiful. Or you could get some weird but cool souvenirs (habushu=snake sake and awamori)
You can shop brand goods at the Outlet Mall Ashibinaa (great bargain prices at times) or at tax-free shopping mall, T-Galleria.