Okinawa is a Japanese prefecture, but also an island chain with its own history as an independent kingdom, as well as a distinctly subtropical climate. Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches, and there is an amazing array of coral and undersea life. Discover an archipelago of islands each having its own character and landscape, from white-sand beaches and coral gardens to mangrove jungle trails. Come for whale watching and dragon boat races, rare flora and fauna, and the kind of island mindset that makes you forget the clock and just follow the sun.
Unless you’re starting out from China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan or Hong Kong, you’ll have to fly to Okinawa from mainland Japan. Most flights to Naha Airport leave from Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
There are frequent flights from Haneda to Naha every day, and a few from other major airports in Japan. Flights from Haneda take about three hours. As for getting around in Okinawa, there is a monorail running from Naha Airport through Naha to the old capital of Shuri, but no other rail transportation. There is also a comprehensive bus service on the main island, but it is unreliable and hard to navigate. The best way to explore Okinawa is by rental car, or bicycle. You can drive the length of the main island in less than three hours.
Bitter melon, as its known in English, packs one powerful punch. Eaten raw it can be overwhelming, but when mixed wit...
The shiquasa is Okinawas answer to the lime. Rich in vitamin C and refreshingly tart, this citrus fruit is squeezed o...
Okinawan Raw Sugar
A mineral-rich brown sugar made from Okinawa sugar cane, with a mellow sweetness and a rich molasses flavor. The raw ...
A liquor unique to Okinawa made from Indica long-grain rice and aged in clay pots to mellow its fire. Awamori is most...
Soki are pork spare ribs simmered in awamori (a strong type of shochu), soy sauce and sugar. They are placed in noodl...
Kijoka Plant Fiber Textiles
Bashofu is a woven textile unique to the town of Kijoka on Okinawa island. Made from the fibers of a local banana pla...
Miyako Hemp Textiles
Light and breathable, Miyako jofu is a ramie fabric featuring precise ikat patterns. This textile tradition from Miya...
Vibrantly colored Ryukyu glass has been around since the 19th century. Okinawan glassmakers first used broken glass p...
Spring comes early in Okinawa. Cherry blossoms bloom in late January and February while the rest of Japan is still gripped by winter. Azaleas, irises, lilies and hydrangeas follow in April and May.
Okinawa’s subtropical summer stretches from June to October, an open invitation to go waterfall trekking and explore the beaches, coral wonderlands and mangrove glades of these islands. Fishing and ocean adventure sports are also on the menu.
The humidity drops after the early fall typhoons, making this a great time to explore the islands while it's still warm enough to enjoy sand and sea. The Naha Giant Tug-of-War Festival and Shuri Castle Festival are true fall spectacles that you won't want to miss.
Deep winter in Okinawa is a comfortable 15°C. Divers can still explore the coral in December, while January brings the whale-watching season. On land, Cape Manza is a nice scenic hike, and there are plenty of illumination festivals around the holidays.