Shurei Gate in Okinawa
Photo by: tata aka T, Creative Commons

Okinawa consists of more than a hundred small islands at the southwest of mainland Japan. The island chain has a comfortable subtropical climate with high temperatures and high rainfall, which keep the islands verdant all the time. Tourists may come at any time of the year except between late summer and early fall when destructive typhoons visit the islands.

Cultural Attractions
The culture in Okinawa is a mixture of Japanese and Chinese influences evident in the various landmarks in this city. A top tourist attraction is the Gyokusendo Kingdom Village that showcases Japanese culture and crafts like Eisa dance performances, dying textiles (bingata), and brewing of awamori. The Ryukyu Village is a theme park that presents the Okinawan culture and lifestyle. The Castle Ruins (Nakijin Joseki) offers a stunning view of the Iheya Island and the Hentona city.

The island of Okinawa has so much to offer for tourists who want to enjoy the summer heat in the beaches. One of the best summer destinations is the Moon Beach, which is known for its coconut trees, white sand, and pristine blue waters. The beaches in the Iriomote and Ishigaki islands attract many local and foreign visitors as well. The best time to go to the beaches of Okinawa is between April and November when the weather is warm.

Watersport Activities
Okinawa is home to the most diverse marine wildlife and stunning coral reefs in the world, making the place perfect for water sport activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling. Among the marine wonders to explore in Okinawa are manta rays, tropical fish, octopus, hammerhead sharks, and sea turtles.

Yaeyama Island is one of the main island chains in Okinawa, is a famous destination for tourists who are looking for an alternative to the busy and active cities in Japan. The relaxing rural life in Yaeyama islands offers not only serenity, but also opportunities for water adventure activities.

The major shopping street in Okinawa is the Kokusai-dori, which is lined with malls and shops that offer handicrafts, jewelry, and other souvenir items.

The Okinawan dishes are a fusion of Japanese and Chinese culinary styles. Some of the delicious dishes you must try in Okinawa are the Okinawa soba (wheat soup with pork nuggets), somen (wheat noodles), irabu-jiru (sea snake stew), yagijiru (goat stew), and irabucha (parrot fish). Don’t forget to order Okinawa’s specialty rice liquor, the awamori, and the popular Orion Beer.

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