Okinawa Prefecture

Japan
Okinawa which includes coral

Venture to Japan’s southernmost prefecture and discover an archipelago of semi-tropical islands where blue-green waters, unspoiled nature and ancient culture await.

Set apart from the rest of Japan both geographically and culturally, Okinawa Prefecture consists of 160 islands where nature abounds and laid-back, tropical ambiance prevails. Discover pristine beaches and excellent diving, as well as historic artifacts from World War II battles, unique museums and a deep-rooted culture.

Until its 1868 annexation to Japan, the Okinawa archipelago was independent, known as Ryukyu Kingdom. Here, food, crafts, architecture and languages evolved separately and have left a long-standing legacy. Learn about this fascinating culture at Ryukyu Mura, a theme park where you can see traditional performances, working craftsmen and unique architectural styles.

Okinawa Island, the largest of the prefecture’s 40 inhabited islands, has the capital city of Naha, the gateway to the rest of the coral-fringed islands. The city’s highlight is the 14th-century Shurijo Castle. Learn more about ancient Ryukyu culture at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum. Visit pottery shops in the Tsuboya area. Shop, eat and interact with locals along International Street. Tour the Peace Memorial Museum on the southern part of the island for artifacts and testimonials related to Okinawa’s World War II battles.

Appreciate nature on Okinawa’s other islands. Embark on a whale-watching cruise off Zamami Island. In summer, lounge on perfect white-sand beaches including Katenohama Beach on Kumejima Island.

Emerald Beach is part of the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park. Witness the earliest blossoming of Japan’s famous pink cherry blossoms or attend one of the many colorful flower festivals held throughout the islands. You can even explore a primitive forest pocketed with limestone caves in the Valley of Gangala.

Dive in the healthy coral reefs on islands such as the far south Iriomote. If you don’t dive or snorkel, view marine creatures at Churaumi Aquarium and at the underwater observatory tower in Busena Marine Park.

Okinawa is served by Naha’s international airport. Domestic flights and ferries shuttle visitors to other islands. Set off on an island-hopping adventure in this alluring tropical setting.

Popular cities in Okinawa Prefecture

Okinawa showing a beach and swimming as well as a large group of people
Naha
The capital city of Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture is full of fascinating markets and historic sites, such as the impeccably recreated Shuri Castle.

Reasons to visit

  • Tomari Port
  • Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum
  • Tsuboya Pottery Museum
Kabira Bay Beach showing boating and a sandy beach
Ishigaki
Enjoy exceptional cuisine, dive with colorful exotic fish and coral features and delve into luminous caves filled with gleaming stalactites.

Reasons to visit

  • Ishigaki Port
  • Kabira Bay
  • Yonehara Beach
Miyakojima
Miyakojima
Secluded Miyakojima awaits: its beaches, kitesurfing, and more!

Reasons to visit

  • Sunayama Beach
  • Yabiji
  • Ikema Ohashi Bridge
Ocean Expo Memorial Park which includes a fountain, general coastal views and a square or plaza
Motobu
Explore relaxing Motobu: its aquarium, oceanfront, beaches, and more!

Reasons to visit

  • Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
  • Emerald Beach
  • Ocean Expo Memorial Park
Taketomi
Taketomi
Taketomi is calling! Discover its island views, waterfalls, hiking, and more.

Reasons to visit

  • Hateruma Island Starlight Tower
Busena Marine Park
Nago
Enjoy the hot weather on the beaches and let your kids loose on the thrilling activities in this city, where fruit themes abound.

Reasons to visit

  • Busena Marine Park