Travel Information

Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture, consisting of a few dozen, small islands in the southern half of the Nansei Shoto, the island chain which stretches over about one thousand kilometers from Kyushu to Taiwan.

Okinawa Prefecture can be divided into three major island groups, the Okinawa Islands (Okinawa Shoto) around Okinawa Island (Okinawa Honto), the Miyako Islands (Miyako Retto) around Miyako Island and the Yaeyama Islands (Yaeyama Retto) around Ishigaki Island.

Okinawa’s climate is subtropical, with temperatures barely falling below 15 degrees in winter. The seas surrounding Okinawa’s islands are considered among the world’s most beautiful with coral reefs and abundant marine wildlife. Consequently, snorkeling and scuba diving are among Okinawa’s top attractions.

The islands making up Okinawa Prefecture, are also known as the Ryukyu Islands, named after the native culture, which is distinctly different from that of the rest of Japan in terms of language, cuisine, arts, etc.

An independent kingdom and tributary state to China for several centuries, the Ryukyu Islands came under control of the Satsuma feudal fief (today’s Kagoshima Prefecture) in the 17th century, and were made a Japanese prefecture in 1879, accompanied by efforts to assimilate the native population. But despite these past efforts, the Ryukyuan culture survived and is now Okinawa’s other main attraction.

Towards the end of World War Two, Okinawa became the stage of one of the war’s bloodiest battles, when American troops invaded the islands. Okinawa remained under US administration until 1972, while several thousands of US military members remain stationed on the spacious and controversial US military bases on Okinawa Main Island today.

1. T GALLERIA OKINAWA

This is the only downtown duty free shop in Japan, and over 130 brands are available here. It features a huge parking lot, and it is convenient that it is adjacent to the Yui Rail Omoromachi station. Purchased tax-free items will be received at the airport before boarding instead of the shop, so anybody can use this system without worrying about baggage while sightseeing.

T Galleria Okinawa Official Website


 

2. SHURIJO CASTLE PARK

The sightseeing spot, which represents Okinawa, was designated as world heritage in 2000 and is the landmark that symbolizes the prosperity of Ryukyu Dynasty. It is about 5 hectare of land. However, only a part of the park is open for public. Visitors need to follow a series of arrows, and it takes about 1 hour to 1 hour & 30 minutes to take a tour. If you want to take more time to see, take a free tour guide with you. The tour guide will show you paid-zones.

Shurijo Castle Park Official Website


 

3. ENJOY RYUKUCOSPLAY AT THE WORLD HERITAGE SHURICASTLE.

Wearing the traditional costume from the era of Kingdom of the Ryukuschanges the frame of mind. Visitors can try on traditional costumes, take photos, and participate in a tour of the ShurijoCastle Park. The ladies will get a full professional hair styling and make-up. It takes about an hour to get fixed up in the costume. At first, it may be a little awkward to walk among other tourists in a costume, but after a while, you may feel like you are one of the royal family from the old Kingdom of the Ryukus. Having a stroll in the facility lets you imagine the lives of people back in time. 쏣xperienceof RyukuCostume by Mode Mariage is a comprehensive activity with a luxurious costume, hair styling, and make-up done by producers of court-style weddings, and a guided tour with a history specialist. At the ZakimiCastle Ruins (also a World Heritage Site), there are tourist plans including picture taking in a Ryukucostume. Why not be the King or Queen for a day?

紐⑤뱶 留덈━븘伊*Only in Japanese.
瑜섏냼 씠移섎갑*Only in Japanese.

 

4. MAKISHI PUBLIC MARKET

Various types of ingredients including fresh fish, meat, daily food and dry food are available at this market which is powerful and filled with excitement.
Senior experienced staffs are so energetic. A system called 쐌ochiage (lift-up) is popular for tourists.
This is the system that you purchase fresh fish on the 1F of the market and ask for a staff of a restaurant to cook the purchased fish, which will be served on the 2F (500 yen each for cooking).
Don셳 miss it if you want to try the local fresh seafood.

Makishi Public Market Official Website*Only in Japanese.


 

5. HEIWA STREET & TSUBOYA YACHIMUN STREET

Heiwa Street is an arcade starts from in front of Okinawa Mitsukoshi, and souvenirs and folk crafts for young people are available here.
After passing the arcade, you will be on Tsuboya. It is the district that potters from each area gathered for orders by Ryukyuan Government. Along the well-maintained Tsuboya Yachimun Street, various types of yachimun (pottery) are lined up at old and new shops.
Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere while feeling the history!

Tsuboya Yachimun Street Association Official Website*Only in Japanese.

Heiwa Street

Yachimun Street


 

6. KOKUSAI STREET

When it comes to shopping in Naha City, Kokusai Street might come to mind. It is always filled with many tourists, and souvenir shops and restaurants are located. If you want to go to find fancy or unique stuff, take a back street. Traditional and modern mixed folk craft shop, fancy cafe and stand-like coffee shop are all located on New Paradise Street behind Matsuo bus stop. You can see the different view than Kokusai Street.

Kokusai Street Guide Official Website


 

7. ZIZAKE YOKOCHO

This is an izakaya on Kokusai Street to enjoy Okinawan cuisine, local sake Awamori, and listening to the traditional folk song performance. A performance by band members including singers takes the stage for 3 times a day, and requests from guests are also welcomed. Lyrics of folk songs that represent Okinawa are displayed on tables, so you can take a look at them. You might get up and start dancing with guests and staff when you get excited!

Izakaya 쏾izake Yokocho Official Website*Only in Japanese.