Here is the second part of 20 of the top things to do in Okinawa, Japan. Ranging from diving with sharks. From sailing across an island chain to resting on a beach. Okinawa is one of Japan’s 47 prefectures, including over 160 islands.
11. Visit Shuri Castle
Shuri Castle, the historic capital of Okinawa and home to the Ryukyu Kingdom’s monarchs, is one of the top Okinawa tourism destinations.
The castle, erected in the late 1300s, played an essential part in the island’s political union.
Several conflicts and fires have damaged the castle throughout the ages, the most recent being during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
It was rebuilt in 1958 and 1992 so that tourists may still appreciate and enjoy the castle’s gusuku architecture, which was created in the traditional Okinawan manner.
Although the entire 5-hectare property was listed as World Heritage in 2000, just a portion of it is available to the public.
Visitors traverse the complex by following a set of arrows and can take a free tour guide who can show them the paid zones.
Adress: Naha, Shuriyamagawacho, 1−132-1
Opening hours: every day from 8:30 AM – 7 PM. Closed first Wednesday and Thursday of July.
Price: 820 yen
12. Try The Traditional Ryuku Costume
The traditional attire of the Kingdom of Ryuku differs from the ordinary kimonos worn nowadays.
Visitors are welcome to put on their costumes, take photographs, and visit the castle.
Ladies receive full professional hair styling and make-up for around an hour.
Strolling through the compound dressed up provides a visual representation of what life was like for the royal family during the Old Kingdom.
13. Stroll Through Makishi Public Market
The market is a maze of tiny alleys that interconnect into a large space of food stalls. Here, you can find a variety of ingredients including fresh fish, meat, vegetables, dried foods, daily groceries, and liquor.
For a chance to sample some fresh seafood, try the mochiage system where you purchase seafood on the first floor of the market and ask for a staff of a restaurant to cook it and serve it to you on the second floor. The cost for cooking is around 500 yen each.
- Address: 2 Chome-7-10 Matsuo, Naha
- Opening hours: from 8 AM – 9 PM. Closed the fourth Sunday of every month.
14. Enjoy Traditional Folk Performance Over Dinner
On Kokusai Street, Zizake Yokocho is an izakaya (a restaurant where you order smaller share-style dishes). It provides Okinawan food and the native sake Awamori and has traditional folk singing performances.
Singers take the stage three times a day, and guests’ requests are appreciated. You’ll discover lyrics to Okinawan folk songs on the tables to help you comprehend the music. Get up and dance if you’re in the mood!
Update: 2022- there is a big possibility that that place is closed forever.
15. Completely Relax At Aka Island
If you want to get away from the main island and experience some Okinawa activities, head to Akajima Island, commonly known as Aka Island. This gorgeous and serene island is tiny in size.
It’s well-known for its observation towers, which provide breathtaking views of the surrounding islands and Okinawa.
Around the island, there are several fantastic photo possibilities.
You may also go swimming, hiking around the island, or simply relaxing in paradise.
16. Dive into the Yonaguni Ruins
Yonaguni island is really closer to Taiwan than it is to Honshu, Japan’s main island. This is one of Okinawa’s most well-known islands for its scuba diving opportunities. While this isn’t something you can do from Okinawa Honto, it’s necessary if you’re in the region and want to make some additional outer Okinawa trips on various islands.
Yonaguni is famous for its spectacular underwater ruins, and many of them are formed of solid rock, some of which date back to 8,000 years.
This is one of the top things to do in Okinawa for intermediate or expert divers and should not be missed.
Legends surround the ruins’ origins, which are said to be remnants of a vanished continent named Mu. Rock structures resembling staircases, chambers, and walls may be seen here.
17. Go Whale Watching
If you’re wondering what to see in Okinawa, how about some humpback whales? A cannot-be-missed Okinawa activity is whale watching. Between January and March, the area is infamous for spotting humpback whales that swim in the waters off the southern coast.The whales migrate from Alaska to Japan and one of the best places to see them is around the Kerama Islands. You can book whale watching tours which take you out on a boat to get close to these magnificent animals.
18. Bird Watching on Kume Island
Kume Island is one of Okinawa’s top spots to visit for nature lovers.
A diverse assortment of local vegetation and fauna may be found here.
Because Kume Island is also a national park, hiking amid the thick flora is one of the most popular activities.
The island is also a national park, and one of the most popular activities is walking through the dense greenery that covers much of Kume.
Avid birders will especially like Kume since the center half of the island features natural wetlands where they may see birds. Several native species assemble in the region and hide in the thick grasses and shrubs.
19. Swim With Rays At Ishigaki Island
Another of Okinawa’s magnificent islands is well-known for its manta rays. According to the Michelin Green Guide Japan, Ishigaki Island is the number one site in Japan for swimming with manta rays.
In places like Manta Scramble, you’ll be faced with crystal clear water and may easily witness gorgeous rays moving over the ocean.
You may dive or snorkel in the region and just enjoy the experience of viewing and sharing the sea with these exquisite animals.
20. Sign Up for a Sailing Trip
Sailing hasn’t been that popular in Okinawa but more recently, it’s experiencing an upward trend. There are now various sailing companies that offer trips to cruise around different islands in Okinawa. Alternatively, if you are a budding sailor, you can charter your own boat and go island hopping at your own pace. This way, you can stop by different islands – many of which are uninhabited – and enjoy your own secluded paradise.