Here is the first part of 20 of the top things to do in Okinawa, Japan. Ranging from diving with sharks to sailing across an island chain to resting on a beach. Okinawa is one of Japan’s 47 prefectures, including over 160 islands.
The group of islands is south of Japan’s main island and is undoubtedly the country’s best-kept secret. Because the islands are flanked by the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. They are easily accessible from many parts of Asia, not just Japan.
Okinawa Honto is the largest of the islands and, as a result, the most popular among tourists. Despite having just 110km long and 11km broad. Okinawa has a plethora of attractions to visit and a variety of enjoyable activities.
With its year-round pleasant and comfortable atmosphere, Okinawa may be enjoyed in any season.
January, the coldest month. The average temperature in Naha (Okinawa’s capital city) is a pleasant 17°C, much higher than the rest of Japan.
Due to excessive precipitation during the rainy season, we recommend avoiding travel in May and early June. After the wet season ends in late June, it’s bright and sunny for the next few months.
Top Things To Do In Okinawa
While Okinawa is a series of islands, which implies a lot of water-based activities, there are plenty of other things to visit in Okinawa if that’s not your thing.
1) Dive With Sharks or Whales
Diving is arguably the most appealing aspect of Okinawa tourism. Okinawa is known for having some of the most beautiful diving locations in the world, with incredible opportunities to dive with whale sharks and hammerhead sharks in the wild. While visiting an island paradise in the winter may seem illogical, humpback whales may be seen from January through March. Although Japanese firms do not bait marine animals, you should always double-check with your diving school to be sure. As with everything in nature, you find them occasionally and don’t see them!
2) Try Freediving
We know directly how beautiful the freediving life and experience are since we are freedivers ourselves. Consider taking a snorkeling school in Okinawa if you like snorkeling and want to enhance your abilities to drive down and spend more time with marine life.
You’ll learn how to properly hold your breath, dive, and maximize your energy while in the water. Consider all of the excellent fish you can see! The marine life in Okinawa is diverse and awes even the most seasoned divers. Make sure you hire diving equipment — this is a must-see in Okinawa.
Take a freediving course in Okinawa.
3) Trek To Tadake Falls
Trek deep into the Northern Okinawa bush for one of the most daring Okinawa activities. Tadake Falls, a gorgeous and secluded waterfall, may be found here. Spend a whole day exploring the forest through hiking, river trekking, water slide, jungle swing, and rope climbing. You have to earn this one, just like some of the finest things in life.
The waterfall isn’t the finest in the world, but the road to get there makes it worth seeing. Expect a muddy hike, being soaked, and a difficult path. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s a lot of fun if you’re prepared to try.
4) Surfs Up!
We all know that the most enjoyable activities in Okinawa include water, so it’s no wonder that surfing is so popular here. Okinawa is the ideal place for first-time surfers due to its beginner-friendly waves.
The main thing to remember is that the waves in this area typically break over reefs. As a result, they tend to be shallow and might be dangerous if you’re new to surfing or untrained. We recommend enrolling in a surf school so that you may be shown good technique, how to read and catch waves, and how to avoid injury.
Surfing is popular on the beaches surrounding Okinawa Honto, but big waves may also be found off the coasts of some of the smaller islands.
5) Visit One Of Okinawa’s Most Sacred Sites
Sefa Utaki is one of the holiest locations to visit in Okinawa.
It is a significant sacred location in the indigenous Okinawan religion, stressing nature worship.
Sefa Utaki rose to popularity in the early 16th century when it became one of the primary venues for religious rites and rituals.
Sefa Utaki, another World Heritage Site in Okinawa, is located on a slope along the seashore and features many rock formations linked by walking pathways.
Address: Kudeken-455 Chinen, Nanjo Opening hours: every day from 9 AM – 6 PM Price: 300 yen READ MORE: Sefa Utaki
6) Learn About Okinawan Culture at Okinawa World
Okinawa World, a touristic theme park focused on culture, is one of Okinawa’s most prominent attractions. At Habu Park, the primary attractions include a Gyokusendo Cave, an artisan town, and a snake museum.
Gyokusendo Cave is the second-longest cave in Japan, measuring five kilometers in length. Only 850 meters of the cave are accessible to the public, where you can witness impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
Outside the cave, several tourist kiosks offer native items such as snake wine, a delicacy in Okinawa.
You may read about the habu, an aggressive and lethally poisonous snake frequently found it immersed in awamori bottles.
Visitors to Habu Park may learn more about snakes through various snake-themed displays that give information on the ecology and history of snakes and reptiles.
This magnificent museum and immersive theme park provide an insight into the Okinawan culture.
You can spend an entire day touring anything from Okinawa Cave to Nanto Brewery.
Address: Maekawa-1336 Tamagusuku, Nanjo
Opening hours: every day from 9 AM – 6 PM
Price: 1,650 yen (all attractions); 1,240 yen (cave and village only), 620 yen (village or Habu Park only).
7) War Memorials and Monuments
Important historical landmarks, like different war memorials, are among the more prominent points of interest in Okinawa.
Okinawa Honto became the scene of one of the war’s deadliest engagements near the conclusion of WWII, with an estimated 200,000 persons killed in action from April to June 1945.
There are several monuments and museums dedicated to the era.
Some of the most significant memorials have been built in the south of Okinawa Main Island, where the conflict was most fierce.
The primary memorial commemorating the Battle of Okinawa is the Peace Memorial Park, which is located near the island’s southern point.
The Peace Memorial Museum provides a sobering account. What happened before, during, and after the fight, and how Okinawa recover.
Several monuments, including the Cornerstone of Peace and the Himeyuri Monument, honor slain civilians and troops.
The Peace Memorial Museum
Address: 614-1 Mabuni, Itoman
Opening hours: every day from 9 AM -5 PM. Closed 29 December to 3 January.
Price: 300 yen
8) Former Navy Underground Headquarters
This is a depressing place to visit. This somber exhibit is intriguing and eye-opening for history fans or those interested in WWII.
Several hundred meters of underground hallways and chambers functioned as the Japanese navy’s headquarters throughout the war.
On June 6, 1945, commanding officer Rear Admiral Ota issued a lengthy telegraph to Tokyo commending Okinawans for their valor and ferocious resistance during the protracted struggle.
A few days later, he and his fellow officers, numbering over 175, tragically committed themselves (called an “honorable death”) in the tunnels.
Address: 236 TomigusukuOpening hours: every day from 8:30 AM – 5 PMPrice: 440 yen
9) Visit A Pineapple-Themed Park
Pineapples, that’s correct. Of course, if you’re wondering what to do in Okinawa, you should celebrate pineapples. And what better way to honor them than to build a theme park entirely dedicated to them?
Pineapples have been farmed as an agricultural commodity in Okinawa for over a century. But the entrance of lower-priced imported pineapples has caused the industry to suffer.
What is the solution? Make the fruit become a tourist attraction!
Nago Pineapple Park is a small theme park that has a ride on a pineapple-shaped vehicle through pineapple fields, a tropical garden, and a gift store where guests may sample pineapple items.
You may also watch how pineapples are peeled, sliced, and canned at a tiny factory on-site at various times of the year.
Address: 1195 Biimata, Nago
Opening hours: from 9 AM – 6 PM
Price: 850 yen
10) Enjoy West Coast Vibes At Mihama American Village
The Village is built on a former US Forces airfield and the idea behind the entertainment complex came from Seaport Village, a mall in San Diego. Here, you’ll see an instant resemblance to the West Coast of the US with a unique mix of shops with anime goods stores, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, karaoke studios, and a cinema.
Second Part –> 20 Things to Do in Okinawa Part 2