Okinawa is one of the most beautiful places in Japan. Its beautiful nature and the hospitality of the local people are fascinating.
I’ve been to Okinawa six times, three times to Naha, one time each to Miyakojima island, Ishigaki island, and Kerama islands. In this blog, I’d love to recommend the places I’ve been to in Naha. There is another blog of mine about remote islands in Okinawa.
I’m sure you’d want to go to Okinawa more after reading this blog.
Ryukyu Kingdom ruled the Ryukyu Islands from 1429 to 1879. Shurijyo castle was the center of the kingdom. The Kingdom was strongly influenced by China, which was their biggest trading partner. Therefore, the appearance of Shurijyo is similar to a Chinese castle. The main color of the castle and the gate were painted red whereas walls of Japanese castles were painted white.
A fire destroyed Shurijyo Castle in October, 2019. It is under construction now, and the construction will be completed in 2026. Hopefully, you can visit Shurijyo Castle after the construction is over. Even though it is under the construction, I recommend visiting Shurijyo castle so that you can support the local people who are helping to rebuild it.
|opening hours||9:00 – 16:30|
|address||〒903-0815. Okinawa Naha City Syuri Kinjyocho 1-2.|
|phone number||+81 98-886-2020|
Kokusai Dori Street（国際通り）
There is a big market, Makishi Public Market near Kokusai Dori. You can get meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, liquor and so on at the market.
Tsuboya Yachimun Street (壺屋やちむん通り)
Tsuboya Yachimun street is a beautiful cobblestone street. There are some traditional pottery workshops and cafes. You should go for a walk on this street to explore this quiet and lovely neighborhood.
Izakaya Kafu (佳風)
There are many Izakaya (Japanese pubs) on Kokusai Dori Street. A lot of Japanese pubs on Kokusai dori street are tourist traps but it’s not as bad because they have English or Chinese menues. If you like authentic Okinawa food, I recommend eating at Izakaya Kafu.
Izakaya Kafu faces Kokusai Dori Street but on the second floor of the building. It’s not a tourist trap, and you can enjoy authentic Okinawa food.
Their Deep Fried Gurukun is very delicious. Gurukun is Okinawa’s official fish. It’s worth trying it when you visit Okinawa island.
Hotel Ocean is also conveniently located on Kokusai Dori Street, and it takes just 3 minutes from Yui Rail Makishi station. It’s a very nice place to stay for a small group of friends or family. If you travel with kids, I’m sure they will love this hotel.
There are various toys and cute books for children at their Kids’ corner in the hotel. Your kids can have a lot of fun with other kids there.
Kids under 6 years old can get candies from their Candy House. They can get a small plastic bag, and put as much candy as they want in it. Choosing candies is a lot of fun for kids.
Hotel Ocean also has a kids’ pool, and you can borrow towels and swim rings. It’s an outdoor pool, and not warm water. It’s good for hot summer days.
Other features of Hotel Ocean
- Free coffee, Sanpin tea, and Awamori (Shochu) at the lounge “Yukui Square” in the hotel
- Breakfast buffet and Lunch buffet including over 100 Okinawa dishes at the sky lounge restaurant
- Shampoo and conditioner bar for female guests (Female guests can choose from a variety of different shampoos and conditioners)
- There are five types of pillows and you can choose the one you like
- There are three different kinds of toothbrushes, soft, normal and hard in the rooms.
- You can borrow some useful items like electric fans, USB cables, humidifiers, etc…
- You can eat Yonakisoba noodles which is free of charge. It is served at 9 P.M., and on a first come, first served basis. Fifty meals only.
2-4-8, Asato, Naha Shi, Okinawa Ken, 902-0067, Japan
|phone number||+81 98-863-2288|
Sweets from Okinawa
Here are some sweets that I recommend eating in Okinawa.
Chinsukou is a traditional sweet in Okinawa. It is similar to shortbread and has many flavors, like salt, milk, coconut, purple sweet potato, pinapple, etc… They are tasty and very reasonable, and also good for souvenirs. My favorite is Chinsukou covered with chocolate.
Blue seal icecream
Purple Sweet Potato Tart (紅イモたると: Beni imo tart)
Puple sweet potato tart is not too sweet but just right. The regular one is good for suvenirs because you can keep it in room temperature. The topping of Nama Beni Imo Tart is mixed with fresh cream, and there is custard cream inside it. It is creamier than the regular one, however you need to keep it in the fridge. I recommend eating it there in Okinawa.
Cape Manzamo is so instagenic that you can take a commemorative photo. It’s on the way to Churaumi Aquarium from Naha city. If you rent a car, you should definitely stop by and take pictures there.
Churaumi means beautiful ocean in Ryukyu language. Literally, the aquarium is breathtakingly beautiful. The biggest water tank is impressive and it will definitely capture your eyes. Before visiting this aquarium, you can learn about their fish and sea creatures from here and here.
|opening hours||8:30 – 18:30 from October to February (9:00 – 17:00 during the pandemic)
8:30 – 20:00 from March to Semptember
|address||905-0206 424 Ishikawa, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture|
|phone number||+81 980-48-3748|
Emerald beach is very close to Churaumi Aquarium. The beach is fully equipped with Jellyfish prevention nets.
There are shower booths, coin lockers(100 JPY ), and restrooms on the beach.
There are also some rental items, such as a parasol (1,000 JPY), a large swimming ring (1,500 JPY), a life jacket(4.6 – 4.9 feet) and a beach side bed (1,000 JPY).
|opening hour||8:30 – 19:00 (1st, April – 30th, September)
8:30 – 17:30 (1st, October – 31st, October)
|address||905-0206 424 Ishikawa, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture (Ocean Expo Park)|
Fukugi Tree Road in Bise（備瀬のフクギ並木）
This tree tunnel in Bise is peaceful and nostalgic. You can try a water Buffalo cart ride, which is so relaxing. You’ll forget the hustle and bustle, and feel Okinawa’s slow local time there.
This beautiful island is a little far from Naha city but the color of the ocean is a beautiful cobalt blue. Kouri beach is shallow, and it remains shallow for a long distance. It’s a nice beach both for kids and adults.
There is a big rock, called “Heart Rock”. The rock is photogenic but there are a lot of Japanese people because Japanese famous music band “Arashi” shot a commercial message for TV there.
Kouritou island is not a big island, one day is enough to look around.
When is a good season to visit Okinawa?
The best season to visit Okinawa is right after the rainy season. The rainy season starts in the middle of May, and finishes at the end of June. It’s warm enough to swim in the sea, and not too hot to go sightseeing at the end of June.
Also, the beginning of May is a good season. It’s a little chilly to swim in the ocean but it’s okay if you wear wetsuits. You should avoid Japanese holiday season “Golden week” which starts on April 29th, and finishes on May 5th. You’ll have to pay more during “Golden week”. To top it off, there are too many visitors.
July, August and September is the season of typhoons. In addition to that, it’s uncomfortably hot and humid. It’s denifintely not a good season for sightseeing. Also, this is the buisiest and the most expensive season to travel in Okinawa.
Travel budget in Okinawa
The chart shows how much money I spent to travel in Okinawa. I went to Okinawa alone for the first time in 2006, with my friend for the second time in 2014 and with my family for the last time in 2017.
3 days 2 nights
(w/ a friend)
3 days 2 nights
(2 adults & 1 kid)
3 days 2 nights
|accomodation||6,000 JPY||12,000 JPY||65,000 JPY|
|car rental||3,500 JPY (12 hrs)||16,000 JPY||30,000 JPY|
|Food||10,000 JPY||15,000 JPY||22,000 JPY|
|Total||19,500 JPY||43,000 JPY||117,000 JPY|
Flight tickets and special activities like snorkling or entrance fees of facilities are not included in the prices.
I don’t usually stay at luxury hotels. I always choose mid-price or budget accommodation.