Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

by RICH - TripleLights travel specialist

Okinnawa, as Japan’s southernmost prefecture, is warm throughout the year. Having unique history and blended cultures, it has been a popular destination not just for foreign travelers but local Japanese. Okinawa is also a perfect place for beach-lovers. Its main island has about 130 famous beaches!  

Wanna have a perfect getaway from the big city? Here are top places to visit in Okinawa!

 

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

Photo by Planetyze

The mysterious Okinawan sea is recreated here with whale sharks, manta rays and coral reefs!
An aquarium at Ocean Expo Park facing the emerald-green ocean. Starting with the highlight of the massive tank known as the Kuroshio Sea, it is filled with so many places to see that one day is simply not enough.

Japan’s most popular aquarium with annual visitors exceeding 2 million people. Located approximately 2 hours by car from Naha Airport, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is on the Motobu Peninsula in the northern part of Okinawa Island. This area which faces the beautiful sea was once the venue for Expo ’75. In the distance, you can see Iejima Island. The aquarium, which has the theme of “Encounter the Okinawan Sea”, can be entered from the 3rd floor (Coral Lobby), and heading to the 2nd and 1st floors, the facility is built so...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 6:30 PM )
Phone
0980-48-3748
Price
- Adult: 1850 JPY
- Child: 610 JPY
From 4 p.m. adults are 1290 yen and children are 430 yen
Website
oki-churaumi.jp

Kokusai Dori (International Street)

Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

Photo by Planetyze

The singular main street for the whole prefecture where everything from Okinawan delicacies to souvenirs abound
This shopping street which stretches for about 1.6km is lined with shops selling Okinawan food and souvenirs. The World Heritage site of Shuri Castle and a public market are nearby so this is a Naha tourist spot that cannot be missed.

A shopping street of 1.6 km also known as the Miracle Mile Kokusai Dori goes down the center of Naha City in Okinawa Prefecture. With its starting point at the intersection at the north end of the prefectural government building, it follows Prefectural Highway No. 39 in a straight line up to the Asato Junction. Just 3km away from the World Heritage site of Shuri Castle, the area always has lots of tourists. Kokusai Dori was once a burnt-out area after the war but has made a remarkable transformation. For that reason, it has been dubbed the M...

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Phone
098-868-4887
Price
- Free
Website
naha-navi.web.transer.com

Shuri Castle

Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

Photo by Planetyze

The largest gusuku (castle) in Okinawa Prefecture, it is a famous masterpiece of Ryukyuan architecture.
Shuri Castle was the seat of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It was burned down during World War II, but it was restored in 1992. In 2000, it became a World Heritage site as part of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.

Developed as the seat of the Ryukyu Kingdom, it is a gusuku which represents Okinawa. For 450 years from 1429 to 1879, the Ryukyu Kingdom was a monarchy-based nation in which Shuri Castle was its administrative center. The model for the castle was Shikin-jo Castle in China so it didn’t have a castle tower as was the case in Japanese castles. However, Japanese architectural style could also be seen everywhere such as the gables done in the Karahafu style. With these Chinese and Japanese styles, the distinctive Ryukyuan architecture could...

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Business hours
- Everyday (8:30 AM ~ 6:00 PM )
Phone
098-886-2020
Price
- Adult: 820 JPY
- Child: 310 JPY
Website
oki-park.jp.e.ms.hp.transer.com

Shikina-en

Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

Photo by Planetyze

Once used as a diplomatic stage by the Ryukyu Kingdom, it is now a World Heritage site garden.
A former villa of the Ryukyuan Royal Family located 2 km south of Shuri Castle with a mixed style of a Japanese garden and Chinese form. You can enjoy lovely scenery that is only possible at a Ryukyuan garden.

A distinctly Ryukyuan stroll garden incorporating Japanese and Chinese styles. Shikina-en is located approximately 2km south of Shuri castle and was established as a villa for the Ryukyuan Royal Family. Built in 1799, it was used as a resting place for the family and also as a reception area for envoys from the Chinese emperor. The construction of the garden followed the style of a stroll garden where visitors would encounter different facets of the scenery as they walked around the central pond. It was designed based on the style of a Japane...

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Business hours
- Monday (9:00 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
- Tuesday (9:00 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
- Thursday (9:00 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
- Friday (9:00 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
- Saturday (9:00 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
- Sunday (9:00 AM ~ 5:30 PM )
Phone
098-855-5936
Price
- Adult: 400 JPY
- Child: 200 JPY
Website
naha-navi.web.transer.com

Kouri Bridge/Kouri Island

Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

Photo by Planetyze

A popular spot in Okinawa where you can get a superb view from the bridge and enjoy the beaches on an outlying island
Since the opening of Kouri Bridge in 2005, Kouri Island has become popular for its accessibility by car. Attractions include the symbol of the island, Kouri Ocean Tower, and the many beaches.

The wonderful view from the straight Kouri Bridge is popular It takes 90 minutes due north by car from Naha to reach Kouri Island. Kouri Bridge extends 1960m and connects the northern part of the main island of Okinawa to Kouri Island and Yagaji Island. The wide ocean from either side of the bridge makes for a spectacular view. No matter the time of day, you can enjoy a visit to the bridge since you can see the water changing into an emerald green or a cobalt blue or even sunset orange. The symbolic Kouri Ocean Tower The 82m-tall Kouri Ocea...

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Phone
0980-53-1255
Website
nakijinson.jp

Bise Fukugi Trees

Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

Photo by Planetyze

The relaxing tree-lined roads of Bise District still evoke an Okinawa from long ago
The approximately 20,000 Fukugi trees which stretch for about 1km create a relaxing area which has been used in movies and commercials. Bise District, which is also seen as a sacred place, is that rare site that has retained an unspoiled landscape of Okinawa.

The unspoiled landscape of Okinawa that is Bise District About 2 hours away from Naha Airport by car, the northern part of the Okinawan main island has many attractive tourist spots starting with Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Within this area, the Bise area of Motobu Town is a rare place that still retains unspoiled landscape of the island. You can get that feeling of Okinawa which differs from the city of Naha with the old residences dotting the area and livestock such as goats being raised there. Bisezaki, which can be seen once you leave the...

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Phone
098-859-6123
Website
en.okinawastory.jp

Mihama American Village

Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

Photo by Planetyze

A popular resort area with a symbolic Ferris wheel which evokes an image of the American West Coast
American Village was named after the fact that it was once used as a base for American military forces. It is the No. 1 place in Okinawa to enjoy a Ferris wheel, shops and restaurants, and is also known as a place to see the sun set.

A huge resort modeled after the American West Coast Just 40 minutes away by car from Naha Airport, American Village is located along Okinawa’s main road, National Route 58, in the town of Chatan in the central area of the main island where it was opened in 1998. It is one large resort whose commercial facilities have expanded over the years. It was built as a model of a San Diego shopping mall street along the American West Coast with palm trees and brick streets adding to the atmosphere. On its huge grounds, there are 13 major commerci...

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Phone
098-926-5678
Price
Varies depending on the store
Website
www.okinawa-americanvillage.com

Okinawa World/Gyokusen-do Cave

Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

Photo by Planetyze

Okinawa Prefecture’s foremost theme park known for Japan’s largest limestone cave
Beginning with the country’s largest limestone cave, Gyokusen-do, there are plenty of spots representing southern Okinawa such as the world’s one and only Habu Park and Kingdom Village where you can encounter Okinawan culture

A theme park that brings together all kinds of attractions 30 minutes southeast from Naha Airport by car, Okinawa World is famous for Gyokusen-do Cave, the largest limestone cave in Japan. The 1 million stalactites there are said to continue growing at a rate of 3mm every year. There are also various other attractions at the theme park including Habu Park where you can see the Habu Show with its poisonous snakes, Kingdom Village which has old houses that have been nationally designated as Tangible Cultural Properties, and Nanto Brewery which...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 6:00 PM )
Phone
098-949-7421
Price
- Adult: 1650 JPY
- Child: 830 JPY
Children are 4 years old up to junior high school age
The above prices are for the free pass
Gyokusen-do Cave & Kingdom Village: Adults – 1240 yen Children – 620 yen
Kingdom Village: Adults – 620 yen Children – 310 yen
Habu Park: Adults – 620
Website
www.gyokusendo.co.jp

Sefa Utaki

Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

Photo by Planetyze

The highest sacred ground in Okinawa which has been registered as a World Heritage site
One of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu which was registered as a World Heritage site in 2000. It is a site which will soothe your soul as you feel the power of nature and 6 holy precincts.

A holy space protected by nature It takes up to 50 minutes by car from Naha Airport. The name originated as follows: Sefa means “highest” while Utaki is a name referring to “sacred ground” determined by the Ryukyu Kingdom so that Sefa Utaki has the meaning of “the highest sacred ground”. The inauguration ceremony of the Ryukyus’ highest goddess, Kikoe-no-Okimi, was held there, and national events came also to be held there during the Ryukyu Dynasty. The Utaki had an exalted existence with light repres...

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Business hours
- Everyday (9:00 AM ~ 6:00 PM )
Phone
098-949-1899
Price
- Adult: 200 JPY
- Child: 100 JPY
High school students and older pay adult admission
Preschoolers are free

Website
www.city.nanjo.okinawa.jp.e.bh.hp.transer.com

Ryukyumura (Ryukyu Village)

Top Things to do and places to visit in Okinawa

Photo by Planetyze

A theme park where you can experience the culture, folk entertainment and nature of Okinawa all at once
A tourist facility which has recreated the Okinawa of the good old days with old residences that have been nationally registered as Tangible Cultural Properties, performances of traditional Okinawan entertainment and locally-born staff.

The old residential area registered as a Tangible Cultural Property 1 hour north from Naha Airport, Ryukyumura is located in the resort area of Onna Village. In the old residential area which has recreated the Okinawa of a century ago, there are Okinawan houses with their characteristic red-tiled roofs and shisa lion ornaments that have been brought in from all over the prefecture among which 7 have been registered as Tangible Cultural Properties of the nation. With the idea to have you spend your time leisurely at the village, all of the clo...

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Business hours
- Everyday
October-June AM8:30~PM5:30
July-September AM9:00~PM6:00

Phone
098-965-1234
Price
- Adult: 1200 JPY
- Child: 600 JPY
Adults: 16 and older
Children: 6-15 years old

Website
www.ryukyumura.co.jp.e.ls.hp.transer.com

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25 Nov 2016

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Recent Tour Reviews in Okinawa Main Island

“ A Passion for Okinawa ”

Excellent
2 weeks ago Traveler: William -   Tour Guide: Noriko

Noriko was an excellent guide for our short 4 day visit to Okinawa. She led us to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, and it was a great tour. What made Noriko so special was her love for her home island Okinawa, and her passion and knowledge of it's history was super impressive! She was wonderful, and her genuine admiration for the island was fantastic, including all of the background and historical l...
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“ Very knowledgeable of Okinawa history ”

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1 month ago Traveler: Brion -   Tour Guide: Noriko

Not only did we learn about the battle of Okinawa, but also Okinawan history.
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“ Our visit to Okinawa ”

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1 month ago Traveler: Lori -   Tour Guide: Noriko

Noriko was timely and informative. She was super nice! Highly recommend!
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“ Excellent tour of Okinawa ”

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2 months ago Traveler: Christopher -   Tour Guide: Noriko

Noriko is an excellent tour guide! As a long time resident of Okinawa she is able to provide great insights about its history, culture and sites. Noriko has a very engaging and upbeat personality which adds so much to the overall quality of the tour.
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“ Amazing Customized Tour with Noriko ”

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2 months ago Traveler: Katie -   Tour Guide: Noriko

My tour with Noriko was amazing! She let me customize what I wanted to see and really created an itinerary that matched my interests. Her English was great and she was super knowledgeable about Okinawas culture and history, she was able to answer all my questions. This tour was wonderful, thank you so much Noriko!
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“ Excellent guide very informative ”

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3 months ago Traveler: Anthony -   Tour Guide: Noriko

All the group enjoyed our WWII tour in Naha. Noriko was excellent and we were so lucky to have her as our guide. On behalf of our group I would like to send Norika and TripleLights a big thanks for putting this tour together.
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“ Okanowa and war ”

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3 months ago Traveler: Miriam -   Tour Guide: Tateo

He was very prompt and caring and watched over as well. I would suggest skipping Okinawa world and spending more time at the peace memorial.
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“ Touring with Tateo ”

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4 months ago Traveler: James -   Tour Guide: Tateo

Spent an enjoyable day and, even though our arrival onshore was delayed, Tateo made sure we saw all the sights. Taxis between locations worked well and we finished in plenty of time.
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“ She's very good guide ”

Excellent
4 months ago Traveler: Hugh -   Tour Guide: Noriko

She is very kind and nice, Awamori shuzo tour was great. thank you so much Noriko
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“ Wonderful, fun and educational filled day in Naha. ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Amphorn -   Tour Guide: Noriko

Excellent tour!!! Noriko speaks perfect English. Very knowledgeable about the history and cultural of the area and Japan. My dad and I got to see a lot and “lived” like an Okinawan for a day (e.g. we had a dinner with the locals at a fish market). We learn a great deal and want to come back again some day and stay longer the next time we visit. Thank you Noriko for a wonderful day!!!
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