Memos from Asia

5 Must-visit Places in Okinawa, Japan’s Southern Paradise Island

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Aharen Beach on Tokashiki Island in Okinawa, Japan.

Okinawa Prefecture is located in Southern Japan and consists of over 160 subtropical islands, scattered between Japan and Taiwan. Okinawa is a famous and well-loved spot for summer vacations with its top attractions being the beautiful sand beaches, turquoise blue water and warm weather that attracts tourists from Japan and around the world.

Besides, Okinawa has many striking tourists’ locations, including delicious local food places, temples, resorts, stunning beaches, and so many more.

I would like to introduce several amazing places worth visiting if you’re planning your trip to Okinawa.

Churaumi Aquarium (美ら海水族館)

OKINAWA, JAPAN – April 20, 2017: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, Okinawa, Japan. It was the largest aquarium in the world until it was surpassed by the Georgia Aquarium in 2005.

Churaumi Aquarium is the largest and best aquarium in Japan, which is located at the Ocean Expo Park. It is well known for its signature Kuroshio fish tank, measuring over 7,500 cubic meters, and is considered as one of the largest tanks in the world.

Manta ray and whale shark

There you can see a vast variety of species, such as stunning whale sharks, beautiful manta rays, turtles and others, swimming in the tank freely. Come and spend some time within the aquatic beauty you can find only in Churaumi Aquarium.

Kokusai Dori Street (国際通り)

Okinawa, Japan – June 9, 2019: Unidentified people enjoy shopping at Naha Kokusai Dori Shopping Street in Naha.

Have you ever heard of kilometers-long shopping streets in Japan? Maybe you had even been to one in Osaka or Kyoto?

Great news, Naha – capital city of Okinawa Prefecture – has its own Kokusai Dori Street. This particular shopping street is stretched for over 2 km right in the middle of Naha, and offers a number of attractions for you to try, including cozy hotels, different souvenir shops, restaurants and so on.

OKINAWA, JAPAN – MARCH 1, 2017: Shops and market in Kokusai Dori Street in Naha Okinawa Japan

It is very popular among tourists visiting Okinawa, quite crowded and bright during the day and especially attractive in the evening. A perfect place to enjoy some shopping while also experience different types of local and popular dishes!

Cape Manza (or Manzamo, 万座毛)

Manzamo or Manza cape, the landmark cape in Okinawa, Japan during dusk. The sky is orange and blue.

Cape Manza or Manzamo is located close to the Onna Village in the northern part of the Okinawa Island and is a scenic cliff landmark, quite popular among international tourists and those who enjoy an amazing landscape view.

This place is best to be visited during the sunset for a stunning view and fresh ocean breeze and environment.

There is also the ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort located in the close proximity to the Manzamo, with a 300-meter private beach in its possession where you can relax and enjoy your vacation time.

Ishigaki Island (or Ishigakijima, 石垣島)

Ishigaki island Okinawa

Ishigakijima belongs to the Yaeyama Islands group, located in the south from the main Okinawa Islands. It has been recorded in the Michelin Green Guide Japan and is widely known for its crystal clear blue waters.

Ishigaki Island has many tourist attractions like its beautiful beaches, cultural and historical sights, resorts, and calm and relaxing atmosphere.

If you would like to try diving or swim with famous manta rays – Ishigaki Island is definitely the place to go. There is a wide choice of stunning places where you can snorkel, dive, enjoy the vast variety of aquatic creatures, and witness the unique star-shaped sand that Ishigakijima is famous for!

Ishigaki Island Diving – Manta

Shuri Castle (首里城)

Okinawa, Japan – March 10, 2013 Okinawa Castle or Shuri Castle under the Clear Blue Sky

Shuri Castle boasted of its dignity as the political, diplomatic and cultural center of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Shuri Castle, which was burnt to ashes during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, was restored as a national park in 1992 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan.

In December 2000, the Shuri Castle Ruins were registered as Japan’s 11th World Heritage Site, in recognition of their unique architectural style and masonry techniques, which are a fusion of Chinese and Japanese castle-building techniques.

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