Things to Do in Okinawa


Okinawa, with its stunning beaches, sub-tropical climate and plethora of tourist attractions and activities, is a popular vacation destination for many Japanese and people around the world. Thinking about visiting here? Then check out our list of unforgettable things to do in Okinawa.


Things to Do in Okinawa:
Dive the 10 000 Year Old Yonaguni Ruins

Yonaguni is a small island with a population of less than 2,000 inhabitants. The waters surrounding the island has long been a popular diving spot thanks to the clear water and hammerhead sharks. However, in 1987 the 10,000 year old Yonaguni ruins were discovered which attracted more people to the island.

These structures which consists of enormous stepped monoliths and other structures are believed to have been built by the Jomon people who existed in Japan from 12,000 BC to around 300 BC. It sits between 25 to 100 feet beneath the water surface and is open for anyone to dive and explore.

Read more about the top diving spots in Okinawa.


Things to Do in Okinawa:
Spend Time on the Beaches

It should come as no surprise that Okinawa has many of the best beaches in Japan and its also the main reason so many tourists flock here. But with 150 islands, how will you know which beaches are the best and where they are located? Check out our list of the most stunning beaches in Okinawa.


Things to Do in Okinawa:
Attend Any of the Okinawan Festivals

There are numerous festivals which take place across Okinawa each year that are unique to the islands. There is the Ryukyu Lantern Festival, the Tedako Festival and the Eisa Dance Parade just to name a few. Learn more about these Ryukyuan events at the Okinawa festivals page.


Things to Do in Okinawa:
Visit the Okinawa Peace Park

The battle of Okinawa which took place from April to June 1945 was the final and one of the bloodiest battles of World War 2. Most of the fighting took place in the southern regions of Okinawa Honto which is where you will find most of the war memorials and the Peace Park.


Things to Do in Okinawa:
Tour the Distilleries

The Okinawa islands are home to a special type of drink known as awamori. There are many distilleries throughout the region who specialize in the manufacturing of these drinks who offer educational tours of their facilities and for people to sample and buy their brews.

Read more about these Okinawan distilleries you can visit.


Things to Do in Okinawa:
Visit the Nago Pineapple Park

The Nago Pineapple Park sits outside downtown Nago City on the main Okinawan island. Its a pineapple farm theme park tourists can visit and although the entire concept sounds strange, its actually fun and entertaining.

Visitors will be driven through the park in a yellow pineapple vehicle which drives on tracks. You will make your way through stunning tropical gardens and pineapple growing fields before visiting on-site stores which stock and sell pineapple based food, candy and drinks. There are many free samples you can try before buying these unique food and drink items. It’s great fun for kids and couples.

Website http://www.nagopineapplepark.com/english/
Address 1195 Biimata, Nago, Okinawa Prefecture
Phone 0980-53-3659
Business Hours 09:00AM to 18:00PM
Closed Dates Open 7 days a week
Admission Fee Prices vary from free to 600 yen (depending on age)

Things to Do in Okinawa:
Visit the Castles of Okinawa

Up until 1609 the Ryukyu Kingdom existed as a complete separate country from Japan with its own distinct language and culture – which is why the castles on Okinawa differ so much from those on the mainland. Check out the Okinawa castles page to find out more about the best castles to visit.


Things to Do in Okinawa:
Tour the Nuchi-una Salt Factory

Nuchi-una Salt Factory

Image taken from Nuchima-su.co.jp.

Most health professionals agree that salt is unhealthy, however – the salt produced at the Nuchi-una Salt Factory is different. Sea water gets pumped from the ocean into the high-tech facility where salt gets extracted and treated before being transformed into mineral rich, super healthy salt.

Free self-guided tours are available to anyone who comes knocking on the door but groups larger than 10 people need to call in advance and make a booking. For hygienic purposes visitors are not allowed to enter the actual factory rooms but large windows allow anyone to see what is going on. The second floor of the facility has a salt gift shop where visitors can purchase various products featuring this healthy salt such as cooking salt and beautifully decorated salt gift sets. There is also a restaurant serving a variety of exquisite dishes which makes use of the salt manufactured at the facility. The Nuchi-na Salt Factory is a highly recommended Okinawa destination to visit if you happen to be in the area.

Website nuchima-su.co.jp
Address 2768 Yonashiro Miyagi, Uruma City, Okinawa 904-2423
Phone 098-983-1111
Business Hours 09:00AM – 17:30PM
Closed Dates No Closing Days
Admission Fee Free

Things to Do in Okinawa:
Try Okinawan Snake Wine

Okinawan snake wine, also known as habushu, is a unique type of alcoholic drink native to Okinawa. The snake used is the venomous habu snake which is commonly found in some parts of Southeast Asia and Japan.

Brewers let the snake soak in ethanol for a month in order to preserve it. Afterwards the snake is placed in a 60% alcohol mixture for another month before adding an awamori combination which consists of various herbs and honey. So what about the venom? No need to worry because the alcohol dissolves the poison thereby making it safe to drink.

Read more about habushu here.


Things to Do in Okinawa:
Visit Cape Manzamo

Cape Manzamo

Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas , Onna Okinawa Japan Cape-Manzamo-01, CC BY-SA 3.0

Sho Kei, ruler of the Ryukyuan Kingdom during the first half of the 18th Century, proclaimed that the field on Cape Manzamo is large enough for 10,000 people to sit. This is also how the place got its name – Manzamo (10,000 to sit field).

Cape Manzamo can be found on the main Okinawan island facing the East China Sea. It’s a place known for its beautiful scenery and perfect sunsets which is why it attracts so many visitors. It’s easily accessible from the nearby Onna Village and sits right next to a popular diving spot. Cape Manzamo is suitable for year round visit but try avoid visiting during winter because of the prevalent windy conditions.


Things to Do in Okinawa:
Explore the Mihama American Village

The Mihama American Village

The Mihama American Village.

The Mihama American Village sits 15km north of Naha on the main island of Okinawa. It serves as an entertainment area for the many nearby US military bases and is popular with US marines, their visiting families and local Japanese alike. There are various stores, restaurants, a movie theater and a large ferris wheel for people to enjoy. The ferris wheel is the main highlight as it provides spectacular views of the coastline and nearby areas.

Website http://www.okinawa-americanvillage.com/
Address Mihama, Chatan-cho, Nakagami-gun 904-0115, Okinawa Prefecture
Business Hours Most facilities are open from 11:00AM to 21:00PM
Closed Dates No closing days except for in the case of a typhoon
Admission Fee Free parking and admission. Ferris wheel costs 500 yen

Things to Do in Okinawa:
Spend a Day at the Yomitan Pottery Village

Near Naha, up on a hill sits the Yomitan Pottery Village. It’s a quaint little town consisting entirely of kilns, houses and shops which reminds one of medieval Japan. Visitors will walk along a path which winds past many of these glass and pottery workshops and watch these highly skilled craftsmen working their trade. Pottery and glass works are for sale from each of these workshops and prices generally start from $10 and goes all the way up into thousands of dollars. The Yomitan Pottery Village is a place well worth visiting.

Address 2653-1 Zakimi, Yomitan-son, Nakagami-gun 904-0301, Okinawa Prefecture
Phone +81 98-958-4468
Business Hours 09:00AM to 18:00PM
Closed Dates Open 7 days a week
Admission Fee Free

Things to Do in Okinawa:
Visit the Sacred Stone Gate of Sonohyan-Utaki

The Sonohyan-Utaki Stone Gate is a sacred site which can be found on the Shuri Castle grounds. The structure was built in 1519 and each time the king of the Ryukyuan Kingdom would leave on a journey he would first stop to pray at the stone gates. Interestingly, its not uncommon to find locals praying here from time to time. These gates also served as an important place where the high priestess would get initiated. The structure suffered damages during World War 2, was repaired in 1957 and then became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.


Things to Do in Okinawa:
Visit a Traditional Ryukyu Village

The Ryukyu Mura Village is one of the best places in Okinawa to experience and learn more about Ryukyu culture and traditions. It’s a relatively small theme park consisting of a recreated Ryukyu community. People who visit will be able to walk around and see what a traditional Okinawan village looked like centuries ago. In addition, there are various events which take place such as a habu snake show, eisa dancing, taiko drumming and ceremonial recreations. Visitors will also have the option to take part in traditional pottery making, weaving and learning the sanshin guitar from locals.

Website https://www.ryukyumura.co.jp/en/
Address 1130 Yamada, Onna-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa, 904-0411
Business Hours 08:30AM to 17:30PM
Closed Dates No closing days.
Admission Fee 1200 yen

Things to Do in Okinawa:
Explore the Sacred Sefa-utaki

The word Sefa-utaki means ‘purified place of Utaki‘ and is considered to be the holiest place in Okinawa since its believed to be the exact spot Amamikyu – the goddess of creation, first landed when she descended from the heavens. It served as one of the most important places of worship for the Ryukyuan people until it became a Shinto shrine when Okinawa became a part of Japan.

The shrine is located on the Chinen Peninsula, which is on the main Okinawa island about 15km from Naha. To visit this World Heritage Site, guests will first make a stop at a visitor center before making the same journey priestesses have done for centuries. It’s a trail which leads through a sub-tropical forest which will lead past various other shrines and places from where you can enjoy beautiful scenic views. The trail ends at a place called Sanguii, which is a small opening between two enormous pieces of rock which leads to the most sacred altar.

Address Chinenguteken, Nanjo 901-1511, Okinawa Prefecture
Phone +81 98-949-1899
Business Hours 09:00AM to 18:00PM
Closed Dates December 29 to January 3d and 3 days each during the 5th and 10th month of the lunar calendar.
Admission Fee 200 yen

Things to Do in Okinawa:
Visit the Churami Aquarium

The breathtaking Churami Aquarium in Motobu, Okinawa is part of the much larger Ocean Expo Park. It’s considered by many to be the best aquarium in Japan and was the world’s largest when it first opened its doors in November, 2002.

The 19,000m2 Churami Aquarium has 4 floors and 77 tanks which houses whales, sharks, dolphins, manta rays and many other fish species. The enormous Kuroshio tank attracts the most tourists and there is even a large tank which exhibits living coral – the first in the world. Tourists can also watch an Okinawan sea life documentary on an enormous HD screen.

This highly educational attraction is ideal for couples and kids.

Website https://churaumi.okinawa/en/
Address Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, 905-0206, 424 Ishikawa, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Phone/Fax Phone: +81-980-48-3748
Fax: +81-980-48-4444
Business Hours October to February: 8:30am – 18:30pm
March to September: 8:30am – 20:00pm
Closed Dates First Wednesday and Thursday of December
Admission Fee Visit here for further information.

Things To Do In Okinawa was last modified: September 9th, 2018 by uzkbs