Likes & Dislikes

Opinions



,,What are the absolutely unmissable things on a trip to Okinawa? It’s impossible to list all the worthwhile sights here, but I do have a tip: The capital of Okinawa prefecture, Naha, has many interesting attractions. Shuri Castle is a must-see, as is Kokusaidōri (International Street), while Makashi Market is also worth a detour. It’s difficult to get around without a hire car (there are no trains on Okinawa, and the buses are old, infrequent, and expensive). If you can, pay a visit to the Churaumi Aquarium, in the northwestern part of the main island, as well as the Ryūkyū Mura, a village showcasing traditional Okinawan culture and architecture.

The main island has several stretches of coastline that are good for bathing and sunbathing, but it would be difficult and expensive to reach them without a car. If you don’t have one, the best alternative is to take a ferry across to a smaller island nearby, where you can relax on the beach while enjoying the spectacular scenery all around, or even go scuba diving in the clear, sky-blue waters.

The southern islands of the prefecture offer other rich adventures, but the writer of these lines has not yet had a chance to visit them… In any case, it’s sure that the visitor to Okinawa will discover a totally different side of Japan, as well as some special, spectacular, and enjoyable experiences.”


Okinawa - beach - Kata photo

Okinawa - beach - Kata photo

Practicals

Transport

x

Okinawa - Yui Rail (Okinawa Urban Monorail) - j.k. photo

Okinawa - monorail - Kata photo

Okinawa - Naha - monorail - Kata photo

Okinawa - monorail - Kata photo 2

Okinawa - boats on the sea - Kata photo

Okinawa - driving - r.p. photo

Accomodation

x

Okinawa - guest house - r.p. photo

Okinawa - Ritz-Carlton

Food

x

Okinawa - meal - k.o. photo

Okinawa - my lunch - full of surprises - j.k. photo

Okinawa - the name umi budo (sea grapes) suggests, these delicate green seaweed clusters resemble miniature bunches of grapes - Kata photo

Okinawa - dessert - Kata photo

Shopping

x

Okinawa - Naha - Makishi Public Market - k.w. photo

Okinawa - drink vending machine in the middle of nowhere - Kata photo

Okinawa - market - Kata photo

Okinawa - Kata photo

Fun

x

Okinawa - musician playing on shanshin, a banjo-like traditional Okinawan music instrument - v.g. photo

Okinawa - local folklore spectacle - k.w. photo

Okinawa - drummers - Kata photo

Okinawa - performance - Kata photo

Okinawa - Cafe Street (an alley by the exit of the Makishi Public Market) - Chatan Coffee - Kata photo

Public safety

x

Okinawa - police - j.k. photo

Okinawa - police officer and his boss - r.p. photo

Health

Many health experts claim that traditional Okinawa food enhances a longer life. Okinawans indeed hold the title of the longest lifespan in the world.

Okinawa - little rest

Okinawa - women's common - r.p. photo

Others

x

Okinawa - water quality & fishes - Kata photo

Background

Destination in brief

Okinawa island is located at the southwestern tip of the Japanese archipelago.

Size: 49 km² (18.92 mi²) - Okinawa is only 105 km (65 mi) long and averages 8 km (5 mi) wide. You can drive around the main island in about two hours

Central city: Naha

Population (in 2020): 1.3 million

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 2500 USD (Japan's average: 2600 USD)

US military bases occupy 19% of the island. English is more widely used than in the rest of Japan,

Tourism attractions:

one of the best places in the world for scuba diving., beautiful sandy beaches, aqua blue water, old castles, and ruins


Geography


“Due to its subtropical climate, the flora and fauna of Okinawa are quite different from what is found on the four main islands of the Japanese archipelago. Diving is also a tourist attraction on several smaller islands, such as the Kerama Islands, which can be reached in two hours by ferry from Naha: in the ocean, you can see beautiful corals, turtles, and many species of fish in strange and unique colors. Whales arrive around the islands in December, so you can also take part in whale-watching boat programs. But anyone who, like me, doesn’t have the opportunity to dive or watch whales (I only saw one island – Zamami, with its huge flowers and equally huge butterflies – in person) needn’t despair: Churaumi Aquarium, one of the largest and most spectacular aquariums in Japan, is located in the northwestern part of Okinawa Island. Here we can get acquainted with almost all the sea creatures of the Okinawa archipelago, in addition to the huge whales and skates seen in the largest hall. Visitors feel like tiny minnows…

In addition to marine life, there are also land-dwelling creatures that are rarely encountered on the main islands. Butterflies, spiders, and insects have also grown much larger than their northern relatives, while many species of venomous snakes also live here, collectively referred to as habu. It’s unfortunate to stumble upon them live, but you can often see them in souvenir shops, namely in beverage bottles: a famous Okinawan specialty is habushu, or snake wine, when a snake is added to the bottle in addition to the alcohol.

Regarding the diverse flora of the islands, it is worth highlighting, for example, shiikwaasaa, greenish-yellow citrus native to Okinawa. Despite its astringent taste, there are many uses, and the writer of these lines was a big fan of carbonated shiikwaasaa soft drinks available in Okinawan stores. Nor can I forego mentioning beniimo, which stands for Okinawan purple sweet potato. It is mostly used to make sweets, the most famous delicacy made from it, “beniimo taruto” can be found at almost every shop on the islands. Interestingly, due to the pests that frequently settle on it, it is forbidden to transport the beniimo in its raw state to the Japanese main islands, and warnings at the airport indicate that we should not even try to take home one or two root beniimos. Okinawa also boasts significant pineapple production thanks to its climate.

Okinawa - coast - Kata photo

Okinawa - coast - Kata photo 2

Okinawa - rock formations - Kata photo

Okinawa - mangrove - Kata photo

Okinawa - Red Tower (or Spiral Tower) flowers - Kata photo

Okinawa - Bamboo path - Kata photo

Climate

Summers are awfully hot and humid.

-------------

In Okinawa, typhoon season is between June and November. A quarter of Okinawa’s annual rainfall comes from typhoons. The months most threatened by typhoons are July, August, and September. Don’t be too alarmed, though: typhoons generally aren’t cataclysmic natural disasters. Of course, there are also devastating, huge typhoons, but most are significantly milder than Atlantic hurricanes. If a typhoon comes to Okinawa during your stay, be sure to stay inside the building. Most injuries and deaths are caused by debris and objects blown about by the typhoon. You can catch information about the typhoon situation on the radio in English.


Okinawa - typhoon - j.k. photo

History

Okinawa was originally an independent kingdom (Ryukyu), separate from Japan until it was taken over in the 1890’s.

Okinawa- Shuri - Shuri Castle, residence of the Ryukyu kings - v.g. photo

Nowadays

x

Okinawa - market - Kata photo

Okinawa - coffee fram - Kata photo

People

Okinawans are very different from the people of the main island Japan. People in Okinawa are more westernized than any Japanese can be. Okinawans are mellow and more laid back, less robotic & rigid, less hurried to get to & home, a lot healthier than all other Japanese.

Okinawa - LOL

Okinawa - local man - j.k. photo

Okinawa - local student - j.k. photo

Okinawa - living and non-living sculpture composition - Kata photo

Okinawa - locals - Kata photo

Okinawa - locals but one - Kata photo

Tourist etiquette

1. Some bars, restaurants, and other places are designated off-limits to non-Japanese. Respect and understand that, even if you don't like it.

Okinawa - warning - Kata photo

Gastronomy

"The Okinawan diet consists primarily of fresh, seasonal, mostly raw and locally grown foods. They have an energy-reduced died (i.e., eating slightly less than necessary, this is called calorie restriction), eating slowly, eating foods of adequate energy density (i.e., in a given volume, with as many nutrients as possible in their meal), and avoid alcohol. Their example shows that diet and lifestyle have a greater impact on life expectancy and quality of life even than genetic traits. Unfortunately, ever since American soldiers arrived on the islands and spread their own food culture, dominated as it is by fast food, the health of Okinawan residents (especially young people more susceptible to external influences) has deteriorated drastically, and it has more than once been the case that elderly, traditional parents have survived their own children.


Okinawa - Goya Chanpuru (Bitter Melon Stir Fry Okinawan Style) - y.a. photo

Okinawa - seagrapes - Kata photo

Attractions

Shuri Castle

Okinawa - Shuri Castle - t.m. photo

Okinawa - Shuri Castle - r.p. photo

Naha

Okinawa - Naha - Sunday on Kokusai Dori - k.w. photo

Okinawa - Naha - k.w. photo

Okinawa - Naha - cafe - Kata photo

Okinawa - Yui Rail - Kata photo

Beaches

One of the most special beaches in the world is a sandy beach in Okinawa: Hoshizuna no Hama on Iriomote Island, which means "Star Sandy Beach” – a very fitting name for this beach because every grain of sand looks like a star. This is because we are not actually talking about grains of sand, but about the calcareous skeletons of tiny, single-celled organisms, millions of which make up the bulk of the material on the beach. For water sports enthusiasts, it may be interesting to know that the shallow coastal waters are also extremely suitable for diving. "

Okinawa - beach - Kata photo

Zamami Island

Okinawa - Zamami Island - from Naha an hour by the fast ferry - p.l. photo

Okinawa - Zamami Island - Kata photo

Kerama Islands

Okinawa - one of the Kerama Islands - j.k. photo

Okinawa - Kerama Islands - diving - lionfish - r.p. photo

Iriomote Island

Okinawa - Iriomote island, Okinawa's second-largest island - j.k. photo

Related posts

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *