Live it up island style in Japan’s tropical paradise.
In the far south of the Japanese archipelago are the tropical Okinawa Islands, a collection of over 160 separate islands that were traditionally known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. The Okinawa Islands are world famous as islands of longevity, where travelers can explore a paradise beyond Japan’s traditional tourism destinations, as they relax on white-sand beaches, explore colorful coral reefs or learn about the region’s unique history at UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Naha, Okinawa Island
Okinawa Island is the largest and most developed island of the Okinawa archipelago and Naha is the main city on this island. Kokusai Street is a bustling thoroughfare bathed in neon and featuring an eclectic mix of high-end boutiques, souvenir stalls and restaurants. West of downtown Naha, on a hill is Shurijo Castle, a must-see for any visitor. Built in the 1300s, it served as the palace/temple complex of the Ryukyu Dynasty, which ruled the islands for centuries. Nearby sightseeing options include Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Don’t miss any of the local food, the traditional diet of Okinawa is thought to be one of the reasons that the locals have the longest lifespan in the world.
Access information from Naha Port:
- City Center: 15 minutes by taxi or 25 minutes by public transit
- Nearest Public Transit: Miebashi Station (Yui Monorail) 3 minutes by taxi or 10-minute walk.
Ishigaki Island is located about 260 miles southwest of Naha. This island is covered with mountains rising 1,700-ft. above sea level, the highest in Okinawa. Guests can plunge underwater at Shiraho, which is famous for its array of colorful coral below the translucent waters; or take in the pristine waters of Kabira Bay, which is said to have the bluest ocean in all of Okinawa. Black pearl cultivation thrives in this area, making them a wonderful choice for souvenirs.
Access information from Ishigaki Port:
- City Center: 5 minutes by taxi or 15-minute walk
- Nearest Public Transit: Ishigaki Bus Terminal 3 minutes by taxi or 5- to 10-minute walk
A short ferry ride from Ishigaki is Taketomi Island, known for its time-forgotten villages and quaint buffalo carts, which tourists can ride. Here you’ll find many houses with red tiled roofs surrounded by stone walls. Nearby beach “Hoshizuna-no-hama” is covered with star-shaped white sand crystals.
Uncover the best of the natural world when you visit Iriomote Island. This island is home to unique animals like the Iriomote wild cat, which can only be encountered here. Experience nature’s bounty on Iriomote by jungle trekking or canoeing through one of Japan’s largest mangrove forests.
For more information, visit us.jnto.go.jp/top/index.php.