When to travel?

The climate in Okinawa is totally different from mainland; it has a tropical weather along with heavy rain, and the typhoon is hitting so hard.  In winter, on the other hand, is more comfortable, with the warmer temperature without snow.

Best season: Feb-Jun, Oct-Jan (Jun is monsoon, Jul-Aug could be too hot and humid, Sep is typhoon)
Cherry blossoms:  end of Jan-Mar (Cherry blossom tree is different from mainland)
Foliage: Oct (not as famous as in mainland, because the climate in Okinawa is tropical)

Events / Festivals

Jan: New spring festival (新春の宴), Naha
May: Okinawa Hari boat festival (沖縄ハーレー), Naha
Jul: Honen festival (豊年祭り), Taketomi Island 竹富島
Aug: Autumn festival (八月踊り), Tarama village 多良間村
Aug-Sep: Eisa (エイサー), Naha
Aug-Sep: Angama (アンガマー), Ishigaki Island 石垣島

Touristic spots

Capital city: Naha (那覇)

The capital city of Okinawa, Naha, is also the entrance to other prefectures, islands and countries.  As Okinawa is an island, there is no railways connected to other prefecture, so that taking aircraft or ferry is the only way to reach the city.

Kokusai Dori street (国際通り) is the main street in Okinawa, where all the souvenir shops and restaurants available.
Tama udoun (玉陵) is a World Heritage site, which was used to bury the royals.

Ryukyu village (琉球村)

Ryukyu village is a theme park, which is located 1 hour away from Naha.  In this park, there are old traditional Okinawan houses exhibited, so that visitors can feel the life in Okinawa in old times.

Shi Sa (シーサー) is a guardian in Okinawa, which you may find everywhere in Okinawa.

Manzamo (万座毛)

Manzamo is a cliff, which is about 20 meters high.  There is a rock which looks like a nose of an elephant.  Many beautiful beaches and luxurious hotels are also available.

A rock whose shape looks like a nose of an elephant.

Nago (名護)

Nago is the second biggest city in Okinawa.  The city had Nago castle, which now is more famous for cherry blossoms.  Cherry blossom in Okinawa is different from the one in the mainland.  The color is darker, and it blooms earlier.

View from the hill where there was Nago castle.
Kanhi Sakura (寒緋桜) blooms in Okinawa, from January.

Nakijin castle (今帰仁城)

It is a part of UNECO world Heritage site.  The castle of Hokuzan Kingdom (北山王国).

About 800 meters long, the biggest castle in Okinawa.

Churaumi Aquarium (美ら海水族館)

One of the most popular sites in Okinawa.  Although it takes about 2 hours from Naha city, the visitors exceed 3 million a year.  The water pool was the biggest in the world, where we can see the real life under the ocean.  Whale shark and manta are the two biggest popular fish.

Whale shark is as big as 9 meters.

Kouri bridge (古宇利大橋)

A big bridge that connects Nakijin village (今帰仁村) and Yagashi island (屋我地島).  The view of the bridge is just so amazing and it attracts many tourists.

About 3.5 km long.

Himeyuri Memorial tower (ひめゆりの塔)

Okinawa was the only place where American army landed and fought directly with citizens.  This is where a group of Japanese high school girls ended their lives.  The place to wish for a world peace and their rest in peace.

87 people died in the cave.

Okinawa world (おきなわワールド)

Another theme park at the southern part of Okinawa.  There are so many attractions to let the visitors feel and experience Okinawa’s culture.  There is also a huge limestone cave called Gyokusendo (玉泉洞), which is inside the theme park.

Traditional Okinawan house.  There are also tropical fruits garden, traditional Okinawa Kimono called Bingata (紅型) experience, and many more.
Gyokusendo limestone cave, Blue fountain (青の泉).

Taketomi island (竹冨島)

Taketomi island is 15 minutes by ferry and is only accessible from Ishigaki island.  The island is only 5skm however, in this island, we can enjoy old and traditional Okinawa scenery of stone-made houses and ox-drawn carriage.  Even though the size of the island is so tiny, there are some luxurious hotels so the island could be a perfect place for honeymooners, too.

Kabirawan (川平湾)

Ishigaki is a remote island and only accessible by airplane from Naha.  The reason why many people visit Ishigaki island is that because access to the remote islands is much easier, but of course Ishigaki island itself has a beautiful nature.  The most famous scenery in Ishigaki maybe Kabirawan Bay, when the sun shines the clear blue sky and ocean reflect the light and it looks just so amazing.

Yambaru National Park (やんばる国立公園)

The National Park of Yambaru maybe the biggest touristic spot in Okinawa.  Thanks to the tropical weather, the forest in Okinawa is so huge that has nourished many lives.  The endemic bird called Yambaru Kuina is the representative of this forest and they are under the strict protection.  Their black and round body with a red beak sometimes used as a character which you may see in Okinawa.

Kerama Islands (慶良間諸島)

These islands are also National Park of Okinawa and it is so easy to access from Okinawa, unlike other remote islands.  It takes about 15-30 minutes to access by ferry, so it is possible to visit there as a day trip.  However, these islands have countless numbers of beautiful sites, so it is highly recommended to take more time to relax and enjoy what is called Kerama blue.

Shuri castle (首里城) and Shikina garden (識名園)

Description available in Okinawa region article.