"Okinawa (Japan's Hawaii)" Okinawa by KevinMichael

Okinawa Travel Guide: 387 reviews and 960 photos

Okinawa & Kamigami no Uta

Okinawa today is Japan but without doubt it isn't the Japan of Honshu. Having lived on Honshu for 17 years, I can see the heavier influence of Chinese culture that is evident in Okinawa's cultural architectural sites (the ones we were able to see, that is). Of course, this isn't really any surprise as proximity wise Okinawa was easily within the Chinese sphere of influence as it was Japan's Shogunate.

To me the people of Okinawa had some physical traits that were in someways akin to peoples I've seen from some other Asian countries. Culturally, however, they are Japanese. Yet, distinct aspects of Okinawan culture and the influence of this on their people and how they differ from other Japanese are also present.

One of the things that has attracted me most to Okinawan culture aside from that of Japanese culture is the spirit of her people. In particular there is a song I love that I first heard on a Japanese television program my first year living in Japan. The program itself focused on the impact man has had on the extinction of species and it would play some every Thursday night. Although the message of the program hit home, it was the music that captivated me. At that time, I had thought the music was African in origin. Later did I learn that it was from Okinawa. And the song went by the name of Kamigami no Uta. Not knowing of this song, I would HIGHLY recommend you take the time to listen to it on Youtube. It is incredible. And from it you'll get a deep feeling in its sound of both the connection and the kami connection that Okinawans have for their land and nature itself.

Japan's Hawaii

Okinawa is an excellent choice for a sub-tropical vacation. Although it feels like Japan's version of Hawaii, other than it having beautiful beaches and comfortable weather it is strikingly different.

For one, Okinawa doesn't attract the same level of tourists that Hawaii does (especially Oahu). What is clearly evident of this is that during one of the busiest Japanese travel times of the year (Golden Week), our plane flying from Niigata to Okinawa was much more than half empty.

A lot of the food we ordered in Okinawa was rather bland or nothing special. This was a complete surprise to both my wife and I as we have been very used to loving the kinds of meals that we could usually get somewhere on Honshu. Okinawa, in regards to most of our dining experiences there, was nothing to write home about. However, to be fair, we did enjoy our last day's lunch at an all you can eat traditional Okinawan cuisine restaurant. So, I'd gather based on that experience there must be some other places that could do better at catering to tourists.


I like the palm trees planted as they are along the sidewalks. This reminds me of both Hawaii and California, where I'm from. I would have liked to have seen far more of Naha, maybe next time.

On my list for next time:
-more of Naha
-go to Okinawa's super aquarium
-go to some more islands
-find the better food

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:sub-tropical comfort and relaxation
  • Cons:The food experience can be disappointing
  • In a nutshell:I'd like to go again.
  • Last visit to Okinawa: May 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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