"Okinawa" Top 5 Page for this destination Okinawa by olddude

Okinawa Travel Guide: 435 reviews and 1,269 photos

The Jewel in the Pacific

Okinawa is the name for the island of Okinawa (Okinawa Shima or Okinawa Honto) and the name of the 47th prefecture of Japan (Okinawa Ken) which includes not only the main island of Okinawa but also the southern islands of the Ryukyu archipelago. The kanji characters for Okinawa mean "offshore rope ". The capital city is Naha. Okinawa has a unique and fascinating culture with a strong craft tradition. The sub-tropical climate, emerald ocean and coral sand beaches make Okinawa the travel destination of choice for Japanese and foreign visitors.

Okinawa Prefecture
Population: 1,300,000
Major islands of Okinawa Prefecture ordered by size.
Okinawa Island
Iriomote Island
Ishigaki Island
Miyako Island
Kume Island
Minami-daito Island
Irabu Island
Yonaguni Island
Ie Island
Iheya Island
Tarama Island
On a world map, Okinawa is just a small dot in the Pacific Ocean, but it used to be an independent kingdom -- the Kingdom of the Ryukyus. As a small kingdom, Okinawa prospered in the region, trading with Japan, China, Korea, and Southeast Asia. As the winds of world trade blew through, Okinawan people ventured out and brought back many foreign influences. Subsequently, Okinawa has developed its own unique history and culture. The heritage, the unique culture and history that the early travelers and traders started, has been passed on to descendents. Morever, the idea of the pioneers, "islands open to the world" still lives on among Okinawans.

Beaches -

Okay, so one of the main reasons (if not the primary) that people come to Okinawa is for the sun and sand. I do not swim, but I love the beach. The following is a short list of the major beaches, with a short summary about each, starting at Naha and then working your way northward up the west coast. Will provide more beaches later.

1. Nashiro Beach (997-2218) southernmost beach on the island has clean beach set among Ryukyu pines. Coral in the water requires shoes. Covered picnic tables, jet ski, aqua cycles, lounge chairs, camping avail. Fee 310 yen.

2. Ginowan Seaside Park (898-1768) Free public beach near Okinawa Convention center that is very popular. Good clean beach with good quality sand and swimming. All water sports allowed. Food and drinks available from local vendors.

3. Sunset Beach (936-8273 Free public beach with pavillions and tables. Great beach for kids. The water is shallow. No snorkeling, bicycles or bottles allowed. Open from 8:30am to 10:30pm daily.

4. Zampa Misaki Resort Beach (958-3833) Beautiful fine sand beach with shade and and grassy area. Limited parking. No snorkeling pets, camping BBQ, glass, or personal beach parasols allowed.

5. Ramada Renaissance Resort (965-0707) an awesome full service resort, excellent fine sand beach. Hot spring baths available. Resort caters to international crowd, staff speaks English. 1000 yen admission fee includes use of beach, both pools, hot spring, showers and parking.

6. Moon Beach Resort (965-1020) enter under elevated hotel. Good beach with full service that caters to mainland Japanese. Fee is 500 yen, parking is 500 yen.

7. Tiger Beach (964-3122) Excellent shallow sunbathing beach behind shops and restaurant. Favorite spot for partying Okinawans. Covered pavillions for rent. fee is 500 yen.

8. Manza Beach Resort (965-1211) A broad expanse of excellent beach with clear water, snorkeling area, jogging path, putting green, submarine reef ride, bikes for two. Lush vegetation and grass roofed picnic areas. Entrance fee is 600 yen, parking is 500 yen.

More beaches

As promised, here are more good beaches on Okinawa that are worth a visit:

Inbu Beach (967-8222) Excellent quality beach for sunbathing and swimming. There are shops and a playground for the kids. There is also a shaded camping area on grass. There are also glass bottomed boat rides available. Pets are also allowed. Entrance fee is 500 yen.

Sesoko Island- Don't left the name fool you. You can drive to this Robinson Crusoe like beach which is linked by a bridge to the Okinawan main island. It has excellent white sand. The beach here allows everything to include BBQ parties, camping, diving and snorkeling. No entry fee as far as I know.

Emerald Beach (0980-48-2743) this is the beach next to the Expo amusement park. Most people miss it because of the the park, but it is a very nice beach with lots of amenities

B&G Beach (0980-48-2967) This is a long white sand beach located on Ie Island so you will have to take the ferry out to it from Motobu. The roundtrip is 1080 yen.

Hayashi Resort Beach is a reef protected quiet beach just to the north of Motobu. It is great for snorkeling and has a playground, a BBQ area and a petting zoo. There is also a grassy area for picnics.

Okuma Resort Beach...one of the best and most popular beaches on Okinawa. Entrance fee is 515 yen.

Oodomari Beach is very secluded beach on Ikei island. Good for swimming and snorkeling. There is a diving school located here too. Entrance fee is 300 yen. FYI, the sand at this beach is like talc...it is awesome.

Big Time Resort beach doesn't ave that much sand, but it is good for rock climbing. There is also a pretty cool go cart track right next to the beach. One warning.....there are lots of habu in this area.

There are more beaches that I could list, but these are my recommendations.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Generally friendly people, great weather, great food
  • Cons:High cost of living, no train service, no direct flights to US
  • In a nutshell:If I could afford it, I would retire here.
  • Last visit to Okinawa: Jul 2006
  • Intro Updated Aug 25, 2007
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Reviews (12)

Comments (10)

  • mehulraj's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    nice pages.loved reading them all

  • Ericasmurf99's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    Hi! Can you tell me what is in walking distance from Kadena AB? My husband will be TDY there for 2 weeks and I said "I'm coming too! lol". I'll have our 1 year old too, so I'll be walking with a stroller.

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2009 at 4:32 PM

    Great tips and photos, Al. Especially the restuarant tips. I had never heard of this 'timed buffet' tradition before. No long.relaxing lunches or dinners then!

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2008 at 6:33 AM

    Nice page! Interesting fact about what makes the roads so slippery. Good transportation & restaurant tips.

  • Toshioohsako's Profile Photo
    Jun 14, 2008 at 2:58 AM

    I was curious about Hedo island. have never been there. It seems also a beautiful place. Hope to visit here sometime. Have a nice day.

  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2008 at 6:08 PM

    Excellent page here!! I'm a foodie and your restaurant tips are great!

  • dancinbudgie's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2008 at 1:53 PM

    Souds like we missed out by not having Okinawa on our itinerary!

  • RafaelTheSecond's Profile Photo
    Oct 12, 2007 at 10:02 PM

    There is a large population of americans in Okinawa, they are right, it seems to be the most pleasant place to live!;)

  • Travel2write's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2007 at 7:39 PM

    Love sushi! Great page. Travel2write

  • carol_izzy81's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2007 at 6:41 PM

    So far, your site has the been the most helpful for information about Okinawa! Lonely Planet has a small chapter about the islands, and Frommers has nothing!

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