Okinawa is a beloved holiday destination among Japanese people. Okinawa is positioned like Hawaii in Japan because it has a tropical climate, white sandy beaches, coral sea, friendly people and a rich cultural background which has a different origin from traditional Japan. Okinawa is one of the most amazing destinations to visit when you are in Japan.
When you visit Okinawa, surely you will want to enjoy swimming and beaches, but there are also plenty of things to do and see on the main island of Okinawa. This article introduces you to these must-visit spots. The island is vertically long from north to south, so I will run them through by the north, central and south areas.
The northern part of Okinawa’s main island is famous for its rich native nature. If you can imagine typical tropical scenery like a blue sky, lush green rainforest and crystal-clear ocean, that is the northern part! It is recommended to travel by car and to wander around the natural beauty.
The aquarium is one of the most popular spots on the Okinawa main island. It is located within the Ocean Expo Park and is the best place to view the sea creatures from around the Okinawa islands. The highlight of Churaumi Aquarium is the Kuroshio Sea Tank where gigantic whale sharks elegantly swim around. Great for everyone!
Adult: 1,880 yen
High School Students: 1,250 yen
Primary and Middle school Students: 620 yen
Or ask us about our “1-Day sightseeing bus tour around Kourijima, Cape Manza & Ryukyumura with 2.5-hour visit to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium”!
As its name says, Nago Pineapple Park is the enjoyable theme park about pineapples! But it also provides the botanic gardens, the aerial path above the gardens and a dinosaur adventure section. It is worth taking time to look through the souvenir shops with its wide array of specialised pineapple products such as cakes, wine, juice, chocolates and much more!
Adult (above 16 yo): 1000 yen
Child (4-15 yo): 600 yen
Infant (0-3 yo): Free
If you are a beer lover, this is the must-visit spot for you. Orion Beer is the iconic beer of Okinawa and Orion Happy Park offers a tour of the beer factory where you can enjoy a beer tasting. The 40 min tour takes you to the beer-producing process from the raw ingredients to the tap beer! At the end of the tour, a couple of fresh beers await you! But make sure not to drive after drinking! It is a heavy penalty for drink driving in Japan.
Free (Of course drinks are not!!)
Kouri Ohashi is the bridge that crosses Yagajii Island to Kouri Island that can be accessed by car. It is a stunning spot to look out at the emerald green ocean, which is some of the clearest waters in Okinawa. Driving above the turquoise water makes your experience unforgettable.
The central area of Okinawa’s main island is the resort area, where you can enjoy plenty of water activities. The cultural aspect of this area is also interesting. The Okinawa local word “Champuru”, meaning “the mixture”, can describe this area as a whole. There are a mixture of traditional Okinawa, American and modern Japanese cultures. It is fun to see what The Central Okinawa offers!
Cape Maeda is famous for the entrance of the “Blue Cave”, which is said to be the best scuba diving and snorkelling site in Okinawa main island. The inside of Blue Cave is absolutely spectacular and literally it is clear blue water inside. If you are an ocean lover, this is the must-visit spot for you to enjoy the best of Okinawa ocean experience.
However, Diving and snorkelling can be quite dangerous in the cave due to the tidal change, waves and other weather conditions. It is always highly recommended to experience Okinawa’s unforgettable ocean with knowledgeable guides to show you the best part of the Blue Cave.
If you are interested in the amazing experience of Blue Cave in Cape Maeda, please contact us for “our blue cavern introductory diving/snorkelling” tour from Summer Resort, Onna-son”.
Ryukyu Mura is not far from Cape Maeda. They are about 2km away from each other. So, after you enjoy the ocean experience in Cape Maeda, why not explore the cultural experience of Okinawa at Ryukyu Mura?
Ryukyu Mura is a small theme park that takes you back in time to the Ryukyu Kingdom! There are different types of dance and music performances. You can also participate in the popular activity there where you can make “Guardian Lions Dog” with clay that you can take home on the day.
The park welcomes you to enjoy the authentic Okinawa life in the lost kingdom!
Admission Fee: 1,500 yen
When it comes to the evening, as the name of the place tells you, Sunset Beach in Chatan Cho is considered to be the best spot for the sunset! This westward beach is a “Town-Style Beach” that offers many restaurants and bars, BBQ facilities, shopping areas, the entertainment park called “American Village”, along with great swimming spots.
The scenery of the Sun going down to the other side of the world and a chilled drink in your hand are the best friends to finish your day with!
The green side of Okinawa is also unmissable. “Bios no Oka” gives you access to the lush green tropical rainforest of Okinawa. You can choose different ways to explore the lush green, such as a Lake cruise tour, Water Buffalo Cart, Farm Train Tour and Kayaking. The highly recommended options are taking a kayak or SUP (stand up paddleboard), as you can take the mangrove cruise adventure on your own. (*Lake cruise tour, Water Buffalo Cart, Farm Train Tour and Kayaking, SUP: additional fee applies)
If you are a family traveller, the park offers an adventure playground and encounter with animals which are popular for kids. These activities are complimentary. So, Bios no Oka is financially family-friendly as well!
The bonus of Okinawa lush green adventure is that no crocodile exists in Okinawa!!
The adventure is out there for everyone!
Adult (13 yo+) : 1000 yen
Child (Under 12 yo): 500 yen
Water Buffalo Cart
Adult (13 yo+) : 900 yen
Child (Under 12 yo): 600 yen
Farm Train Tour
Adult (13 yo+) : 600 yen
Child (Under 12 yo): 400 yen
Adult (13 yo+) : 1500 yen
Child (Under 12 yo): 800 yen
Adult (13 yo+) : 3000 yen
Child (Under 12 yo): Not Available
The southern side of Okinawa is where the capital city “Naha City” is located. From modern shopping areas to ancient ruins, this busy tropical area offers you lots of different fun activities. So many things are close by in this area, so take your time to explore there!
Shuri Castle was the centre of politics and culture of the Ryukyu Kingdom for 450 years. Sadly, the fire in October 2019 burnt and destroyed some parts of the castle. It is under re-construction to demonstrate the heart of Okinawa.
Even though major damage to the castle occurred, Shuri Castle Park remains as one of the must-see spots in Okinawa. There are plenty of things to see such as period architecture along with lush botanical gardens. Surely you will be able to feel the history of old Okinawa there.
Adult: 400 yen
High school student (14-18 yo): 300 yen
Child (6yo – 14 yo): 160 yen
In 2000, Shikinaen Park was added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Shikinaen Park was built in the late 18th century as the second residence for the kings of Ryukyu.
This garden was built to entertain envoys of the Chinese emperors so that the garden was designed like a Chinese garden. However, Shikinaen Park collaborated the taste of Okinawa with the Chinese style such as the Ryukyu traditional guest house with a red tile roof and use of Ryukyu limestone in lots of parts in the garden.
The garden will welcome you to enjoy peace of mind.
Adult (16 yo+) : 400 yen
Child (6-15 yo) : 200 yen
Makishi Public Market has been the heart of Okinawa’s food culture as there is a large variety of tropical fish that are rarely seen on the main island of Japan. Why not buy some of your favourite colourful fish from the market and bring them upstairs to get them cooked on the spot? You can eat as Sashimi or choose the style of cooking you like; such as stir-fry, deep-fry, etc.
Around Makishi Public Market is also a popular shopping arcade. There are plenty of shops and food stalls near Makishi Public Market. If you like to explore the deep local experience, this is the place to go for you!
Admission Fee: Free
“Kokusai Dori” means “International Street” in Japanese, and it goes for around 1.5km throughout the Naha CBD. You may find it little touristy, but if you are in a rush to find souvenirs, this is definitely the place for you.
There are so many shops, bars, restaurants and even nightclubs along the road. This bustling road offers so much fun to discover.
Admission Fee: Free
Naminoue-gu Shine literally means “Shrine above the waves”. As the name implies, the building of the shrine is located on a cliff above the blue ocean. Although this is the highest class of Shrine worshipped in Okinawa, it is quite tourist-friendly and provides English Instructions from how to purify yourself with water to how to pray.
Unlike other Shrines that you visit in Kyoto or Tokyo, you will feel the beautiful sea breeze and see the great scenery of the blue ocean from the shrine. If you are looking for somewhere peaceful and spiritual, drop into Naminoue-gu Shrine, and purify yourself.
Admission Fee: Free
Okinawa was one of the bloodiest battlefields in the world during World War Two. Thousands and thousands of civilians and soldiers were killed on this beautiful island back then. The hardest battles took in place in the southern part of Okinawa. Himeyuri Peace Memorial Park was established in 1983 to commemorate this frightening battle of Okinawa. Take your time to wander through the park and learn about the history and tragedy of the Okinawan people.
Adult: 310 yen
High School Student: 210 yen
Child (6-15 yo): 110 yen
Okinawa World is an Okinawa cultural theme park. But it is not a normal cultural park like others, the main attraction of Okinawa World is the massive limestone cave called “Gyokusendo”. This cave stretches for 5 km length in total and 850m of this cave is open to the public. Comfortable walking paths are set to entertain everyone. The limestone cave is also beautifully lit up.
In addition, Eisa dance in Okinawa World is also a must-watch. So, take your time to discover the limestone cave and experience the Okinawa culture!
The Valley of Gangala is only 300m away from Okinawa World, so it is a good idea to hop between the two attractions in one day.
The valley used to be a limestone cave until 100,000 years ago, and now it is a tropical rainforest. When you step into the forest, you will feel the ancient atmosphere of the forest.
This site can be only explored with their English-speaking guide. It is really worth a visit if you are a nature lover.
Ask us about our Okinawa Main Island bus passes or car hire to get you around the island to these main attractions!
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