Okinawa Prefecture is a group of islands located in the southernmost part of Japan. Despite being a part of Japan, Okinawa has a unique culture, history, and language that distinguish it from the rest of the country. From beautiful beaches to rich cultural attractions, Okinawa offers visitors a wealth of experiences that are different from what you would find in other parts of Japan. In this article, we will explore the top 10 most commonly asked questions about Okinawa and provide in-depth answers to help you plan your trip to this fascinating part of Japan.
What is Okinawa famous for?
Okinawa is known for its rich culture, beautiful beaches, and unique cuisine. The prefecture is located in the southern part of Japan and is made up of several islands, including the main island of Okinawa and smaller islands like Ishigaki and Miyako. Some of the things that Okinawa is famous for include:
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a symbol of Okinawan culture and history. It was the residence of the Ryukyu Kingdom’s royal family and served as a center of politics and culture.
This is one of the largest aquariums in the world and is located in Okinawa’s Motobu town. Visitors can see a wide variety of marine life, including whale sharks and manta rays.
Okinawa has some of the best beaches in Japan, with crystal-clear waters and white sand. Popular beaches include Emerald Beach, Manza Beach, and Sunset Beach.
Okinawan cuisine is a unique blend of Japanese, Chinese, and Southeast Asian flavors. Some popular dishes include Okinawa soba, goya champuru (stir-fry with bitter melon), and sata andagi (Okinawan-style doughnuts).
What is the best time to visit Okinawa?
The best time to visit Okinawa is from April to June or from September to November. During these months, the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller than in the peak summer season. The summer months from July to August can be hot and humid, with occasional typhoons. Winter, from December to March, is also a good time to visit, as the weather is mild, and there are fewer tourists.
Is Okinawa safe for tourists?
Yes, Okinawa is generally safe for tourists. The crime rate in Okinawa is relatively low compared to other parts of Japan. However, as with any travel destination, it is important to take common-sense precautions such as being aware of your surroundings and not leaving valuables unattended.
What are the best things to do in Okinawa?
There are many things to do in Okinawa, from exploring historical sites to relaxing on the beach. Here are some popular activities:
- Visit Shurijo Castle: This castle is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in Okinawan culture and history.
- Explore the Churaumi Aquarium: This is one of the largest aquariums in the world and is home to a wide variety of marine life.
- Go to the beach: Okinawa has some of the best beaches in Japan, with crystal-clear waters and white sand.
- Try Okinawan cuisine: Okinawan food is unique and delicious. Some popular dishes include Okinawa soba, goya champuru, and sata andagi.
- Take a day trip to one of the smaller islands: Okinawa is made up of several islands, each with its own unique charm.
How do I get to Okinawa?
Okinawa is easily accessible by air. There are two major airports in Okinawa: Naha Airport on the main island and Ishigaki Airport on Ishigaki Island. Both airports have regular flights from major cities in Japan, as well as from other countries in Asia. There are also ferries that connect Okinawa to other parts of Japan, but these can be more time-consuming.
What language do they speak in Okinawa?
The main language spoken in Okinawa is Japanese. However, the Okinawan language, which is also known as Uchinaaguchi, is still spoken by some residents, particularly the older generation. It is a distinct language that has been heavily influenced by Chinese and Southeast Asian languages. Okinawan culture and history are also unique and differ from that of mainland Japan.
What is the climate like in Okinawa?
Okinawa has a subtropical climate, which means that it is warm and humid throughout the year. The average temperature in Okinawa is around 25°C (77°F), with the hottest months being July and August. The rainy season in Okinawa is from May to June, and typhoon season is from June to November. The best time to visit Okinawa in terms of weather is from April to June or from September to November, as the weather is mild, and there are fewer crowds.
What is the food like in Okinawa?
Okinawan cuisine is unique and flavorful. It is a blend of Japanese, Chinese, and Southeast Asian flavors. Some popular dishes include:
- Okinawa soba: This is a type of noodle soup that is made with wheat noodles and a broth that is flavored with pork, fish, or seaweed.
- Goya champuru: This is a stir-fry dish that is made with bitter melon, tofu, and pork or Spam.
- Sata andagi: These are Okinawan-style doughnuts that are made with flour, sugar, and eggs.
- Rafute: This is a pork belly dish that is slow-cooked in a sweet and savory sauce.
What are the top beaches in Okinawa?
Okinawa is known for its beautiful beaches, and there are many to choose from. Here are some of the top beaches in Okinawa:
- Emerald Beach: This beach is located in Okinawa’s Motobu town and is known for its crystal-clear waters and white sand.
- Manza Beach: This is another beautiful beach located in Onna village. It is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving.
- Sunset Beach: This beach is located in Chatan town and is known for its beautiful sunsets.
- Nishihama Beach: This is a secluded beach located on Hateruma Island. It is known for its pristine white sand and turquoise waters.
What are the cultural attractions in Okinawa?
Okinawa has a rich culture and history that is distinct from that of mainland Japan. Some of the cultural attractions in Okinawa include:
- Shurijo Castle: This castle was the residence of the Ryukyu Kingdom’s royal family and is a symbol of Okinawan culture and history.
- Ryukyu Village: This is a cultural theme park where visitors can learn about Okinawan culture and traditions.
- Okinawa Prefectural Museum: This museum is located in Naha and is dedicated to preserving and promoting Okinawan culture and history.
- Tamaudun Royal Mausoleum: This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains the tombs of the Ryukyu Kingdom’s royal family.
Okinawa Prefecture has a lot to offer visitors, from its rich culture and history to its beautiful beaches and unique cuisine. Whether you’re interested in exploring historical sites or just relaxing on the beach, Okinawa is a great travel destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.