Roots of Japan

Okinawa

One popular tourist destination we definitely can't leave off the list is Okinawa.
Many visit in summer to enjoy swimming or other water activities at Okinawa’s beautiful beaches.It is also a popular location for destination weddings.You might see couples taking photos against the backdrop of the beautiful ocean or catch a glimpse of a beachside ceremony.What’s more, subtropical plants and places where visitors can feel the island’s unique history all add to Okinawa’s uniqueness.
Today we are featuring Okinawa, packed with fascinating things to see and do!
Okinawa has an area of approximately 2,281 square kilometers and a population of 1.45 million.Ninety percent of the population live on the main island of Okinawa.he average temperature is 22 degrees but surprisingly few days exceed 35 degrees.Okinawa is also known for the many typhoons that pass through each year.Most rainfall occurs during the beginning of the rainy season in May and at the height of the typhoon season in August.

When talking of Okinawa, most people think of the main island, but the many remote islands of Okinawa are also a big draw for travelers.Miyakojima and Ishigaki are two of the most popular destinations.Some of the islands are also easily accessible by bridge.
Here is a list of some of the remote islands belonging to Okinawa prefecture.

1/ Ishigaki Island
2/ Miyako Island
3/ Kume Island
4/ Kouri Island
5/ Ikei Island
6/ Hamahiga Island
7/ Taketomi Island
8/ Kohama Island
9/ Hateruma Island
10/ Iriomote Island

There are many more besides the 10 islands mentioned here, in fact, the total reaches 56!
These remote islands have become popular tourist destinations.More tourists are focusing their time on these remote islands, instead of Okinawa’s main island.They are packed with things to see and do!However, the main island is also home to many attractions.Okinawa’s charm lies in being able to visit a variety of tourist locations where you can feel a uniquely Okinawan atmosphere and places where you can learn the local history. You can also feel relaxed because these places are safe to travel, even with children.
Here are some of the most popular sightseeing attractions.

1/ Churaumi Aquarium
2/ Shuri Castle
3/ Kokusaidori Street
4/ Sefa Utaki (historical sacred site)
5/ Peace Memorial Park
6/ Mihama American Village
7/ ORION HAPPY PARK
8/ Okinawa World
9/ Zampa Beach
10/ Blue Cave

As you can see, there are many attractions and activities on the main island to choose from, depending on what kind of trip you're going on.The Churaumi Aquarium is great if you are traveling with kids, or Shuri Castle for learning the local history. You can create your own perfect itinerary!Okinawa is known for being a popular destination in summer but there are also places that are great to visit on cold or rainy days, such as the Churaumi Aquarium.When water-based activities are not the main goal of your trip, Okinawa in the winter months makes for an affordable getaway.Blue Cave (10) is the place to go if you want to try diving.Visit Okinawa and enjoy trying out different water activities!

Let’s check out some other great spots to visit, even when it’s not summer.

1/ Ashibinaa Okinawa Outlet Mall
2/ Ryukyu Glass Village
3/ Okinawa World
4/ Ryukyu Mura (Ryukyu Village)
5/ Okinawa Fruits Land

All of these five places can be enjoyed outside of summer or on rainy days.
At Ryukyu Glass Village, you can even try your hand at glass making.As well as being an experience unique to Okinawa, it is a memory you can make and take home with you.It’s a perfect activity for couples or families, since even kids can give it a try.
And then of course, this is Japan, so we can’t forget about cherry blossoms.In Okinawa, it is possible to see cherry blossoms much earlier than on mainland Japan.Cherry blossom festivals are held throughout Okinawa from late January to early February.Part of Okinawa’s charm is getting a taste of spring ahead of the rest of Japan, so you might enjoy timing your visit during the cherry blossom festival season.
These cherry blossom festivals are worth checking out!

1/ Nago Cherry Blossom Festival
2/ Nakijin Castle Cherry Blossom Festival
3/ Motobu Yaedake Cherry Blossom Festival
4/ Naha Cherry Blossom Festival
5/ Yaese Cherry Blossom Festival

The Nakijin Castle Cherry Blossom Festival is held on the site of the historical Nakijin Castle ruins, in the northern part of Okinawa’s main island.It is a beautiful time of year to see this World Heritage site.The castle ruins and cherry blossoms lit up together at night create a magical scene.It would make a perfect date spot!

When visiting Okinawa, don’t forget to try out the local cuisine.Dishes are flavored with salt, dried bonito flakes, kelp and miso. So, while you might have imagined finding unique flavors, it is really no different to Japanese cuisine.What stands out is the pork broth, which is frequently used in Okinawan cuisine.Also, due to the climate, different vegetables and mushrooms are used in their cooking.
Here are some dishes we love to eat when visiting Okinawa.

1/ Okinawa Soba
2/ Yushi dofu (Unsolidified fluffy tofu)
3/ Rafute (Pork belly)
4/ Goya champuru (Bitter Melon stirfry)
5/ Shima rakkyo (Okinawa shallots)

You may be surprised to find many of these dishes sound familiar.However, as a side note, Okinawa soba isn’t actually made from buckwheat (soba) flour!So, it is a completely different dish from the Japanese soba that most people are familiar with.Give the soul food of Okinawa a try!Don’t forget to take home souvenirs so you can share the charm of Okinawa with your family and friends.
Here we have picked out some Okinawa souvenirs that are sure to make them happy.

1/ Aragaki Chinsuko (Okinawa cookies)
2/ Beniimo Tart (Tart made with purple Okinawan sweet potatoes)
3/ Sata andagi (Okinawan donuts)
4/ Sanpin Tea
5/ Umibudo (Sea grapes)
All of these are unique to Okinawa.Beniimo Tart is perfect for those who like sweet things but for someone who prefers savory snacks, Umibudo would be a good choice.

Because Okinawa has a unique culture and history, you will find sightseeing locations and food that vary greatly from mainland Japan.The sparkling blue ocean on a summer’s day may be the first image that comes to mind. But that is not all there is to Okinawa.
Visit multiple times and experience all the different attractions Okinawa has to offer!

It is my opinion and summary. Please acknowledge that there are various opinions.