Whenever you ask someone about “Okinawa”, as long as the person is a Japanese, he or she will probably imagine the clear blue sea. However, the charm of Okinawa is not just the sea! Here, we will introduce to you 5 reasons why you should visit Okinawa, the hot spot for resorts.
①：Experience its unique culture
Despite being part of Japan, Okinawa is a place where its culture has very been much preserved, and this culture is completely different from that of the Honshu (Japan’s main island). The culture from the Ryukyu Kingdom in the olden days is still present today, and besides the historical heritage such as the Shuri Castle, there are also great differences in the ordinary residential houses. The Ryukyu glass, Okinawa’s traditional craft, is also very well known, and is popular for its rich hues. It certainly brings excitement to people who are bored with their monotonous everyday life!
②：The rich nature
Okinawa’s magnificent nature is one of its biggest features. It boasts an emerald blue sea which has one of the world’s clearest waters. Furthermore, it is only here where you can see mangrove swamps unique to tropical regions. It is not just the sea but the intact natural attractions, such as the limestone caves and waterfalls, that are one of the charms of Okinawa. Other than the plants, the uniqueness of its animal and insect ecosystem has also been preserved, and it might be a good idea to go on a trip to observe this ecosystem.
③：The rich multi-national culture
There is a US military base in Okinawa, and because of that, the surrounding streets are filled with people from different countries, especially the American Village where the American culture is concentrated in. It makes you feel as though you are not in Japan. However, the military base is currently a very sensitive issue, so if you are planning to stop by for a visit, it would be best not to do any unnecessary act.
④：Learn about history
Okinawa is a place where fierce land battles broke out in the past. It was not just the soldiers who sacrificed their lives. Many civilians also died in the battles, and the number of deaths was more than 200,000. There are many monuments and places in Okinawa, such as the Himeyuri Tower and Peace Museum, to remind people of how gruesome wars are. Tourists who are traveling on their own do not usually visit these places, but it is only in such places where you can read precious information about the war and hear from those who experienced it, so it might be a good idea to include it in your travel plan.
⑤：There are many offshore islands
Besides the main island, having numerous offshore islands is also one of the charms of Okinawa. The well-known ones among all are the Ishigaki island, Miyako island and the Yonaguni island. However, the smaller islands such as the Irabu island and Tokashiki island have been quite popular recently. There are probably people who think that anywhere offshore would be the same, but these islands each have completely different sceneries. Depending on the place recommended, the specialties (and so on) are also not the same. Please be sure to go island hopping on these offshore islands!
The local food is also an attraction. You can taste food such as taco rice (taco-flavored ground beef served on rice and lettuce), soki soba (stewed pork spare ribs noodles) and rare seafood that are only distributed in Okinawa. It is a valuable experience so quickly try them all!
Due to the military base issue that Okinawa is facing right now, it may be seen as a dangerous place if you read the news. However, this is certainly not true. There may be times when demonstrations happen, but you can rest assured that these demonstrations are not likely to develop into riots. Nevertheless, it is a taboo to be impolite to the locals by making fun of them and so on, so we sincerely ask that you take note of that.
This post is also available in: Japanese