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【Okinawa】 A Must-See! 10 Sightseeing Spots in Okinawa Area

【Okinawa】 A Must-See! 10 Sightseeing Spots in Okinawa Area

2021-12-02 Management office

I want to go on a trip and feel like I'm in a tropical country! Have you ever thought about that? Hawaii and Guam are great places to visit, but there is one place in Japan where you can experience such a tropical atmosphere: Okinawa Prefecture. Located in the southernmost prefecture of Japan, Okinawa enjoys a mild climate throughout the year with an average annual temperature of about 23 degrees Celsius. 160 islands make up Okinawa Prefecture, and each island has its own unique characteristics, making it a popular destination for tourists. This article will introduce 10 popular tourist destinations on Okinawa Island (Honto), the largest island in Okinawa Prefecture. We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do, whether you are a beginner or a repeat visitor.

Shuri Castle Park (Naha City)



Shuri Castle, with its distinctive red exterior, was the centerpiece of the Ryukyu Kingdom that flourished for 450 years. In December 2000, the castle was recognized as a World Heritage Site as "Gusuku and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu". However, the main shrine was destroyed by fire in 2019, and reconstruction work is underway as of October 2021.

<Facility Information>
Name: Shuri Castle Park
Address: 1-2 Shuri Kinjo-machi, Naha City
Telephone number: 098-886-2020
Business hours:Free admission area: 8:30-18:00, Fee-based admission area: 9:00-17:30
Closed: Closed on weekends and holidays
Budget: 1000 yen
Non-smoking/smoking:No smoking
Space/facilities: Restrooms available

Naha Kokusai-dori Shopping Street (Naha City)



It is no exaggeration to say that Kokusai-dori is the most prosperous main street in Okinawa. The 1.6-kilometer-long street is lined with about 600 stores, both large and small. If this is your first visit to Okinawa, we recommend that you book accommodation in this area and use it as a starting point for your sightseeing tour.
The Yui Rail, which runs through the city, is conveniently located near Kencho-mae Station, Makishi Station, and Miebashi Station, making it easy for tourists who do not have a driver's license to get around.

<Facility Information>
Facility name: Naha Kokusai-dori Shopping Street
Address: 3-2 Makishi, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture
Telephone number: 098-863-2755
Hours of operation: Open daily

Saihano Utaki (Nanjo City)



Saihano Utaki, located on Chinen Peninsula, is believed to have been a Utaki during the reign of King Shojin of the Ryukyu Kingdom in the 15th to 16th centuries. Saiba means "highest" and Utaki means "sanctuary or space," making Saihano Utaki the highest sanctuary in the Ryukyu Kingdom.
Now in the 21st century, it is designated as a World Cultural Heritage site, and the atmosphere of that time remains intact, creating a mysterious space where visitors can feel the cool air on their skin.
As a precaution when visiting Saihano Utaki, please wear comfortable walking shoes, such as sneakers, as the site has steep stairs and an uphill slope. For this reason, it is not wheelchair-accessible.

<Facility Information>
Facility Name: Saihano Utaki
Address: 539 Kuteken, Chinen, Nanjo City
Telephone number:098-863-2755
Business hours: March-October 9:00-18:00 (last admission 17:30), November-February 9:00-17:30 (last admission 17:00)
Closed: Open every day
Budget: 1000 yen
Non-smoking/smoking:No smoking

Himeyuri Pagoda and Himeyuri Peace Memorial Museum (Itoman City)



Himeyuri Pagoda was built in 1946 by Okinawa Prefecture to repose the souls of students who died in the Okinawa War of 1945 at the end of World War II. The Himeyuri Peace Museum was built adjacent to the Himeyuri Pagoda in 1989 to convey the history of the war to future generations.
The museum will be renovated in 2021, and the exhibits will be replaced, so even those who have visited in the past will be able to see new exhibits and other materials.

<Facility Information>
Name: Himeyuri Pagoda and Himeyuri Peace Memorial Museum
(Himeyuri Tower and Himeyuri Peace Memorial Museum)
Address: 671-1 Ibarra, Itoman City
Telephone number: 098-997-2100
Business hours: 9:00-17:25 Admission at 17:00
Closed: Open every day
Budget: 1000 yen
Non-smoking/smoking:No smoking
Space/facilities: Restrooms available

Okinawa World (Nanjo City)



It is no exaggeration to say that Okinawa World is a condensed version of Okinawa tourism. Visitors can experience everything related to Okinawa, including cultural experiences and food. You can see the traditional Okinawan dance "Eisa" and the "Hub and Mongoose" show.
The most recommended spot is "Gyokusen-do Cave" in the park. Of the approximately 5,000 meters long limestone caves, 890 meters are open to the public. The stalactites, which took thousands of years to form, and the mysterious river that flows through the caves are just a few of the highlights of the site. Although Okinawa is hot all year round, the temperature inside the caves is stable throughout the year, averaging around 21 degrees Celsius, making it a great place to escape the heat in the summer.

<Facility Information>
Name: Okinawa World
Address: 1336 Maegawa, Tamaki, Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture
Telephone number: 098-949-7421
Business hours: 9:00-17:30 (last admission at 16:00)
Closed: Regular holiday
Budget: From 1000 yen
Non-Smoking/Smoking: No smoking

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Motobu-cho)



One of Okinawa's representative tourist attractions is the Churaumi Aquarium, which has a super-sized tank measuring 22.5 meters in width and 8.2 meters in height. The super-sized tank is home to an 8.8-meter-long whale shark, which can be observed up close as it moves freely throughout the tank. Whale sharks have been kept in this tank since March 1995, and as of October 2021, it still holds the record for the world's longest whale shark breeding.
In addition to whale sharks, the aquarium also exhibits the beautiful coral reefs of Okinawa that live in the vicinity of the aquarium, as well as a wide variety of marine life, including deep-sea creatures.
Although it is a little far from Naha City (1 hour and 40 minutes by expressway), it is definitely worth a visit.

<Facility Information>
Name: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Address: 424 Ishikawa, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun
Telephone number: 098-949-7421
Hours: Regular season (October-February) 8:30-18:30 (last admission at 17:30), Summer season (March-September) 8:30-20:00 (last admission at 19:00)
Closed: The first Wednesday in December and the following day (Thursday)
Budget: From 1000 yen
Non-Smoking/Smoking: No smoking

Nago Pineapple Park (Nago City)



As the name suggests, Nago Pineapple Park is a pineapple-themed facility where visitors can experience everything from the process of growing pineapples to actually tasting them.
Visitors can ride on an electric cart, the "Pineapple-go," while strolling around the park. Pineapples are cultivated on both sides of the road, and visitors can also observe plants unique to the tropics. After the stroll is over, you can enjoy pineapples with your taste buds as well. There is also a restaurant area where you can enjoy pineapple pizzas and sweets. Especially recommended is the Big Pineapple Parfait, which stands 37 centimeters tall. Not only is it a hearty pineapple parfait, but it is also an Instagram-worthy dish.

Name: Nago Pineapple Park
Address: 1195 Tamemata, Nago City
Telephone number: 0980-53-3659
Business hours: 9:00-18:00 (last admission at 17:30)
Closed: Open every day
Budget: From 1000 yen
Non-smoking/smoking:No smoking

Ryukyu Glass Village (Itoman City)



Ryukyu Glass is a glass craft made by reusing empty cola bottles discarded at U.S. military bases during the period of shortage after the end of the Pacific War. Visitors can actually experience making such Ryukyu glass with their own hands at the Ryukyu Glass Village. Our recommendation is the "glass blowing experience," which takes about 60 minutes. With the help of a craftsman, you can put hot glass on the end of a blow pole and blow air into the glass to make a glass or other shape. Please try to make your own original glassware as a souvenir of your trip to Okinawa.
There is also an outlet store where you can purchase Ryukyu glass at reasonable prices, so this is also a must-see spot. Some items are in limited quantities, so if you are in doubt, be sure to make a purchase.


<Facility Information>
Name: Ryukyu Glass Village
Address: 169 Fukuchi, Itoman City
Telephone number: 0980-53-3659
Business hours: 9:00-18:00, factory tours until 17:30 *Museum open 10:00-17:00 
Restaurant: 11:00-17:00 (last order 16:00)
Closed:Open all year round
Budget: From 1000 yen
Non-smoking/smoking:No smoking

Biosu Hill (Uruma City)

A recommended sightseeing spot for families is Bios Hill, where you can feel the nature of Okinawa with your body. The facility is full of experiences that children will enjoy, such as canoeing, sipping, and athletic facilities. Visitors can also enjoy a ride on a traditional Okinawan water buffalo cart and a lake boat ride on the park's lake. The lake boat tour offers guided tours of subtropical plants and small animals, allowing visitors to interact with creatures that are not usually seen in other areas of the park. The park is also equipped with a restaurant where you can enjoy Okinawa's specialty, Okinawa soba and taco rice. The park is not only a place to have fun, but also a place where children can learn about nature, making it a good place for children to do research during their summer or winter vacation.

<Facility Information>
Name: Biosu Hill
Address: 961-30, Ishikawa Kadekari, Uruma City, Okinawa Prefecture
Telephone number: 098-965-3400
Business hours:9:00-17:00, last admission at 15:30
Closed: See official website
Budget: 2000 yen and up
Non-Smoking/Smoking: Smoking is not allowed in the restaurant.

Mihama Town Resort American Village (Chatan Town)



Mihama American Village is a large-scale commercial facility consisting of five areas, and has become a popular place for shopping and other activities not only for tourists but also for locals.
A brief description of the areas is as follows: Carnival Park Mihama has a large Ferris wheel, which is especially recommended for couples traveling together, as it offers a panoramic view of the Okinawan night landscape at night. American Depot also has many stores selling imported goods, allowing visitors to enjoy an American atmosphere while in Okinawa.
The American Depot is also home to Blue Seal, Okinawa's representative ice cream maker, and Island Terrace, where you can enjoy authentic American steaks, making it a spot where you can have fun all day long.

<Facility Information>
Facility Name: Mihama Town Resort American Village
(Mihama Town Resort American Village)
Address: Mihama, Chatan Town, Nakagami County
Telephone number
Hours of operation: Open daily
Regular holiday: Closed
Budget: From 1,000 yen
Non-smoking/smoking:No smoking
Space & Facilities:: 1,000 yen

Conclusion

How was everyone? We have introduced 10 recommended sightseeing spots in Okinawa Prefecture. Okinawa is not only a tropical resort, but also a sightseeing spot where visitors of all ages can enjoy learning about the history of war and experiencing the culture. There is no train service on the island, except for the monorail in the city. On the other hand, since sightseeing spots are scattered throughout the island, we recommend the use of a rental car for efficient sightseeing. Many major travel agencies offer plans that include a rental car, so please be sure to check them out.

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