The islands of Okinawa are a wonderful tropical island destination in Asia that can be a delightful place for a vacation. Both international travelers and residents of mainland Japan enjoy the island wonders that Okinawa has to offer on a daily basis. Hopefully this guide can help you get started planning a tropical trip to the islands of Okinawa in southern Japan.
There are various ways of getting to Okinawa and some international airlines fly directly to the islands. Most international tourists visiting Okinawa will likely be arriving from the mainland of Japan. There are flights from Narita and Haneda airports in Tokyo on various domestic carriers. The airline known as Skymark is known for having particularly good rates. In Japan it is generally best to book flights well in advance for better savings. Booking a month in advance or more is likely advisable. There are also airlines providing flights from the Japanese city of Osaka to Okinawa. Additionally, there are ferries that run from the mainland of Japan, but they are generally considered to cost around the same as a flight or even more.
The main island of many is also actually called Okinawa Island and is home to the capital city of the prefecture, which is known as Naha. The city of Naha provides many accommodation and nightlife choices for visitors and also features plenty of restaurant options for enjoying some Okinawan cuisine. There is monorail in the city that was opened relatively recently and it provides tourists with convenient transportation from the airport to the center of Naha. The monorail also goes to a historical castle of the Ryukyu kingdom, which was the government of Okinawa prior to its annexation by the government of Japan. It is called Shuri castle and was actually rebuilt as a historical and touristic landmark in the latter half of the 20th century.
The islands of Okinawa stretch from the south of Japan to the north of Taiwan, so there are many islands to see. The second largest island is known as Iriomote. Compared to the island of Okinawa, Iriomote has a relatively tiny human population of only around 2000. Approximately 90% of the island is nature and a good portion of that is part of Iriomote National Park. If you are a lover of nature and eco-tourism sounds good to you, then Iriomote is likely a wonderful choice for an enjoyable Okinawa destination. There are amazing waterfalls and pristine coastline, as well as a vast jungle to enjoy. Even though the island is relatively large, it does not have an airport. Travel by ferry from nearby Ishigaki Island is a good choice.
Ishigaki Island is actually a decent choice for those who may be looking for a balance between the relatively inhabited Okinawa and the practically uninhabited Iriomote. The island is famous for its giant manta rays and scuba diving to respectfully appreciate the amazing manta ray is a wonderful activity to enjoy during a stay on Ishigaki. The beaches of the northern coast of Ishigaki are popular for tourists too.
Enjoy the many wonderful treasures you find on the islands of Okinawa.