Bright blue skies, clear oceans, unique culture, delicious local food, friendly people. These are a few of the many reasons why Okinawa is the perfect place for a summer getaway. I myself have been to Okinawa on several occasions with my friends, and those vacations were the most adventurous, inspiring, and fun.
Okinawa is located at the south of Japan. The prefecture is near the equator, and is warm all year round. It is made up of one large main island, called Honto, and many islands surrounding it. Each island is unique in its beaches, so the small islands are popular among tourists too. The main island has numerous white beaches along the coast and interesting places to visit, making it the ideal place to drive up and down.
Here are the top three places you must go to!
Shuri Castle, Shuri-jo
The Shuri Castle is a historical site, and is famous for its beautiful red design. It was the palace when Okinawa was an independent country called the Ryukyu Kingdom.
Churaumi Aquarium, Churaumi Suizokukan
This aquarium is one of the biggest aquariums in the world. The name Churaumi means clear and beautiful ocean. This aquarium has one of the largest tanks in the world, and the panel from which you can see sharks and other marine life measures 8.2 meters in height by 22.5 meters in width. Whether it is raining outside or not, this aquarium is a great place to visit.
International Avenue, Kokusai Dori
Kokusai Dori is in the city (Naha city) of Okinawa. Along a long road stands restaurants, izakaya pubs, bars, gift shops, hotels, and much more. With people constantly roaming about the avenue, it is a fun place to be during the night as well as day time.
The following are my personal favorites and places I want to go for my next trip
Blue Cave, Ao-no-Dokutsu
This is a cave which you can enter from the ocean. There are tours that offer snorkeling equipment and tour guides that will help you reach the cave and take photos for you. Inside the cave, the ocean becomes a beautiful blue (ao in Japanese), which is the origin of the name Ao-no-Dokutsu, Blue Cave.
Manzamou is an area in the Northern part of the main land. It is famous for its cliff, one of which that looks like an elephant from the side.
Nagannu Island, Nagannu-tou
I have never been to this island, however the images that I see on the internet are spectacular. You can reach this island by ferry.