There are plenty of unique activities to do in Okinawa. Marine activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and canoeing are popular for the beach. If you can rent a bike, cycling along the road and finding new places that are not on guidebooks is a great way to spend time. Driving is the best way to move around the main land, and luckily the roads are slightly wider than roads in Tokyo. Going on road trips across Okinawa is another popular activity.

Okinawa Beach

A crystal clear beach

The main land has beaches facing the east and west, so you can watch the beautiful sunrise and sunset over the ocean. I went canoeing with my friends late in the afternoon, and we saw the sun go down from our canoes. Watching the sun dip and disappear into the horizon was phenomenal. Once the sun has gone, stars fill up the sky. If you drive up a mountain during the night, you can see the Milky Way and many shooting stars.

Sunrise in Okinawa

Morning sky across the horizon

Okinawa was an independent kingdom before Japan occupied the land. The Ryukyu Kingdom strived through trade with China and other countries before the occupation. After Japan invaded Ryukyu Kingdom, the national language became Japanese, and since then many people have moved in and out of the land. Unfortunately, many young native Okinawan people do not know the Ryukyu language any more. After the war, America occupied the land for 27 years. Currently, there are issues regarding the Military Base located in Okinawa, along with many environmental issues.

The Three Wise Monkeys

The Three Wise Monkeys

Despite Japan’s occupation of Okinawa, the culture has succeeded to remain. The distinct culture of the prefecture is another aspect that makes the land so popular among Japanese people. There are many local food, such as Okinawa soba (noodles), taro (a type of root vegetable), sata andagi (a type of donuts), and goya-chanpuru (fried bitter melon). When the land was occupied by America after the war, American food such as spam and tacos were imported to Okinawa. This created unique foods like taco-rice (taco filling laid on rice) and spam rice balls.