Resort

Japan,
Okinawa

Introduction

Just under three hours in the air from Tokyo, a chain of subtropical islands known as Okinawa lives at its own pace. Japan's most southerly region is home to unspoilt coral reefs and sandy beaches as well as a unique food and drink scene. However, what really sets it apart is its smiley, laid-back inhabitants.

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Essentials

  1. Bicycle rental is available at almost every hotel.
  2. Explore. Jump on a boat or plane and hop among the 150 islands scattered across a 560km expanse of sea.
  3. Eat a pineapple. Okinawa is home to hundreds of farms dedicated to the art of producing the perfect pineapple.
  4. Become a black belt. The islands are the birthplace of ‘te’, a traditional martial art that evolved into karate.
  5. Dip beneath the surface. Parrotfish, barracudas and mantarays can be found in its clear blue waters, not to mention the odd Second World War shipwreck.

Two-hour tour

  • Naha City Tourism Association — Naha machi ma-i offers over two dozen guided tours of up to four-and-a-half hours for ¥1,000 (€7). Subjects include the city's unique pottery scene, history and local markets and foods. (English guide availability has to be confirmed in advance.)

    2-17-12-501 Makishi, Naha City

    +81 98 860 5780

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Hotels

  • Independent and easy

    Minshuku Izumiya

    377 Taketomi, Taketomi-cho, Yaeyama-gun

    +81 (0)980 852 250

  • Dependable chain

    ANA Intercontinental

    354-1 Maesato, Ishigaki City

    +81 (0)980 887 111

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  • Premium

    The Ritz-Carlton Okinawa

    1343-1 Kise, Nago City

    +81 (0)980 435 555

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Dining

  • Premium breakfast

    Okinawa Daiichi Hotel

    1-1-12 Makishi, Naha City

    +81 (0)988 673 116

  • Healthy organic lunch

    Ploughman’s Lunch Bakery

    927-2 Adaniya, Kitanakagusuku-son, Nakagami-gun

    +81 (0)989 799 097

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  • Lunch with a sea view

    Café Curcuma

    1190 Chinenchinen, Nanjo City

    +81 (0)989 491 189

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  • Local food

    Sumanumee

    40-1 Kokuba, Naha City

    +81 (0)988 347 428

  • Awamori bar

    Tsukinohama

    101-1 Maeganeku, Onnason, Kunigami gun

    +81 (0)989 825 301

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  • Big dinner with friends

    Akatafu

    1-37 Shuriakata-cho, Naha City

    +81 (0)988 845 543

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  • Late bite

    Kijimunaa

    2F, 2-3-1 Tomari, Naha City

    +81 (0)988 615 383

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  • Local food

    King Tacos

    4244-4 Kin, Kin-cho, Kunigami-gun

    +81 (0)90 1947 1684

  • Late drinks

    Bekkan Celluloid

    2F, 3-8-25 Makishi, Naha City

    +81 (0)988 624 969

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  • Afternoon ice cream

    Blue Seal Ice Cream

    5-5-6 Makiminato, Urasoe City

    +81 (0)988 778 258

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  • Craft bakery

    Suien

    367 Zakimi, Yomitanson, Nakagami gun

    +81 (0)989 583 239

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Reading

  • Books and magazines

    Tsutaya

    4-2-8 Omoromachi, Naha City

    +81 (0)988 601 316

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Shopping

  • Lost luggage - where to buy shirts

    Ryubo Department Store

    1-1-1 Kumoji, Naha City

    +81 (0)988 671 171

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  • Something you can't get anywhere else

    Omiyage souvenirs — Wander beneath an old-fashioned shopping arcade in the main market on Ishigaki, one of the Yaeyama islands, for tropical omiyage souvenirs ranging from sugared fruits, sea salt and shells to herb teas, pearls and traditional island textiles.

  • Something for someone you love

    Traditional ceramics from D&Department Okinawa

    2-39-8 Aragusuku, Ginowan City

    +81 (0)988 942 112

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  • Something for yourself

    Traditional "bingata" textiles - and try coral dying some fabrics yourself - at Shuri-Ryusen

    1-54 Shuriyamakawa-cho, Naha City

    +81 (0)988 861 131

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Transport

  • The Churashima ticket — Japan Transocean Air and its subsidiary, Ryukyu Air Commuter, operate flights between islands from Naha and Ishigaki. Alternatively, charter a plane or helicopter. Ferries run regularly Ishigaki to other remote islands such as Taketomi island.

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Limousine/car

  • Car Rental

    ToCoo! — Cars can be collected at several locations in Okinawa, including Naha Airport.

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Fitness

  • Karate

    Okinawan Prefectural Budokan — Head to the Okinawan Prefectural Budokan, three floors of martial arts training rooms set in a park that are open to visitors.

    Ounoyama Koen, 52 Ounoyama-cho, Naha City

    +81 (0)988 582 700

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