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Okinawa Prefecture
 
 Upcoming Events April
4/14 Ryukyu Kaiensai 2007 <HANABI ILLUSION>
Ryukyu Kaiensai is known as the earliest summer fireworks festival in Japan starting in 2004, and presents a magnificent collaboration of Okinawa’s rich nature, culture and fireworks. The art of fireworks become even more spectacular year...
 
 
Sakura Spots January - February

■Yaedake | Motobu Town
Gorgeous Kanhizakura trees spread out to the top on the mountainside of 453-meter-high Yaedake, located in the center of Motobu Peninsula. The contrast between dark pink and thick green of the wild woods is truly impressive. The peak area of the mountain is designated as natural preservation zone, and you can see flora and fauna unique to Okinawa.

■Nagojo Park | Nago City
The park is known to be the best and most popular place in Okinawa for cherry blossoms. It is placed around the ruins site of Okinawa Castle, looking out over East China Sea. There are 20,000 Higanzakura cherry trees beautifully lining up on both sides of the path leading up to the peak. The earliest Sakura Festival in Japan is held every year on the last weekend of January. You can also see wild subtropical flora and fauna in Okinawa.

 
 
Prefectural Guide
 


Naha/ Nambu (Southern Okinawa)

Having the airport, Naha City serves as the central city of the prefecture consisted of dozens of small islands.

If you head to the public market you can try a range of excellent dishes especially Okinawa food, which has a different twist from other dishes in Japan.

To get some souvenirs, go to the International Street (Kokusai-dori) where you can get pretty much everything from Okinawa.

The solemn appearance of the World Heritage Shuri Castle invites visitors to the ancient ages of Ryukyu Kingdom. (Okinawa used to be an independent kingdom called Ryukyu. Shuri Castle was the royal palace then.)

Also, the Nambu area is the only place in Japan where a ground battle had been opened, and there are several condolatory institutions such as the peace memorial park here and there in the city.

 

Koza, Chatan/ Chubu (Central Okinawa)
Due to the placements of the American base camps, the central area of Okinawa such as Koza and Chatan is somewhat Americanized, and the mixture of American culture and traditional Okinawa culture creates an atmosphere unique to this area.

Another World Heritage Nakagusuku Castle is located here. The walls of moss-grown huge rocks sitting silently may give you a sense of awe.

If you stretch your journey out towards the north, you will reach the beach resort area where a number of large resort hotels stand side by side facing the beautiful ocean.
There are also golf courses and other leisure facilities by the water, which allows you to have a fascinating and relaxing time at this resort.
 



Nago/ Hokubu
(Northern Okinawa)

In the northern parts of the prefecture where Manzamou, a place of astonishing scenic beauty is located, a wild jungle called “Yambaru” spreads out and the area as a whole is very rich in human-untouched nature.

At the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, there is a huge water tank of whale sharks larger than 6-meters-long, and at the Tropical & Subtropical Urban Green Botanical Garden situated in the same park you can see dozens of glorious flowers and green of Okinawa.

There are a number of renowned stores of Okinawa noodles around, and because those stores are scattered you can have an adventure of looking for the best stores as you explore the area.

Cape Hedomisaki located northernmost of mainland Okinawa is known to be a spot of excellent view, where you can see as far as Yoronto Island of Kagoshima prefecture on clear days.

 


Kerama Islands

The most beautiful ocean of Japan and “nothingness” lie here in the islands of Kerama.

Kerama Islands is consisted of several small islands, and every single one of them is surrounded by rich coral reef which makes the view absolutely stunning.

There are many diving spots around the islands, and divers come to appreciate the clear water, blue sky and coral reef throughout the year.
You can also swim with huge sea turtles and gigantic rays called manta, and in winter you can enjoy whale watching when the migratory whales come around.

Those who wish to experience the wonderfulness of “nothingness,” Kerama Islands is the place to go.
 


Yaeyama Islands

It may be rather hard to call these islands as part of Japan. As its name tells, Yaeyama Islands is a group of eight islands locating far south of mainland Okinawa.

The climatic and natural conditions in islands such as Iriomotejima, where there is a vast wild jungle and a mangrove forest, are so different from those of mainland Japan that it almost feels as though you’re in a different country.

In Ishigakijima, the most populated island among Yaeyama, there are many resort hotels, Okinawa style inns, souvenir shops and restaurants, and the resort attracts a number of tourists.

Okinawa traditional style residences with red roof tiles form villages in Kohamajima and Taketomijima, and the scene of oxcarts slowly and quietly going through the unpaved roads between the houses is very calming.
 
Annual Events
Shuri Flower Festival | 10,000 Eisa | Okinawa All Islands Eisa

 
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