Home to the world-famous sea, the Gusuku and heritage sites of the Ryukyu Kingdom
Why visit Okinawa
Okinawa is home to the world-famous sea, the Gusuku and related heritage sites of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It is also the birthplace of karate, and unique nature, history and culture are among the many charms of this green holiday destination.
Okinawa is made up of islands in a subtropical region with a rich natural environment including coral reefs, forests and a diverse range of flora and fauna. It has a unique history and culture not found elsewhere in Japan.
As the birthplace of karate it welcomes karate practitioners from all over the world.
Okinawa’s islands are surrounded by some of the most beautiful seas in the world.
Enjoy a wide variety of activities throughout the year during your green holiday in Okinawa.
Culture & Local Life
In December 2000, Shuri Castle and other related sites were placed on the World Cultural Heritage List as “Gusuku and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu“. Unfortunately, the main building of Shuri Castle was destroyed by fire in 2019, but reconstruction is currently underway and the castle is scheduled to be rebuilt by 2026.
In addition, Okinawa continues to preserve the diverse culture that can only be found here, including Ryubu dances, karate, the Eisa dance and the great tug of war.
As Okinawa is a region of islands surrounded by sea, it is reached by air.
Although Okinawa is made up of a large number of islands, the major tourist attractions can be reached by bus or monorail. You can also travel between islands by ferry. If the islands are small enough, you can enjoy them on foot or by bicycle.
Nature & Wildlife
Okinawa’s islands are located in the middle of the ocean and surrounded by coral reefs. On your green holiday you can enjoy the white sandy beaches, admire the coral reefs by snorkeling and diving and participate in whale spotting.
The lush vegetation unique to the subtropical region offers a variety of experiences such as strolling through an overgrown forest.
The Okinawa Prefecture Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Promotion Headquarters was set up in the prefecture. In November 2019 the “Okinawa Prefecture SDGs Promotion Policy” was published, in order to realize the “Okinawa 21st Century Vision”.
With regard to tourism, the prefecture promotes tourism that balances the environment, lifestyles and the economy.
Health and Safety
We have formulated the “Okinawa Tour Style With Corona”, which is an action plan for tourists to ensure their health and safety. We encourage them to take care of themselves before they come to Okinawa, to wear a mask and wash their hands thoroughly during their trip and to contact us if they feel unwell after their trip.
In addition, body temperature tests are conducted at airports and ports, and Japan’s first “Traveler’s Access Center Okinawa (TACO)” has been set up at the airport. It connects travelers who are diagnosed by the body temperature test with health centers and hospitals.
Private businesses such as hotels and restaurants have created guidelines for their respective industries and are working with the public and private sectors to prevent infection by requiring employees to wear masks and disinfect their hands.
Good Practice Story
In order to promote Okinawa, the birthplace of Karate to the world, an organization called “Karate Promotion Division” was established. “Okinawa Karate Kaikan (Hall)” was opened as a base facility to welcome karate enthusiasts from all over the world. Here, a Guinness World Record was set for a group demonstration of the Kata (style) and the first Okinawa International Karate Tournament was held.
Travel tips from our editors
Swim on the beach
You can enjoy swimming at our beaches from April to September. There are also a number of remote islands around the main island, where you can experience the clear blue sea.
Since the average temperature in January in Okinawa is 17 degrees celsius, you can comfortably visit the “Gusuku Sites of the Kingdom of Ryukyu and Related Properties”, a world cultural heritage site, in winter. There are also a number of cultural events such as Eisa, a unique Okinawan drumming dance. Look out for local pottery such as Shisa (to ward off evil spirits) and tableware.
See the traditional houses
You can visit areas where you can experience a unique atmosphere, such as traditional houses on remote islands such as Taketomi Island.
Enjoy Pinaisara Waterfall
Trekking in subtropical jungle or canoeing through a lush river of mangroves are special experiences to enjoy during your green holiday in Okinawa.
The birthplace of Karate
Okinawa is the “Birthplace of Karate”. You can experience karate at the dojo. We also provide a karate demonstration with a group once every four years. If you are a karate practitioner, why not join us?
If you want information on tourism in Okinawa, go to Visit Okinawa or contact the Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Okinawa was selected as one of the top 100 Green Destinations in Japan for the first time at the prefectural level.
Okinawa Prefecture has been active in the field of the natural environment. This time, it was chosen as one of the Top 100 Green Destinations for 2020 in the field of culture and community for its efforts to promote "the birthplace of Karate, Okinawa".