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Region
Kyushu
Island
Ryukyu Islands
Largest City
Naha
Population
1,318,281

Okinawa

Japan's tropical island paradise

White sand beaches and crystal blue waters, jungles and rare wildcats, centuries of unique native traditions, the birthplace of karate - this is Japan’s very own tropical island paradise.

Made up of several islands stretching from the southern tip of Kyushu towards Taiwan, Okinawa prefecture offers a remote yet accessible getaway that deserves Bora Bora-levels of holiday brochure stardom. It has some of the world’s best scuba diving, gorgeous hiking, acclaimed music and a distinct food culture centered around medicinal ingredients that sustains Japan’s longest-living citizens.

"Naha City. Traditional dance performers make their way down "Kokusai St." (International St.) during a local festival."

Okinawa has its own unique history and culture that is different from mainland Japan.

Okinawan people see themselves as distinct from the rest of Japan, and are known for their warmth and expressiveness. The vibe is laidback and friendly, and islands see record numbers of mainland Japanese visit every year for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

There are three major island groups: the main Okinawa Islands, the Miyako Islands and the Yaeyama Islands. Most visitors will arrive to Okinawa via Naha, the prefectural capital, which mainly functions as a transport hub and home away from home for the nearby U.S marine bases. The popular Kerama Islands are easily accessible as a day trip from Naha.

A scuba diver exploring the coral in Okinawa

Experience world-class scuba diving on Miyako-jima.

To access the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands you’ll need to fly but the extra journey out is worth the effort. The Miyako Islands, about 300 kilometers south of Okinawa main island, boast many of Japan’s best beaches, including Maehama, while Yaeyama’s incredible coral reefs are home to manta rays, hammerhead sharks and underwater ruins which make for some of the world’s best snorkeling and scuba diving.

Places to visit

Pedestrians and traffic on International Street. The street is the main thoroughfare and entertainment district of the city.

Kokusai Dori (International Street)

Get your eat/shop/drink on.

A guardian shisa lion dog, on the roof of an Okinawan home.

Tsuboya Pottery Street

The 330-year-old center and symbol of Okinawan pottery.


The Shuri Castle in Okinawa, Japan was a capital of Ryukyu kingdom.

Shuri Castle

The castle of dragons.

Umikaji Terrace

Naha’s own version of Santorini.


Ryugujo Butterfly Garden

What does one wear on a date with a butterfly!? Red. Red and lots of perfume...

Kuroshima

The "heart" of Okinawa.


Nago Pineapple Park

Okinawa: Island of sun, brilliant beaches and… all-you-can-eat pineapples!

American Village

A slice of the States in the heart of Okinawa.

Other Destinations in Kyushu

Dazaifu shrine in Fukuoka prefecture

Fukuoka

Fukuoka prefecture isn't just about partying - but it's a good place to start.

Kagoshima, Japan with Sakurajima Volcano.

Kagoshima

Traditional, tropical; mystical, magical, Kagoshima is nothing short of extraordinary.

Mountain Pass in Kumamoto Prefecture

Kumamoto

Between the smoking crater of Mount Aso in the east and the isolated islands of Amakusa in the west, Kumamoto has plenty to keep you enthralled.

Takachiho gorge in Miyazaki Prefecture

Miyazaki

Miyazaki is a mountainous and mango-growing prefecture to rival Okinawa in the tropical paradise stakes.

View over Mount Unzen Hot Spring - Shimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture Japan

Nagasaki

Looking out to the East, Nagasaki prefecture has long been the gateway between the outside world and Japan.

Beppu, in Oita prefecture, Japan's onsen town

Oita

Bathe in hell (in a good way) in onsen-filled Oita.

Rice fields looking out to sea in Saga Prefecture, Japan

Saga

Saga is the smallest prefecture on the island of Kyushu best known for its prized, and pricey, pottery.