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

Naha

Fly south to Okinawa’s sun-kissed capital for the perfect vacation.

Naha, host to an international airport, is year-round fun in Japan’s southernmost island prefecture of Okinawa. The capital city offers a fresh experience for those looking to get away from the main island for some sunshine, sightseeing, shopping and a culture that’s markedly different from anywhere else in Japan.

Wandering along this popular shopping strip is an adventure as it’s packed with quirky souvenir shops, funky street vendors, and a slew of neighborhood joints to drink, dine, and unwind.

Naha is packed with quirky souvenir shops, funky street vendors, and a slew of neighborhood joints to drink, dine and unwind.

Home to the famous Kokusai Dori (International Street) that’s full of shopping and nightlife, Naha boasts countless other places to visit along its convenient monorail line. Here are just a few.

Shurijo Castle

Okinawa, formerly ruled by the Ryukyu dynasty, was centered around Shurijo Castle. Pulling architectural traditions from both Japan and China, it stands as a colorful and expansive landmark of Ryukyuan culture and history, even following the annexation of Okinawa as a Japanese prefecture.

Shuri Castle is a short taxi ride away from city center.

Destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa, the castle and surrounding gardens have since been restored and reopened to the public within the last few decades. Many Okinawan cultural events are held there throughout the year and are posted on their website. The castle grounds also offer a stamp tour with prizes for collecting a certain number of stamps, a treat for the completionists out there.

Port of Naha

At the center of the city cuts the Kokuba River which flows into Naha Port. Footbridges drape across the glistening waters, while parks and stylish buildings run along its banks. Be sure to stop at Tsubogawa station for some scenery and stop at a cafe or two. While in the area, don’t forget to check out the striking Tsuboya Pottery Street to see some local craftsmanship.

Photo by: Alex Rickert Try “sea grapes” a local food favorite while in Naha.

Naminoue Shrine

Naha is replete with temples and shrines, but Naminoue (literally “atop the waves”) is among the most beautiful. Facing out into the Port of Naha, the shrine offers protection and beauty to the sailors and fishermen who have glided along its waters for centuries. Like the castle, and many other Naha landmarks for that matter, the original shrine was destroyed during the war and was later reconstructed.

Landscape of Naminoue Shrine.

Next to the shrine is a small beach area, perfect for a sandy stroll and soaking your feet. The shrine hosts all of the usual Shinto events, but visiting during a Shinto holiday like New Years guarantees food stalls and a festival-like atmosphere before you say your prayers. You can find more information about the shrine, as well as other shrines in the area, here.

Anyone who has ever been to Naha knows just how pleasant a stay it is. Filled with more relaxed sights and sounds, Naha is your first stop to discovering Okinawan people and culture.

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How To Get There

Address

1 Chome-3-55 Sobe, Naha-shi, Okinawa-ken 900-0023, Japan

By train

 

Shurijo Castle: Take the monorail to the end of the line (Shuri Station) and head east. There are also signs that direct you to the castle.

Port of Naha: Sights of the port are most conveniently accessed from Tsubogawa Station.

Naminoue Shrine: The shrine is about 15 minutes northwest of Kencho-mae Station on foot. (The shrine is just off of highway 58 in west Naha.)

 

Where To Stay

La Passione
  • Higawa 1-13-38 Naha-Shi, Okinawa 900-0022
  • 9.1/10
  • 0.1 km
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Mr. Kinjo in Matsuo
  • Matsuo 1-17-25 Naha-Shi, Okinawa 900-0014
  • 8.7/10
  • 0.3 km
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Condominium L's INN
  • Hikawa 1-7-1 Naha-Shi, Okinawa 900-0022
  • 8.9/10
  • 0.4 km
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Minshuku Getto
  • Matsuo 1-16-24 Naha-Shi, Okinawa 900-0014
  • 8.6/10
  • 0.4 km
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