Okinawa Japan is the southernmost region and prefecture of the country. It consists of 150 small islands and is situated along the southern portion of the island chain called Nansei Shoto, which stretches more than 350 miles. It is most famous as the locale of the Battle of Okinawa, a historical battle known as the largest of any land-sea-air battle ever. The subtropical temperatures boost Okinawa tourism, drawing tourists from all over the world to the beautiful beaches. The group of islands is southwest of Osaka and Tokyo and are a popular destination for many on tours and day trips.
Three main island groups compose Okinawa as a whole. They include Okinawa Island, Yaeyama Island, and Miyako Island. Flights to Okinawa from the mainland are easily accessible with daily scheduled flights available. Because the islands are so exposed, they experience a typhoon season from June through October, which is, of course, the least popular time to visit. Ferries are another option for transportation to Okinawa,t but they are not much cheaper, or any faster, than flights. They operate regularly out of Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, and Kagoshima.
Once the home to the Ryukyu Kingdom, Okinawa Honto, or Okinawa Main Island, is the biggest and most densely populated. It is the transportation, commercial, and political hub of the prefecture. Naha is the capital and home to several United States military bases. The core of Okinawa is thoroughly urbanized while the southern tip is the least densely populated. The north, a popular area for tours, is a lush, hilly region cloaked in forests, farming villages, and small fishing settlements.
The success of Okinawa tourism is due to the island's many attractions and things to do. Though many are drawn to the other islands for their beautiful white sand beaches, Okinawa has its own menu of delights to offer. Three main beaches—Okuma Beach, Manza Beach, and Moon Beach—are located on the west end of Okinawa Japan. Manza Beach is the most popular during Okinawa tourism peak seasons, reached within an hour and half from Naha. There are several luxury hotels, great diving and snorkeling among the coral reefs, and plenty of dining choices. When visiting the beach during Okinawa tours, note they are only open from April through October.
The play-by-play of the Battle of Okinawa can be explored at the war memorials throughout Peace Memorial Park, the Former Navy Underground Headquarters, and Himeyuri Monument. The U.S. invasion that sparked the Battle of Okinawa is well documented throughout the park. The principal attraction is Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, where an account of the events leading up to the battle, the actual battle, and Okinawa's reconstruction are outlined.
Other main attractions in Okinawa Japan include the scenic northern area of Hedo Misaki, Nakagusuku Castle, and Shikinaen Garden. Arts and crafts fans love Tsuboya Pottery District, a historical center point for Okinawa potters. Nago Pineapple Park and Okinawa World are two family-friendly theme parks popular during Okinawa tourism. Kokusaidori is the main entertainment and shopping district in Naha and the best place for island nightlife. And for those who want to soak up a bit more culture, stop at Nakamurake Residence, an eighteenth-century Okinawa home open to the public.