Located halfway between Tokyo and Taiwan, Okinawa is the largest island in the Ryukyu Archipelago, one of a group of 100-plus islands tied together by sea routes. Okinawa's strategic location has long made it a center for trade and conflict. In its history, the island has been an independent kingdom and tributary state of China, the feudal possession of a Japanese daimyo, a prefecture of Japan after the Meiji Restoration, a U.S. military possession, and, since 1972, an integral part of Japan once more.
The only subtropical prefecture of the Japanese islands offers splendid coral-reef diving, plus many interesting sights to occupy your time. Students of history will remember the battle for Okinawa as the largest amphibious invasion and last major campaign of the Pacific War. Given its turbulent history, Okinawa has evolved into a unique melting pot of cultures — a mix of Ryukyuan, Chinese and Japanese traditions permeated by American pop culture from the U.S.'s long military presence on the island.
The vermilion-colored castle was the seat of power during the 500-year reign of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
Peace Memorial Park
This park commemorates the more than 100,000 civilians who died during the battle for Okinawa.
Naha's main street and commercial heart boasts department stores, hotels, souvenir shops and restaurants.
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