Okinawa, Japan

The largest island in the Ryukyu Archipelago, Okinawa has been a center of trade and a source for conflict through its history. The island has been an independent kingdom, the feudal possession of a Japanese daimyo and a prefecture of Japan following the Meiji Restoration of 1866. Okinawa was the scene of bitter fighting during the closing days of World War II. Over 100,000 civilians perished and the island was left in ruins. A US military possession, Okinawa returned to Japanese rule in 1972. Naha is the island's largest city and the capital of Okinawa Prefecture.

Okinawa is the birthplace of karate. One of the world's most popular martial arts, karate is a fusion of Chinese kung fu and traditional island martial arts.

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Points of Interest

  • Shurijo Castle
  • Okinawa Prefecture Museum
  • The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters
  • Peace Memorial Park and Okinawa Prefecture Peace Memorial Museum
  • Shikinaen Gardens
  • Ryukyu Mura
  • Seifa Utaki
  • Churaumi Aquarium

More about Okinawa, Japan Points of Interest

  • Shurijo Castle

    Built in the 1300s, this vermillion-colored landmark was the palace of Ryukyu kings and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the castle's interior, now a museum, and take in panoramic views.

  • Okinawa Prefecture Museum

    Dedicated to preserving Okinawan art and history, this modern museum showcases 85,000 artifacts pertaining to folklore, crafts and archaeology in its collection ranging from the 12th century to the present.

  • The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters

    Descend 105 steps into a complex dug by hand that served as the Japanese Navy's headquarters during World War II. A recorded audio feed enhances your tour through the underground tunnels.

  • Peace Memorial Park and Okinawa Prefecture Peace Memorial Museum

    Peace Park and Okinawa Prefecture Peace Memorial Museum serve as the main memorial to the Battle of Okinawa. Stroll the grounds and learn about the events leading up to this devastating period in Okinawan history.

  • Shikinaen Gardens

    Constructed in the 18th century as a second home to the Ryukyu kings, the property's landscaped gardens, quaint wooden palace buildings and a tranquil pond can all be viewed by strolling a picturesque circular path.

  • Ryukyu Mura

    Traditional culture comes to life in this charming re-creation theme park of an ancient Okinawan village. "Living exhibits" showcase festivals, cuisine and crafts. A parade and dance performances add merriment.

  • Seifa Utaki

    Okinawa's most important, outdoor sacred place at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover ceremonial altars created from natural stone and caves nestled within a rocky seascape.

  • Churaumi Aquarium

    A kaleidoscope of marine life is on display in 77 tanks, including the massive Kuroshio Tank, holding 2 million gallons of seawater. See Whale Sharks, mantas, colorful coral, and a dolphin show.

5 EXCURSIONS

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Easy Naha

3.5 hours | Okinawa | O K A - 2 9 0

Sit back and relax on a scenic drive that makes the most of the historic and cultural treasures in and around Naha. See the panoramic vistas from the Nirai Kanai Bridge, the Okinawa Peace Memorial Park, and cosmopolitan Kokusai Street.

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$79.95

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Battle of Okinawa

5 hours | Okinawa | O K A - 2 3 0
  • The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters
  • Peace Memorial Park and Okinawa Prefecture Peace Memorial Museum

Gain insight into Okinawa's WWII history. First stop is the Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters whose elaborate series of tunnels still show scars of battle. Next, you'll visit the Himeyuri Peace Museum and the Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum, which pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the war.

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Moderate Activity

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$94.95

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Okinawa World & Kokusai Street

5.5 hours | Okinawa | O K A - 2 0 5

Explore Naha's cultural wonders beginning with Okinawa World, a theme park centered on history and heritage. Enter through the Gyokusendo Cave and stroll through a replica of a Ryukyu village, then delight in demonstrations, shops and eating establishments. Next, visit nearby Kokusai Street, a chic shopping area.

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Shopping Opportunities, Moderate Activity

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Highlights of Okinawa

5.5 hours | Okinawa | O K A - 2 0 0
  • Shikinaen Gardens
  • Ryukyu Mura

Get hand's on with history at Ryukyu Mura, a charming replica of an ancient Okinawan village that offers craft demonstrations, a colorful parade or dance performance, and original architecture. Then, travel to Shikinaen Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was built for royalty in the late 18th century.

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Moderate Activity

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$99.95

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Seifa Utaki & Gangala Valley Hike

5.5 hours | Okinawa | O K A - 4 7 0
  • Seifa Utaki

Enjoy the rustic beauty of the great outdoors with a visit to Sefa Utaki, a UNESCO Site once believed to be the birthplace of Okinawa's spiritual past. Then, embark on a guided hike through the Gangala Valley, an underground world of caves and an awe-inspiring mystical forest.

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$169.95

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