The island of Okinawa sits between Taiwan to the south and the rest of Japan to the north. About 1.5 million people call this island home. Here are the top must-see attractions in Okinawa, Japan.
Visit the spectacular Gangala Valley to learn about the origins of the Okinawan people. It is located in a “forest” of limestone caves dating back at least 3,000 years. Nature lovers will love the incredible wonder of countless caves and rock formations. There is also a guided tour that is said to be a bit frightening and unforgettable – it is known as the “Journey of Mystery”. If you are not into adventures, you can just look at the different limestone formations while enjoying a delicious meal at the Café cave which is located at the valley’s entry point.
The work “manzamo” in the local dialect means an open field that accommodates 10,000 people. That is not an exaggeration. In fact, if you visit at sunrise or sunset, this breathtaking spot on the island’s western side is the perfect spot to sit and take in nature’s beauty. You will directly be looking into the East China Sea and you can listen as the ocean waves crash into the monumental cliffs. This spot is a favorite for residents and visitors alike.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
This is a great place to visit for those people who enjoy aquariums. Even if you never snorkeled or scuba dived before, this aquarium will make you feel like you are 10,000 feet below the surface of the sea. The sea tanks in this massive place allow you to see the largest whale shark in the world. If that isn’t enough, the thousands of tropical fish, manta rays, and the coral will have your camera working overtime.
Katsuren Castle Ruins
This site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is a reminder of this island’s ancient past. It allows you to explore when Okinawa was a kingdom and its people lived in isolated existence largely unknown to other parts of the world. This is perhaps the best location in Okinawa to view the rest of the island. The castle is illuminated at night by an array of lights so visitors will never miss this amazing, educational, and unique piece of local history.
Kokusai Street is in the heart of the city and it is Okinawa’s center for entertainment. This avenue was once a place where the locals shop but it is now a vibrant site packed with restaurants, art galleries, and shops. Kokusai street is the place to be if you want to view exceptional artworks, buy traditional clothing, or try some of this island’s authentic food.