I’ve wanted to go to Okinawa since I first set foot in Japan, but it was half the price to go to nearby Asia countries instead of Naha. Upon discovery of JetSTAR’s cheap, irresistible airfares, I finally made it last year. In addition to the interesting experience I had adjusting to my corner hotel room, I had a GREAT time exploring and sightseeing.
As usual, I did and saw as much as possible, but thinking back on the top 5 things to do in Naha was a piece of cake. Okinawa is definitely the most unique part of Japan, and if you’re familiar with Japan and its culture, you’ll see what I mean just from taking a quick look at this top 5 list, and you’ll start packing your bags! 😀
1) See Shuri Castle – 首里城
Shuri Castle is a unique Japanese castle; it’s nothing like any other Japanese castle I’ve seen, including magnificent Himeji. It actually reminded me a lot of the palaces I’ve been to in South Korea.
You’ll also learn a lot about Okinawa’s history by having a good look at the roots of the unique aspects of Okinawan culture inside.
Don’t forget to bring your travel diary. There are tons of commemorative stamps because of the stamp rally, but they’ll look a lot better in your diary instead of glossy paper.
2) Stroll down Kokusai Dori – 国際通り
Just a diagonal stone’s throw away from Kencho-mae monorail station is this fabulous international street – what I believe is the heart of downtown Naha. There are all kinds of shops from super cheap stores to Prada and all kinds of food from McDonald’s to Okinawan cuisine.
3) Take in a Mini Dinner Show
While you’re on Kokusai Dori, take in a dinner show. I had no idea about them, so stumbling upon it made my day. I don’t know about the other restaurants, but the one I went to, which was the first one I saw (in the photos), only charged ¥500 for the show.
The two performers were lovely and unlike everyone else, I knew all 3 songs by heart – LOL! They were all major hits, after all, and I’ve known them for nearly 2 decades.
Anyway, this is where I got my first I’m really in Okinawa moment. 😀
4) Ryukyu Mura (Village) – 琉球村
Devote at least half a day for this wonderful park about traditional Okinawan culture.
The home, shrine, and food are interesting, but the workshops, like a sanshin lesson (left) and the entertainment really make Ryukyu Village special. There are mini-shows throughout the day like in the photo above and in the video below.
5) Go to BIOS no Oka – BIOS の丘
BIOS no Oka, or BIOS of the Hill, is a beautiful outdoor retreat with all kinds of outdoor activities and thousands of orchids and other gorgeous exotic plants.
You can take a relaxing boat tour, take a water buffalo cart ride, walk and feed goats and pigs, try walking on stilts, and more for not too much extra.
The more expensive extras are things like renting a canoe or a standing kayak.
You can easily spend at least half a day or more there, and it’s a fantastic family-friendly getaway from the city.
As you can see, these 5 things to do will really give you the I’m really in Okinawa moment, and you’re bound to have a wonderful time with distinct Okinawa memories to last you a lifetime.
As always, thank you so much for stopping by, and don’t be shy to give me a shout if you have any questions! 😀