Awaken your senses in the marine blue world of the isolated islands that surround the main island of Okinawa! Here are 5 isolated islands near the main island of Okinawa where you can enjoy nature to the fullest.
Nagannu Island is one of the Kerama Islands, a group of islands of different sizes located at the south of the main island of Okinawa. The island can be reached by a 20 minute ride on a cruiser boat that departs from Naha. This island, which boasts white-sand beaches and marine blue waters, is actually made of pieces of shells and coral and when lumped together with Kuefu Island and Kamiyama Island, it is called the Chibishi Atoll.
Our recommended activities in this island are snorkeling, which allows you to make the most out of the beautiful ocean, and parasailing. The ocean walk, in which you wear a helmet like those used in space to walk underwater, is very popular among tourists too. The island is equipped with showers and restrooms, and it features a dining terrace too, so you can enjoy marine sports to the fullest and still feel as if you were in a resort! Here you can enjoy a plentiful variety of activities, and you can also stay the night (between April and October only). Make sure that you check the official website in advance to narrow down your plans for your trip. If you are lucky, you may even be able to see some sea turtles!
*The picture features the Chibishi Atoll.
1. Plenty of activities to choose from! Nagannu Island
Kuefu Island is a desert island that belongs to the Chibishi Atoll, just like the aforementioned Nagannu Island. This island is also accessible by a 20 minute boat ride from Naha. In order to visit this island, you should book a diving or snorkeling tour, and then board the corresponding boat for the marine shop offering the tour. The ocean waters surrounding the area are really tranquil, which make this a perfect place to enjoy a diving or snorkeling experience. You will not find convenience stores or supermarkets here, but you will be able to indulge in virgin nature and the ocean of Okinawa and enjoy the characteristic atmosphere of an isolated island. The island does not have a pier, so it is a staple of these tours to dive into the ocean for snorkeling from the boat and then move on to the island. The waters here are highly transparent, so visitors get to enjoy a surprisingly clear view of coral and brightly colored tropical fish that would make anybody forget about time. Make sure to pay this island a visit!
*Depending on the weather, waves may be too high, preventing visitors from landing on the island.
Kamiyama Island is a desert island in the Chibishi Atoll. This island is accessible by a 20 minute boat ride from Naha. There are no sightseeing facilities in this island, but you will find a lighthouse and the ruins of buildings from WWII. Not many people actually land on this island, but many come here to visit a diving spot known as the Kamiyama Island Labyrinth, which is a maze-like spot with intricate geographical features that include tunnels and arches. It is not very deep so both beginners and advanced divers can enjoy this spot, and we especially recommend it because depending on where you choose to dive, it offers very different views. If you wish to visit this island, book a diving tour at the corresponding marine shop and then use the shop's boats to approach the island. Indulge in the photogenic views that the underwater world has to offer - make sure that you bring an underwater camera with you!
3. Make the most out of nature in a desert island! Kamiyama Island
Tokashiki Island is the biggest island among the Kerama Islands. It can be accessed by a 70 minute ferry ride from Naha. You can also choose to ride the express ferry for a shorter ride of about 35 minutes. The ocean area surrounding the Kerama Islands is very beautiful and has been named "Kerama Blue" thanks to its high level of transparency, which is one of the highest of the world. The view from the boat is just amazing! This is a diving spot that receives divers from all over the world, so if you are looking to enjoy some marine sports and snorkeling, it should be perfect for you too! Depending on the time of the year, you may even be able to do some whale watching.
The interior of the island is rather mountainous, so we recommend moving around with a rental bicycle or car. Make sure that you visit the Aharen Observatory Tower as it offers a lovely panoramic view! The island is also equipped with a variety of lodging facilities, so we recommend staying the night to enjoy the ocean to the fullest.
For souvenirs, we recommend the tuna jerky, which goes very well with the island's specialty beer and awamori (Okinawan sake), and the Shimamun Jelly, made with shikuwasa and guava grown on the island.
4. One of the greatest reservoirs of coral in the world! Tokashiki Island
Kudaka Island is a small island that surfaces at a distance of about 25 minutes by ferry, or about 15 minutes by express boat, from Nanjo. This is a sacred island known as "the island of the gods," and it was the place where Shinto rituals were performed during the era of the Okinawan Ryukyu Kingdom.
There are almost no sightseeing facilities on the island, so we recommend it especially to those who would like to enjoy the rich nature of Okinawa in a rather tranquil way as they indulge in a view of the highly transparent ocean. Try and rent a bicycle to move around the island.
The best places to visit are the beautiful white-sand beach of Ishikibama along with Cape Kaberu and the Romance Road, which are surrounded by beautiful coral reef. At the restaurant, make sure to try the island's specialty: Irabu-jiru. This is a very healthy dish made with smoked and simmered erabu black-banded sea krait.
There are areas on the island where it is forbidden to swim or to enter, so be careful not to walk into spaces that are not clearly marked as sightseeing spots. It is also forbidden to take home stones, plants, or shells from the island. Make it a point to observe the rules, and allow yourself to be soothed by the wonderful power of abundant nature!
5. The sacred place of Okinawa: Kudaka Island
Did you enjoy the article? Sightseeing in the main island of Okinawa is a lot of fun, but if you want to make the most out of the beautiful ocean, or are already an experienced traveler in Okinawa, we definitely recommend visiting some of the isolated islands nearby!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.