Okinawa is a paradise full of stunning sights such as the beautiful ocean, historical ruins, and townscapes. Here are 5 recommended spots you should consider adding to your itinerary.
1. Zamami Island
Zamami Island is about 40km west of the main island of Okinawa and can be reached by high-speed ferry from Naha in about 50 minutes. It's one of the best-known islands in the Kerama Islands chain that was designated as a national park in 2014. It's famous for the world-famous diving spot called Kerama Blue thanks to the blue, clear waters. As long as there isn't a typhoon in the area, the waves aren't very strong, so it's a great place for inexperienced scuba divers. The sight of the colorful tropical fish swimming around the beautiful coral will make you feel like you're in a fairy tale. There are many observatory decks around the island, and you can see the sight of the Kerama Islands from all of them but the one at Takatsukiyama Park about a twenty minute walk from Zamami Port is particularly spectacular. Zamami Island is also the country's best whale watching spot. From January to March, many humpback whales come to the Kerama Islands to raise calves. This is a chance to see whales with their calves, so people who want to see whales should definitely stop by in the winter. Zamami Island is fun all year round, so please try visiting.
2. Kouri Island/Kouri Ohashi
The area on Okinawa's main island where the ocean is especially beautiful is the north. Kouri Island, governed by the town of Nakijin on the main island, is surrounded by water so clear its beauty is top-class. The Kouri Ohashi was opened in 2005 to link the main island and Kouri Island by car and has been popular since. The 2km bridge is surrounded by all sides by emerald green water, and you'll feel as though you're driving through the ocean itself. There are many beautiful beaches on this virgin island, including Tokei Beach where you can enjoy diving among tropical fish in the crystal clear water. In the northern part of the island on Teenu Beach there are heart-shaped rocks that are very popular with young people and couples as good fortune in relationships. The Kouri Island Ocean Tower that opened in 2013 is also popular. The sight of the emerald green ocean from the 82m tall observatory deck is so lovely you'll swallow your words. You should consider adding this to your itinerary when you're planning your Okinawa trip.
3. Chinen Misaki Park
Chinen Misaki Park, in Nanjo on the southern part of the main island, has an observatory deck placed perfectly so that you can see the Pacific Ocean spread out below you. The gradation in the color of the seas thanks to the coral is especially beautiful in the south, and since Chinen Misaki Park is the easternmost beach, if you go in the early morning you can watch the sunlight make the ocean glitter as the sun rises. Also, it's a wonderful place to gaze at the star-studded sky as well that locals and tourists alike enjoy. You can also see Kudaka Island from here, an island called "the god's island." At the entrance of Chinen Misaki Park there's a rest stop called Ganjuu Station Nanjo where you can buy local products and light meals. Behind it there's the Shiawase no Kakehashi, a popular power spot where you can take photos on top of it.
4. Hedo Misaki
Hedo Misaki, on the northernmost part of the main island, is a cape that faces both the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea. On sunny days you can see 22km out to Yoron Island and Okinoerabu Island in the Amami Islands. The sight of the rough waters crashing into the coral-like cliffs packs a punch. When the winds are strong, the water splashed into the air by the waves catches the light and makes it look like glittery snow for a fantastic sight. Within the mountains towering behind the cape is Asumuiutaki, one of the Ryukyu Kaibyaku Nanautaki, 7 holy sites for the Ryukyu people. Asumuiutaki is Okinawa's most important holy area, and it's become very popular as a power spot. Also nearby is Daiseki Rinzan, a national park, so why not visit both these areas as well? You can visit all of these areas overflowing with nature and feel the power of the Ryukyu gods created by the islands of Okinawa.
5. The tree-lined streets of Bise
The area of Bise in Okinawa's northern area, Motobu, is an area that has the traditional Okinawan townscape. The village is built on a grid like a chessboard, and most of the 250 homes are surrounded by verdant fukugi trees. "Fukugi" is written with the characters for "happiness tree." The abundant branches and leaves of the trees form an arch over the street, creating a tunnel of greenery that's comfortable thanks to the sunlight filtering through and the gentle breeze. It'll help you forget the bustle of everyday life. Just by walking through these streets you'll feel as though you've healed your body. Bise is near the ocean, so the occasional sight of the blue ocean peeking through the green trees makes for a lovely contrast. The beach at the end of the streets is so pristine sea turtles lay their eggs here. You can also find large hermit crabs called coenobita there. These crabs have been designated as natural monuments. This is a special place where you can spend your time leisurely and luxuriously, so please make a note to visit.
There are plenty of beautiful sights around Okinawa, a place blessed with gorgeous seas and verdant nature. Please visit Okinawa many times and find your favorite spot.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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