Okinawa, or the Okinawa Main Island is the largest island in the Okinawa Prefecture at the southernmost tip of Japan. With 49 inhabited islands and 111 uninhabited islands Okinawa is one of the most fascinating, culturally rich areas to visit in the world. With a weather system that is both Tropical and subtropical the area is prone to heavy rains at various times of the year. Perhaps the most fascinating thing of Okinawan tradition is the festivals held almost all year around.
Getting to Okinawa
Okinawa’s main airport is in Naha, the capital city on the Okinawa Main Island. Almost all Asian airlines provide a regular flight schedule to Naha. From Taiwan the flight time is approximately an hour, from China, four hours and from Beijing two hours. Between Japan and Naha there are regular flights running several times a day.
What to Do (Besides Festivals)
Okinawa’s Islands cannot be rushed through. With its sheer size and incredibly vast history the islands offer something for every travelers tastes. Ancient restored castles are scattered throughout the island and the Habu Snake Show in Okinawa World Park is fun for the entire family. At the Cornerstone of Peace Memorial one can revisit the Battle of Okinawa and pay respects to those who lost their lives. The underground tunnels are also available for history lovers to retrace the steps of the Japanese soldiers in the Second World War.
For those traveling with a family, the Churaumi Aquarium is one of the best kept facilities in the world and have dinner in a treehouse on the Motobu Peninsula. Nature lovers can attend guided walks looking for the endangered Iriomote Wild cats and watch the sun rise of the Pacific Ocean. While waiting to see it set over the East China sea endless browsing and shopping can be done in the various markets.
For those chasing annual festivals or looking to become immersed in the traditions of Okinawa, the area is renowned for it colourful over the top festivals.
- Itoman Hari
- Tomariiyumachi Father’s Day Fish Fair & Tuna Festival
- Pillars of the Light for Peace/Lights of Peace on the Eve of the Memorial Service for All War Dead of the Battle of Okinawa
- The 33rd Peaceful Love Rock Festival 2016
- Sundays in late July/early August: Kuroshima Harvest Festival
- Tokashiki Whale Strait Festival
- The 34th Yonabaru Great Tug-of-War Festival
- The 27th All Okinawan Children’s Eisa Festival
- The 39th Ginowan Hagoromo Festival
- Summer Festival in Naha, and 10,000 Eisa Dancers Parade
- Mid-August: Zamami Island Festival
- Mushama of Hateruma
- The 61st All-Okinawa Eisa Festival
- Orion Beer Festival 2016
- Zamami Island Festival
- Harvest Festival of Tarama and August Dance festival
- Mid-Aug to mid-Sept: Appreciation Festival of Kohama Island
- Mid-Sept to early Oct.: Traditional Festival of Iriomote Island
- Early Oct: Noguni Sokan Festival
- Naha Great Tug-of-War Festival
- Mid-Oct. to early Dec.: Seek-Picking Festival of Taketomi Island
- Okinawa Industry Festival
- Yomitan Festival
- Kanucha Stardust Fantasia
- C-1 Gourmet Battle
- All month: Zamami Island Fan Appreciation Month
- Tsuboya Pottery Festival