What to do on an Okinawa vacation

Beach at Kerama Island, Okinawa

Kerama Island beach ©SteFou!/Flicrk

Although it is the southernmost and one of the smaller prefectures of Japan, Okinawa is a popular domestic destination in the country and deserves more foreign visitors as well. To help you put this Part of Japan on your must do destinations list for 2014, here are some what to do in Okinawa ideas.

You will find dozens if not hundreds of activities in any Okinawa travel guide, but here come some tips for a vacation that everyone will like – hopefully. If you have already been to this part of the world, please feel free to add your ideas in the comment section.

Getting friends in Okinawa is easy

As you can see in the below video the people in Okinawa are especially friendly and helpful with visitors, so it is easy to make friends there. It is not only a great experience to have a friend from a very different culture, but also useful to have some people you might want to show you the best things about their home.

Bars and small restaurants are great places to meet locals and get to know them. You can see in the video that in this part of Japan that is also easier than in other big cities, there is always someone ready to start a nice conversation with you.

Okinawa – the cradle of karate

Did you know that Karate was actually developed on the Ryukyu Islands – the archipelago on which Okinawa lies? You should definitely go and see some of the numerous karate presentations and – if you are interested and have the opportunity – take some classes as well.

Go island hopping

Of the 160 islands of Okinawa about 50 are inhabited and the whole archipelago stretches down for 620 miles between Kyushu and Taiwan. You can visit 25 of the islands with ferry or by air and they are all a different adventure for any active traveler, plus in the meantime you can enjoy some of the warmest and best beaches in Japan.

Beach at Kerama Island, Okinawa

Kerama Island beach ©SteFou!/Flikr

Shisa – the Okinawa garden gnome

The typically Okinawan Shisa is dragon-dog-lion-like creature made of ceramic and inspired by Chinese culture is told to drive away evil spirits. They can be found in front of houses, always in pairs – one with its mouth open and one with its mouth closed. A pair of them would make a perfect souvenir from your Okinawa vacation.

Participate in the tug-of-war

The Guinness Recorder Okinawa tug-of-war is organized since the 1700s and nowadays some 15,000 people participate in it every year. It is held in October and – apart from the participants, it draws to Naha some 300,000 spectators. Would you rather be a spectator or a participant?

The rope used at the Okinawa tug-of-war

Rope of the Okinawa tug-of-war ©sugoipix/Flickr

Everyone can have their favorites, but Okinawa is quite surely one of the best destinations is Japan. Apart from the above the cherry blossom in January, the diving sports, the village where women can expect to live 86 years and much more are also great things to do and see on an Okinawa vacation.

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