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If you’re arriving from anywhere in the West, Japan is likely to assault all of your senses as soon as you land. This Eastern island is a veritable mixture of ancient and modern, traditional and contemporary.

However, Okinawa – a Japanese prefecture that is home to some of the most wondrous beaches in the world – will feel rather familiar. After all, it’s sun, sea, and sand.

Sea of Okinawa and its sandy beaches.

Sea of Okinawa and its sandy beaches. Photo by Leung Chopan from Hong Kong.

So, you might want to spend all of your days in Okinawa taking in the rays and upping your Vitamin D production. You’ll probably want to go exploring and get to know the area a bit too. Whatever you opt for, our guide on the six things to do in Okinawa will help you compile a list of must-see and must-experience sites.

Go Diving

Some of Asia’s most amazing diving sites are to be found around Okinawa. There are over 50 of them to choose from and plenty of underwater beauty to discover. From schools of different fish to corals, wrecks, and caves, you’ll find yourself marveling at something new at every stroke.

You may also want to dive with the local sharks – don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe. Humpback whales also stop off near the island between January and March, so you might want to meet them too.

Hike Up To Tadake Falls

The route up to Tadake Falls leads through some proper, muddy and challenging jungle, and you will need to rope climb, hike, traverse rivers and overcome some steep inclines to get to your destination. Definitely not an adventure for the faint of heart or for those who aren’t in a decent physical shape.

For the adrenaline enthusiast, this hike is a great way to spend a day (yes, it will take an entire day). Be prepared to get muddy and wet, but arrive back to your lodgings in that happy state of exhaustion that comes with physical exertion in nature.

Perfect Your Surfing Skills

If you have always wanted to learn to surf or if you find you could brush your surfing skills up a bit, Okinawa offers the best beginner-friendly waves for you to enjoy. Spending time in the water and enjoying the beaches and beach fun is one of the main reasons most people come to the area, so you definitely don’t want to miss out. At least take a few lessons in a surfing school, so you can get the basics down and be able to later brag you have surfed Japan’s waters.

Embrace Okinawa World

Okinawa World is essentially a theme park based around culture and local traditions.

When visiting, make sure you check out Gyokusendo Cave, the second largest in Japan, where you can marvel at stalactites and stalagmites and try to remember which is which.

There is also Habu Park, the local snake museum. Here you can find out all about the habu, a venomous snake that can be highly aggressive. There are other snake-related exhibits, and you can learn a lot about other reptiles as well.

More attractions are available, so you should enjoy spending an entire day in the park, getting to know this Japanese province.

Learn More About WWII

If you’re interested in WWII history, definitely find the time to visit some of the museums and monuments detailing the events of Okinawa Honto, one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

There’s the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, where you can see what the area looked like before, during, and after the battle.

You can also visit the former Navy Underground Headquarters. It’s not a very bright place, as this is where 175 Japanese officers took their own lives on 6 June 1945, a year after the D Day landing that marked the turning point of the war.

Visit Shuri Castle

It would be a shame to leave Okinawa without seeing Shuri Castle. This was once home to rulers of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It was first built in the 1300s and has since been destroyed by fire several times, most recently in the Shuri Castle fire of 2019.

It has been restored twice since as well, and it’s a great representation of the Gusuku style. You won’t be able to access all areas, but there’s an interesting tour available that will tell you a lot about its history and architecture.

To Wrap It Up

Most tourists flock to Okinawa for the sea air and gorgeous white beaches. Nonetheless, the province is an ideal destination for those looking for a bit of an outdoor adventure. Plus, it’s a fantastic destination for those who would like to learn more about the history and culture of Japan.

Before you fly out, make sure to write down at least some of your favorite destinations. But don’t forget to let Okinawa guide you too, and step off your pre-planned track to enjoy the local delicacies and adventures.


The article was written by Hannah Thomas, an Australian freelance writer who is a gardening and travel enthusiast who contributes regularly to

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About the Photo

The photo in the header above is of a whale shark in Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium’s Kuroshio Sea tank, in Okinawa, Japan. Image by HQM60606 from Pixabay.

About the Author

The article was written by Hannah Thomas, an Australian freelance writer.

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Discover these amazing adventures in Okinawa, Japan!

Discover these amazing adventures in Okinawa, Japan!

Discover these amazing adventures in Okinawa, Japan!

Discover these amazing adventures in Okinawa, Japan!

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