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日本をめぐる旅〜南の楽園、沖縄

Explore Japan – Okinawa, a Southern paradise

Okinawa is a popular tourist destination in Japan located closer to Taiwan. Although it is a small island, it has been influenced by various countries and has cultivated its own culture. Unlike the mainland of Japan, it is full of charm unique to a tropical country. Here are some recommended sightseeing spots that you should definitely visit when you go to Okinawa.

 

History of Okinawa

Okinawa was once an independent nation called the "Ryukyu Kingdom". It has developed as a maritime nation by actively conducting relay trades with China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asian countries. It is said that the port of Naha at that time was very busy with full of rare foreign goods and foreign merchants.

In 1609, the kingdom was invaded by the Satsuma (current Kagoshima prefecture) army and was actually under its control. However, the trades with other countries continued and it maintained the appearance of an independent nation. In 1879, shortly after the Meiji Restoration, the Ryukyu Kingdom ended its history of 450 years and became the territory of Japan as Okinawa Prefecture.

After World War II, it was governed by the United States and has a complex history separated from the mainland Japan. After 27 years of the control, Okinawa returned to Japan in 1972.

 

What is the charm of Okinawa?

Okinawa, located in Japan's only subtropical oceanic climate zone, is blessed with abundant nature. The blue sea that shines in emerald green, the white beach of coral reefs, the forest with abundant evergreens, and the colorful flowers that you can enjoy only in Okinawa. They will make you forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life and have enriching time instead.

Surrounded by the beautiful sea, Okinawa has a lot of marine activities such as snorkeling and diving. There is a chance to meet rare creatures that cannot be seen on the mainland.

Not only activities, but there are also unique attractions and gourmet food. In Okinawa, which has been influenced by various countries and has built its own culture, nine spots are registered as World Cultural Heritage Sites. In addition, forests in the northern part of the main island of Okinawa and Iriomote Island have recently been registered as World Natural Heritage Sites. Why don't you feel the magnificent history and romance there?

 

Recommended sightseeing spots

Shuri Castle

A castle that prospered as the political, diplomatic, and cultural center of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The unique architectural style and stonework technology that fuses Chinese and Japanese cultures are considered to be of high cultural and historical value, and have been registered as a World Heritage Site. Although the main facilities were completely burnt down in 2019, they have been re-opened to the public to show the reconstruction process.

Churaumi Aquarium

A world-famous aquarium that ranks in the top 10 you will want to visit once in your life. In the spectacular huge water tank, you can see a wide variety of fish, including whale sharks and reef manta rays, swimming leisurely. You can enjoy it as if you were diving in the sea of Okinawa.

Kouri Beach

A beach at the foot of Kouri Ohashi Bridge, the entrance to a small Kouri Island in the north. The shallow and highly transparent sea, which shines in emerald green on a clear day, boasts one of the most beautiful beaches on the main island of Okinawa. Easy access, about 20 minutes by car from Naha Airport, is also attractive.

Kokusai Street

The main street of Naha, the largest cities in Okinawa. With a total length of about 1.6km, it is a gorgeous street lined with restaurants where you can enjoy Okinawan gourmet food, souvenir shops with specialty products, and fashionable general stores. You can enjoy it just by walking around.

Zamami Island

About 50 minutes by high-speed boat from Tomari Port in Naha City. It is popular as a remote island that can be reached on a day trip. The clear blue gradation, which cannot be seen on the main island of Okinawa, is eye-catching. You can enjoy the sea all year round, such as snorkeling and diving in the summer and whale watching in the winter.

 

There are many attractions in Okinawa, and you can enjoy various ways such as enjoying marine activities and experiencing the culture of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Why don't you visit it once? The experiences from the trip to Okinawa will be deeply engraved in your heart as a memory of the life.

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