Okinawa consists of 160 large and small islands including 49 inhabited islands over a vast ocean area. The coral reefs, crystal-clear blue seas, white sand beaches, and beautiful natural scenery combine to form different images on each island.
Okinawa Prefecture is located at the southernmost tip of Japan. With a beautiful transparent sea and rich natural environment, Okinawa has become one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations.
The name Okinawa means “rope in the open sea”, a fairly apt description of this long stretch of islands between the four main islands of Japan and Taiwan. Consisting of 49 inhabited islands and 111 uninhabited islands, Okinawa has a subtropical/tropical climate.
Most of the Okinawa islands belong to the subtropical climate. Even in January and February, the average high temperature is around 68°F, making the area a popular winter getaway, although it’s often cloudy and usually a little too cold for sunbathing due to the winter monsoon.
The Okinawa archipelago is known as one of the world’s best diving destinations, having a number of coral species and marine lives as large as those in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Okinawan cuisine is distinctly different from that of mainland Japan and bears notable Taiwanese influences. Okinawans too proudly proclaim that they use every part of the pig except the squeal and pork makes an appearance in almost every dish, including bits like ears, trotters and blood which are generally disdained by the Japanese.
Top Things for a solo traveler to check out:
- Southeast Botanical Gardens – Get out in nature and check out the plants and animals at the botanical garden. It’s amazing how beautiful botanical gardens are and they are so different in all the different parts of the world.
- Awase Shrine – This Awase Shrine was built around 1938. All visitors are welcome. When you enter the shrine you will either enter from one of its two sides (north or south). You will see a big structure to the east that is called a “Torii”. It is an entrance telling you that you are going into a sacred place. To the west, you will see the following building.
- Hot Springs – The open-air, natural spa offers a great view of the landscape. At dusk, the stars begin to shine above, and the gentle sea breeze blows comfortably, cooling down the blushed cheeks. It will relax the stiff muscles and help heal the tiredness from travel. In Okinawa, there are many attractive hot spring inns and hotels offering delightful resort atmosphere of a southern paradise.
- Whale Watching – From January to March, the ocean around Okinawa is in full action. This is the season when humpback whales are confirmed to be off the coast of Zamami Island, and the best season for whale watching is finally here! There are boats you can board from the main island and Kerama Island every day for whale watching tours that offer a glimpse of the lives of whales. The dynamic and emotional encounters with whales will surely be an unforgettable experience!