One of Japan’s most picturesque destinations made up of some 160 islands of various shapes and sizes, Okinawa has much to offer visitors: Eisa drum dances and cherry blossoms in January, crystal blue seas teaming with colorful marine life and numerous white sandy beaches to relax and sunbathe, and this is just the beginning. For about 450 years, this amazing getaway prospered as the Kingdom of Ryukyu and today it is to Japan like Hawaii is to the US, welcoming travelers from around the world.
Okinawa Main Island, also known as Okinawa Honto is by far the largest and most populated island in Okinawa Prefecture and the regional transportation hub, a reason why it’s so tourist-crowded all year round. And no matter what part of the island you’ll decide to explore: Naha, Southern, Central or Northern, be sure to find loads of attractions, sure to delight every traveler. Here are some of interesting offerings you’ll surely enjoy at this wonderful destination.
A harmonious paradise, where visitors will surely appreciate the mixture of Chinese, Japanese and Ryukyuan styles, the awe-inspiring Shikinaen Garden, located some 2 km south of Shurijo Castle, was once the second home of the Ryukyuan kings and queens. Dating back to the 178 century, the garden centers on a beautiful pond designed after the Chinese character for ‘heart,’ and offers a picturesque promenade with a pond where you can see a hexagonal Chinese-style building linked by an arched stone bridge. The property also contains several islands, a banana plantation, a fresh water spring, and dozens of dozens of varieties of shrubs, flowers and trees. In 2000, the site was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Opened its doors in August 2002 as one of the world’s largest aquariums, the fascinating Churaumi Aquarium (‘churaumi’ meaning ‘clear, beautiful seas’ in the Okinawa language) is found in the northwest area of Okinawa Island. In this wonderful family-friendly getaway visitors will find a total of 77 tanks, with the main Kuroshio having an enormous capacity, stretching from its floor all the way to the second floor of the aquarium, and showcasing amazing marine life from schools of whale sharks and manta rays to real starfish and other kinds of tropical fish. This is also where visitors will come across with the world’s first large-scale cultivation of living coral which counts to approximately eight hundred colonies from nearby Okinawa waters.
Nago Pineapple Park
The pineapple is one of Okinawa’s most prized crops and the amazing Nagi Pineapple Park is where you can see approximately 100 different of types of them. The Park features many interesting exhibits explaining the history, cultivation and refinement of the Okinawan pineapple, from seedling to flowering to fruiting all at once. The admission ticket to the park includes a ride on a pineapple-shaped shuttle bus through the fields and a tropical garden filled with lots of semitropic plants. As a complete pineapple world, the park also features a souvenir shop selling pineapple wines, juices, cakes, chocolates, as well as dried and fresh pineapple. There is also a fine restaurant where you can dine and relax at your heart’s content. The Park is open 7 days a week, from 9 am to 6 pm, and the admission fee is 600 yen.
Keep in mind that Okinawa is famous for its richness of nature, and is a superb getaway for a number of land and water adventures!