Okinawa, Japan Oct. 04 Wed 5:59PM
About Okinawa: Paradise
In the past, Okinawa was known as the Ryukyu Kingdom, an independent state until the Meiji Era in the late 19th century. The islands that make up Japan’s current Okinawa Prefecture are the result of a turbulent history that still comes into play to this day.
Gaining popularity as a travel destination, Okinawa is a unique cultural hybrid and a tropical paradise of beaches and jungles, now easier than ever to access from mainland Japan. It continues to be a blend of the untouched and secluded, and the lively and developing, as it grows to be a popular beach getaway for travelers but works to keep the natural beauty and life of the islands.
|Gorgeous Nature||Lively Events||Fun Activities|
|©OCVB and David Kirkland||©OCVB||©OCVB and David Kirkland|
The History of Okinawa
Long a tributary of China, the design and cuisine of Okinawa have both Chinese and Japanese influences, and while its use is dwindling, the Okinawan language is, in fact, its own separate language, rather than just a dialect of Japanese. In more recent history, Okinawa suffered horrible losses in World War II, and one can learn about the dark legacy of the Battle of Okinawa through a number of monuments and historical sites including the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum. After the war, Okinawa was under the control of the American government until 1972, at which time it was returned to the administration of Japan, but to this day many Americans especially know Okinawa for its many American military bases. The history of US control is at times a source of tension on the island with some, and a lot of the past history and current influences can still be seen today.
Today Okinawa’s attraction as a superb tourist destination is still underappreciated as a beach getaway and as a trove for cultural and historical information. Seemingly an ideal location, to broadly sum up what Okinawa has to offer, one can expect to enjoy:
Beautiful nature and perfect beaches. Whether you’re looking for an expedition into the jungle, a place to laze on the beach before, during or after the rest of your Japan trip, or appreciation of unique vegetation and geological formations, Okinawa is worth a trip.
Clown fish seeking protection
Also worth mentioning, although Japan’s treasured Sakura blossoms typically bloom from March and April on the mainland, in Okinawa winter travelers can enjoy the blossoms months earlier than in the rest of the country, in January and February.
In Okinawa the vestiges of many eras and influences mingle, allowing visitors to experience a still evolving history. Palaces, temples, shrines and villages of the Ryukyu kingdom still linger and are open for exploration. Okinawa is also the birthplace of karate, and a pilgrimage to the source is a must for fans and practitioners of the art. Those with an interest in war history also can learn about the violent battles that took place on the island, and their shadow that extends to the present day.
Where To Go
Read More: Okinawa Islands
What To Eat
Okinawan cuisine, said by some to be the world’s healthiest, is also not to be missed, with a number of specialties such as Goya Chanpuru, Okinawa Soba, Kokuto, and the local alcohol, Awamori.