Okinawa, Japan Oct. 01 Sun 6:42PM
Beach vacations have always been one of the most popular types of travel. As of recent years, Okinawa has made its way on many people's travel radar as a beach vacation hot spot. Gaining more and more popularity, it's easy to see why. But with travel, it's a good idea to stay updated on things you should know about the destination you're going to. So here's a little cheat sheet to help you out!
Okinawa was once part of the Ryukyu Kingdom, and as such, has many influences from China. These influences can be seen in some of the architecture, the cuisine, and the traditional dialect. In addition to Chinese influence, Okinawa also has influences from mainland Japan and America.
There are more islands than just the main island that make up Okinawa, and people are often surprised to find that it's not actually just one big island. Each island also has attributes that are unique to the island making it fun to explore more than just one island. The largest island is the main island that contains the capital, Naha. In addition, the other island groups consist of Kerama Islands, Kume Island, the Miyako Region, and the Yaeyama Region - although there are also many small islands as well.
Local dishes to try
Popular dishes to try include champuru, a healthy dish using one of Okinawa's most famous produce - goya. Okinawa soba is also a very popular dish using wheat flour noodles.
For more check out our Okinawa Food Guide.
Best time to travel
If visiting beaches when it's nice and warm is your thing, the classic summer months are great to visit Okinawa. The summer months of July and August are one of the hottest months and July is the most popular and busiest time. March through June tends to be warm, but their is also a good amount of rainfall. Winter and fall are significantly cooler and winter is considered the least busy season.
While the off-seasons may be enticing for those that want to avoid crowds, summer is probably the best time to visit and also the time that we recommend due to all the activities that are also going on. June can bring a fair bit amount of rain.
Something to keep in mind about the summer months is the typhoon season, so we always recommend checking weather forecasts in advance.
There are also off-season festivals and events that occur throughout the year, so that is also an option to plan your trip around. (i.e. March-Dragon Boat Races, Oct - Great Tug-of-War etc)
Many people travel to Japan to see the annual cherry blossoms during March and April. However, for Okinawa the cherry blossom season happens much earlier than the rest of Japan. Usually the best time to see the Okinawa cherry blossoms are mid January to early February in Naha. Keep in mind though that the type of cherry blossoms is different in Okinawa than in Japan. The flowers are much darker and the petals have an almost "tropical" look that the Yoshino sakura trees of mainland Japan do not have.
There isn't an "autumn" season like there is in mainland Japan in the sense that fall foliage doesn't necessaily happen here. However there are many fall events and foods that come out in Okinawa that bring out the season festivities.