Okinawa Trip Highlights

I had the pleasure of traveling to Okinawa with my family for a few days and here are the highlights of the trip!

Shuji Castle (Shurijo/首里城)
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Naha City

By public transportation:
15-20 min walk from Shuri Station on the Okinawa Monorail.
5 min bus ride from Shuri Station: take bus 7 or 8 and get off at Shurijo-mae (首里城前).
15-20 min bus ride from central Naha (Kokusaidori): take bus 1 and get off at Shurijo Koen Iriguchi (首里城公園入口).

Hours: 8:30 am - 7:00 pm (6:00 from December to March, 8:00 from July to September)
Days closed: First Wednesday and Thursday of July
Entrance fee: ¥820

Entrance gate to Shuri Castle

Outer gates of Shuri Castle

Outer gates of Shuri Castle

Outer gates of Shuri Castle

There were performances going on throughout the day:

Traditional performance outside entrance of main hall

The Seiden (main hall) of Shuri Castle

During a performance

During a performance

Outer gate of Shuri Castle

View of Naha City from view point in Shuri Castle grounds

Ryukyu Village (Ryukyu mura/琉球村)
Recreated village of traditional Okinawan culture from the Ryukyu Kingdom.
Central Okinawa Honto (about 30 km north of Naha)

Many traditional performances are held, as well as workshops being available for visitors to participate in pottery, weaving coasters, and painting small shisa statues. Visitors are also able to eat popular Okinawan cuisine and purchase various souvenirs.

Tip: You can also take a nice photo wearing a traditional Okinawan kimono and have it printed for you. We didn't know this and my family took pictures in kimonos at Shuri Castle, but it wasn't printed for them—personal cameras were used.

By public transportation:
From Naha Bus Terminal: take bus 120 and get off at Ryukyu Mura-mae (琉球村前). 80 minutes, ¥1070
From Naha Airport: take bus 120 and get off at Ryukyu Mura-mae (琉球村前). 90 minutes, ¥1160

Hours: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm (last entry at 5:00 pm)
Entrance fee: ¥1200

Sadly, I wasn't able to take many pictures as our time here was short, but I would definitely want to go back again!

Shisa protecting the entrance to the village

My silly Aunty!

Brown sugar Andagi SO NOMS

Manzamo (万座毛)
"A field for 10,000 people to sit"
near Onna Village (恩納村) in Kunigami District

Origin of name: The top of the cliff is big enough for 10,000 people to sit on, according to 18th century Ryukyuan king Sho Kei.

Address: Japan, 〒904-0411 Okinawa Prefecture, Kunigami District, 恩納村恩納2871
(I'm unsure if it is accessible by public transportation as it's pretty far up north. On the day we went, it seemed like everyone accessed it by car or tour bus.)

Churaumi Aquarium (Churaumi Suizokukan/美ら海水族館)
Northern Okinawan Honto

Widely regarded as Japan's best aquarium, famous for the Kuroshio Tank, one of the largest tanks in the world that includes giant whale sharks.

Unfortunately, I didn't take ANY pictures inside the aquarium. (I KNOW RIGHT, what's wrong with me?!) I was too interested in the beautiful view outside (that's all I took pictures of).

By public transportation:
Yanbaru Express Bus: Connects the airport and city center of Naha directly to Churaumi Aquarium. It takes a little over 2 hours and costs about ¥2,000. There are six round trips per day and in central Naha, you can get on from the Prefectural Office (県庁北口), Tomari Port and Furujima Station along the Yurail monorail among other locations.
By regular bus:  Bus 11 from Naha to Nago Bus Terminal:
90 minutes, ¥2100 from Naha Bus Center
105 minutes, ¥2190 from Naha Airport (1-2 buses per hour)
Then TRANSFER at Nago Bus Terminal to: Bus 70 to Kinen Koen-mae (記念公園前) in front of the Ocean Expo Park, 50 minutes, ¥880

The aquarium's official website provides more details:

Hours: 8:30 to 8:00 pm (6:30 pm from October to February)
Admission stops one hour before closing.
Days Closed: First Wednesday and Thursday of December
Admission fee: ¥1850 (¥1290 if you enter after 4:00 pm)

Okinawa is beautiful! It is regarded as Japan's Hawaii and I can definitely see why! We stayed in the southern part of the main island, in Itoman, and it seems like the northern part of the island is where most of the resorts and tourist attractions are. If I'm able to visit again, I'd want to just relax on the beach all day!

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Okinawa, check out Airbnb! They have great listings that are often less expensive than staying at a hotel and that offer a unique experience. Get $35 USD (or the equivalent in your country’s currency) off your first booking by clicking here and using my referral code.