Get answers to commonly asked questions about Okinawa
Browse frequently asked questions to help you plan your trip to Okinawa. From the weather and the climate to public transport and tax-free shopping, you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions here.
Know Before You Go
- Do people in Okinawa speak English?
Japanese is the main language spoken in Okinawa, but some people can speak English, too. Most large hotels and tourist facilities have English-speaking staff or can provide assistance in English using multilingual information or communication tools. It is a good idea to check what language assistance is available when booking hotels and planning excursions.
- Is tax-free shopping available in Okinawa?
Yes, many shops offer tax-free shopping. Visit Okinawa’s tax-free shopping website for more information. For duty-free shopping options, check the DFS site.
- Can I use electrical items that I bring with me in Okinawa?
Most electrical items can be used in Okinawa with the right plug adapter. In some cases, a transformer may be required for your device to function properly. The voltage used in Okinawa is AC100V and the frequency is 60Hz. Outlets use 2-pin plugs. Check the specifications of your electrical device for compatibility.
- What should I do in the event of an emergency?
Call 110 for the police, 119 for an ambulance or in the event of a fire, and 118 for the coast guard.
- Do I have to pay tips at restaurants and hotels?
No, tipping is not customary or commonly practiced in Japan. If you would like to offer a tip for something, however, please check with the staff first. Businesses may have rules against staff accepting tips.
- Where can I exchange money?
You can exchange money at Naha Airport, at locations on Kokusai Street, and at other popular tourist destinations. In addition to banks and traditional money exchangers, there are also ATMs that allow you to exchange money and/or make yen withdrawals from your home bank account.
- Where can I see the weather forecast and get important weather-related information for Okinawa?
Check the Japan Meteorological Agency website for all weather-related information
- Where can I find information about the climate in Okinawa?
Information about the climate is available on the Climate & Seasons page. The page also contains monthly guides with weather-related information and tips for each of the 12 months.
- When is the typhoon season?
Typhoons are most common in August and September but can occur anytime between June and October. While they can put a damper on outdoor activities, they are temporary and are generally followed by spells of exceptionally clear skies and good weather. Check typhoon updates and find more information on the Visit Okinawa typhoon information page.
- When is the rainy season?
The rainy season starts from early May and runs until late June. Rainy season information for previous years can be found in Japanese on the Japan Meteorological Agency (*only in Japanese) site.
Sightseeing & Getting Around
- Where can I get brochures and other tourist information on Okinawa?
You can download brochures from Okinawa Travel Brochures and pick up materials and other information at the tourist information center on the first floor of Naha Airport. If you would like information over the telephone before or during your trip, you can contact the Okinawa Multilingual Contact Center.
- Where can I find out about festivals and events happening in Okinawa?
Check the Visit Okinawa Events page for information on the different festivals and events taking place across Okinawa.
- How can I get around in Okinawa? What kind of transportation is available?
Buses, taxis, and rental vehicles including cars, motorcycles, and RVs are the main transportation options for getting around in Okinawa. On the main island there is also a monorail running through Naha and connecting Naha Airport in the south with the Shurijo Castle area in the north. Note that transportation options may be limited on some of the more remote islands, so check in advance and plan ahead.
- Is there anything I should be careful of when driving or renting a car in Okinawa?
If you plan on driving or renting a car in Okinawa, make sure to familiarize yourself with the traffic rules and road signs. It is also worth noting that some lanes are designated exclusively for buses. Be careful not to drive in bus lanes, or you may risk a fine. Check the Rental Vehicles in Okinawa page for more information on traffic rules and vehicle rental.
- Can I ride a taxi or bus with a stroller, wheelchair, or bicycle?
Yes, you can ride buses and taxis with a stroller, wheelchair, or bicycle. Large items such as these will need to be stowed in the trunks of taxis and collapsed on buses. Ask the driver if you need help or assistance.
- Where can I find bus route and timetable information?
Bus Map Okinawa has detailed information about riding buses in Okinawa, from maps and timetables to buying fares and how to board.