Okinawa 101—All the information you need for a first-time trip to the islands
Visiting the islands of Okinawa for the first time is an exciting experience. Fully prepare for your trip by browsing the useful information below. From where to find free Wi-Fi and tax-free shopping to important information on natural disasters, all the essentials are covered here.
Visa & Immigration
Check whether you need a visa to travel to Japan and always travel on a valid passport with sufficient time remaining before the expiry date. While traveling in Okinawa, keep your passport with you at all times as you may be asked to present it for identification. If you lose your passport, file a report with the police, and contact the appropriate embassy.
Wi-Fi & Connectivity
Free Wi-Fi is available at most accommodations, at some tourist facilities, and in some urban areas. Check with your accommodation at the time of reservation regarding Wi-Fi availability. Okinawa Prefecture operates the free Wi-Fi service Be.Okinawa Free Wi-Fi. See the user guide [PDF: 30MB] for instructions and check the area map for locations.
For uninterrupted access to the internet, consider renting a mobile router or purchasing or renting a SIM card. Rates and packages vary from provider to provider and airport pick-ups and returns, as well as hotel deliveries, may be possible.
Currency & Currency Exchange
The currency in Japan is the Japanese yen (¥). Credit cards and contactless payment methods are generally widely accepted in urban areas, but many small shops and businesses in rural areas and on small islands will only accept cash. You can exchange currency at the airport, at certain ATMs, and exchange bureaus around the islands. If you are bringing cash with you, note that amounts exceeding 1 million Japanese yen need to be declared at customs.
Voltage & Plugs
When bringing electronic devices that require plugging in, make sure they are compatible with Japanese voltage specifications and electrical sockets. Japanese plugs are A type. The voltage is 100V, and the frequency is 60Hz.
Health & Insurance
Illness & Injury
If you fall ill or receive an injury and require urgent medical attention, go immediately to hospital or call 119 for an ambulance. For non-emergency illnesses and injuries, call the Be.Okinawa Medical Interpretation Contact Center. Hotline staff can advise you on where to get medical treatment and can refer you to clinics that offer services in foreign languages.
Be.Okinawa Medical Interpretation Contact Center: 0570-050-235
Languages available: English, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Tagalog, French, Nepali, Malaysian, Italian, German, Russian
Purchasing travel insurance that provides sufficient coverage and services can give you peace of mind in the event of an unexpected injury or illness during your trip. Hospital visits and emergency services can be very costly, so insurance is a wise precaution. See the Japan National Tourism Organization’s Guide for when you are feeling ill for more information on travel insurance and what to do in the event of an injury or illness.
For All Visitors
Okinawa welcomes all. Get the information you want, know where to get support if you need it, and find out about the wide array of services offered across the islands. Okinawa welcomes everybody to enjoy the rich beauty of its diverse islands.
Email or call the OKINAWA Multilingual Contact Center for tourist information, interpretation services, and assistance during your visit to Okinawa. Calls can be handled in five different languages including English.
Okinawa has a rich and diverse food culture with options to accommodate all visitors. There are a growing number of vegetarian restaurants and Halal-, vegetarian-, and vegan-friendly options across the islands. Some chain restaurants may display allergen information on their menus, but in most cases you will need to check directly with restaurant staff. Restaurants are increasingly able to cater to special dietary requirements, but in some cases may require advance reservations and notice. The materials below feature a point-to-communicate allergen chart and information on Halal and vegetarian options in Okinawa. For more information or help finding suitable dining options, visit the Barrier-Free OKINAWA website.
- Learn More
- OKINAWA Welcome Guide For
Muslim Visitors *2018 [PDF: 5.4MB] *contains allergen chart
- OKINAWA Travel Brochures: OKINAWA VEGETARIAN Guide Book
There are many handy apps available to make traveling in Japan and Okinawa easy. Browse the Japan National Tourism Organization’s list to discover navigation, sightseeing, and accommodation apps among others.
Visitors to Okinawa are eligible for tax exemption on many consumer goods. Most major retail outlets offer tax-free shopping and have service counters where you can get more information on eligibility and procedures. The Tax Free Shops in Okinawa website has a database of tax-free shops across the islands.
International travelers to Okinawa can purchase goods without having to pay duty at DFS inside the departures lounge at Naha Airport and at T Galleria Okinawa in downtown Naha. More information is available on the DFS / T GALLERIA website.
Prohibited & Restricted Items
Certain items cannot be brought into Japan or are restricted and subject to inspections. There are also regulations on certain items being transported within Okinawa or taken outside of Okinawa. These regulations mainly apply to animal products, produce, and plants and seedlings. Popular fruits and vegetables such as mangoes, papayas, goya (bitter gourd), and watermelons are not restricted.
In the event of an emergency, call the appropriate emergency service and do not worry about communication. All emergency calls are recorded and can be traced.
#110—Call the police to report an accident or crime.
#119—Call an ambulance or fire engine in case of a medical emergency or fire.
#118—Call the coast guard to report an accident or injury in the sea.
Typhoons are tropical cyclones and cause heavy rain, strong winds, and large waves. They typically affect Okinawa between June and September. It is important to check the weather before and during your trip, and to avoid going out during a typhoon.
Japan is a country prone to natural disasters including earthquakes and tsunamis. In the event of an earthquake, the most important thing is to stay calm, find a safe space, and crouch with your arms above your head to protect from falling objects. Once the earthquake subsides, check the latest disaster prevention information to see if there is a risk of a tsunami. If a tsunami warning is issued, make your way to high ground immediately. There are several apps and online resources that provide information on what to do in the event of a natural disaster.