A 3-Day Journey Through Okinawa’s Main Island
You do not have to leave the main island to experience the seaside beauty, natural wonder, enduring history and culture, and luxury offered in Okinawa
Okinawa offers nearly endless opportunities to explore the gorgeous landscapes, diverse nature, and unique island culture that sets it apart from other places in Japan. This three-day trip around Okinawa’s Main Island gives visitors the chance to experience its many charms at your own pace, stopping by the sights that interest you the most. Regardless of which places you add to your itinerary, you are sure to have an unforgettable time immersing yourself in the slower-paced Okinawan way of life.
*Driving times may change due to traffic, road conditions, and other factors.
Day 1: Seaside sightseeing fun for the whole family
Day 1 starts in Naha Airport, the gateway to the islands of Okinawa. Okinawa’s Main Island has plenty of public transportation options, but renting a car offers the most convenience and freedom for exploring all the island has to offer. Along this driving course, there are many attractive points that represent the magnificent scenery of Okinawa.
Chatan Mihama American Village
Chatan is one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan towns in Okinawa. It represents champuru culture, meaning diverse foreign cultures mixed together in Okinawa. In its diverse seaside resort area, American Village, you can find a variety of shops, restaurants, and activities. Surrounded by the colorful town and beautiful ocean, its unique scenery attracts many people, creating a vibrant atmosphere. Watching the sunset from the boardwalk is a must.
Blue Ocean Steak
Enjoy seaside views accompanied by high-quality Okinawan wagyu beef cooked to mouth-watering perfection. Succulent seafood and a kids’ menu is also available.
Taco Rice Cafe Kijimuna
Taco rice is a classic Okinawan comfort food that embodies the islands’ champuru culture, mixing Mexican taco meat with Japanese rice culture. Try the omutaco, taco rice topped with a fluffy Japanese-style omelet.
This restaurant is perfect for those who want something to grab and go. Sample authentic Okinawan onigiri rice balls with ingredients like egg, pork luncheon meat, spicy cod roe, and more.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Part of the massive 70-hectare Ocean Expo Park complex, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is a family-friendly, must-visit aquarium with a variety of marine life on display across its three floors. It is best known for its Kuroshio Tank, a massive water tank home to giant whale sharks, manta rays, and other striking aquatic creatures. Other highlights include daily feedings, dolphin shows, shark tanks, a manatee pool, and more!
Tropical Dream Center
Located within Ocean Expo Park, the Tropical Dream Center has five greenhouses full of beautiful plant life, including over 2,000 orchids, both tropical and subtropical flowers, and fruit trees.
Oceanic Culture Museum & Planetarium
The Oceanic Culture Museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the maritime people in the Pacific including Okinawa. It contains over 750 maritime items, and the planetarium shows you the beautiful starry sky of Okinawa.
Bise Fukugi Tree Avenue
Rent a bicycle and cruise along the Bise Fukugi Tree Avenue, a kilometer-long cycling path that leads to Cape Bise under a canopy of evergreen fukugi trees. Rental cycles are a convenient and pleasant way to explore Okinawa’s beautiful landscapes.
The Nakijin-jo Site is part of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Ryukyu Kingdom, which were designated Cultural World Heritage in 2000. Here you can view traditional construction methods that used ancient Ryukyu limestone.
Neo Park Okinawa
Neo Park Okinawa is a family-friendly facility dedicated to the concept of humans coexisting with plants and animals. With over 100 species of wildlife, the facility offers the opportunity to get up close to rare and beautiful animals from around the world.
Surrounded by beautiful greenery and sparkling blue seas, you can enjoy unparalleled rest and relaxation at the luxurious Kanucha Resort. Host to many activities and events, relaxation options like early morning yoga, an 18-hole golf course, seven different restaurants, and more, this expansive resort offers an unforgettable stay for couples, families, and groups.
Hilton Okinawa Sesoko Resort
Beachfront resort next to pristine Sesoko Beach. Enjoy access to marine sports, kayaking and trekking in nature-rich Yambaru National Park. UNESCO World Heritage Nakijin-jo Site is about 20 minutes away by car.
Away Okinawa Kouri Island Resort
Each of the 38 suites in this hilltop resort on beautiful Kouri Island commands incredible views of the surrounding countryside and emerald green sea. Relax by the outdoor pool, and enjoy authentic Italian cuisine at the in-house restaurant.
Day 2: Make the most of nature with unforgettable outdoor experiences
Kanucha Resort Okinawa
Higashi-son Fureai Hirugi Park
Higashi-son Fureai Hirugi Park is the gateway to the Yanbaru region in the northern part of the main island. Here, visitors can explore the rare ecosystems, unique wildlife, and beautiful landscapes found in Yambaru National Park. Journey through lush hirugi mangrove forests, a designated National Monument that gives the park its name. Enjoy a guided kayak tour down the Gesashi River, or a stroll along a trail of elevated boardwalks around Gesashi Bay.
Yanbaru Eco Field SHIMAKAZI
Yanbaru Eco Field SHIMAKAZI also offers exciting outdoor adventures exploring the mangrove forests of the Yanbaru area. Their three-hour kayaking tour takes visitors downriver, all the way to the sea. Tour groups meet in Higashi-son Fureai Hirugi Park.
Yanbaru Adventure Field
Yanbaru Adventure Field offers a wealth of fun activities such as ziplining, a coffee garden tour, a buggy tour, and outdoor barbecue. It even has a lodge for those who want to stay overnight.
- Related site (*only in Japanese)
- Google Maps
Nago Agri Park
Nago Agri Park delivers health, beauty, and longevity from Okinawa. It has a restaurant serving local specialties like shabu-shabu hot pot with Okinawan vegetables, a laboratory to make processed products, a cafe, and a shop selling local goods and produce. it is the perfect pit stop in between sightseeing.
Chura Hana offers slow-cooked Okinawan dishes like rafute stewed pork, boneless ribs, and the classic goya champuru, a traditional stir fry dish with bitter melon.
Matayoshi Tourist Farm Restaurant
Matayoshi Tourist Farm Restaurant is a family restaurant that uses farm-fresh ingredients in classic dishes, like Agu pork curry, wagyu hamburg steak, Okinawan soba, and more.
THE BUSENA TERRACE Cafe Terrace "La Tida"
Enjoy a seasonal buffet and delicious a-la-carte menus at this open-air restaurant overlooking the beautiful Okinawan seaside.
Busena Marine Park
Busena Marine Park is a place where visitors can explore the mysterious world beneath the waves along the coast near Nago. Beyond its beautiful beach, pools, and terraces, Busena Marine Park also has glass-bottom boat cruises where you can witness tropical fish swimming among beautiful coral, and an underwater observatory. The only facility of its kind in Okinawa, this tower offers a 360-degree view of the sea five meters deep.
Cape Manzamo is one of the most beautiful spots along the Onna Coast. Stroll along the grassy fields atop a rugged seaside cliff to soak in views of the beautiful blue Okinawan sea.
Onna no Eki Nakayukui Market
Onna no Eki Nakayukui Market is a great place to make a pit stop, pick up some snacks or enjoy a meal, and shop for local produce and Okinawan souvenirs.
This beautiful beachside resort overlooks the East China Sea. In addition to its luxurious ocean-view rooms, the resort offers a wide variety of marine activities, dolphin programs, and traditional Okinawan performing arts. With restaurants featuring anything you might crave, from sushi to barbecue, traditional Okinawa cuisine, and French fusion, you won’t have to leave the premises.
Hotel Nikko Alivila Yomitan Resort Okinawa
This resort offers a sensory stay along the sea in Yomitan. Beyond the spacious, sea-view rooms, Hotel Nikko Alivila offers a host of outdoor experiences that take full advantage of Okinawa’s nature. Dine at your choice of four restaurants.
Day 3: A deep dive into the history, culture, and sights of Naha
Renaissance Okinawa Resort
Shurijo Castle Park
Your journey into the vibrant city of Naha begins with a visit to the heart of the Ryukyu Kingdom: Shurijo Castle. Shurijo Castle is one of the Gusuku Sites that was awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 2000, and a stroll through the castle park gives visitors the chance to imagine what life was like for the royal family. Use the multilingual On the Trip app for deeper insights into the history of the Ryukyu Kingdom and the structures along the way.
Tama-udun mausoleum is the final resting place for the royal family of the Ryukyu Kingdom’s second Sho Dynasty. This National Treasure is an enduring example of traditional Ryukyuan architecture, and the heritage of ancient Okinawa.
Shikinaen Royal Garden
Shikinaen Royal Garden is a garden fit for royalty. It was originally constructed as a villa for the Sho Dynasty, and contains many unique architectural elements, as well as beautiful seasonal plants like apricot and cherry trees.
The bustling Kokusai Street is a 1.6-kilometer-long stretch of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, and more in downtown Naha. Strolling around can easily take several hours if you take your time. Thanks to its central location, it is a good place to grab some lunch before heading to some of the city’s other sights, or making your way to the airport. You can access the area from either the Prefectural Office Station, or Makishi Station.
Tubarama serves traditional dishes like roasted or stewed Agu pork, umibudo (literally “sea grapes”) seaweed, goya champuru stir fry, and more, accompanied by performances of the sanshin, Okinawa’s traditional stringed instrument.
First Makishi Public Market
First Makishi Public Market is your one-stop-shop for fresh and delicious Okinawan food. The second story of the market has several restaurants with dining options sure to satisfy any craving.
Sam’s Sailor Inn
Sam’s is an Okinawan restaurant group serving different types of cuisine across the main island. The Sailor Inn is a nautical-themed teppanyaki restaurant serving seafood and steak, with a delicious menu matched only by its fun atmosphere.
Tsuboya Yachimun Street
Tsuboya Yachimun Street is the perfect place to immerse yourself in Okinawa’s unique pottery tradition with shops selling authentic yachimun wares, a museum to experience its history, and studios offering pottery workshops.
Naha City Traditional Arts and Crafts Center
The Naha City Traditional Arts and Crafts Center is a short walk from Kokusai Street. It offers hands-on experiences with many of the islands’ most enduring artforms. Try traditional weaving, pottery making, glass blowing, and more.
Naha Airport is easy to access from Kokusai Street. If you still have some time before your flight, there are still plenty of exciting sightseeing and shopping opportunities near the airport!
Senagajima Umikaji Terrace
With about 40 shops and restaurants, it is a great place to grab a bite to eat and do some last minute souvenir shopping before your return flight.
DMM Kariyushi Aquarium
DMM Kariyushi Aquarium is Okinawa’s second largest aquarium, full of family-friendly fun and educational exhibits. Discover this new entertainment aquarium that combines the latest visual expression and spatial representation.
Okinawa Outlet Mall Ashibinaa
Another great place to do some sightseeing and shopping before a return flight, Ashibinaa is an enormous outlet mall selling over 100 well-known Japanese and global brands at discount prices.