A 3-Day Journey Through Okinawa's Main Island
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.
The Beauty and Culture of the Yaeyama Islands
The Yaeyama Islands include Ishigaki, Taketomi, Kohama, Kuroshima, Hatoma, Aragusuku (Panari), Iriomote, Yubu, and Yonaguni islands. They lie at the very southern end of the Japanese archipelago, about 400 kilometers from Okinawa's main island. They are collectively regarded for their natural beauty, which includes gorgeous beaches and lush vegetation, as well as superb diving. The entire area has been designated a national park (Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park) to preserve it for future generations.
The culture of the Yaeyama Islands is also a standout feature of this part of Okinawa, and should not be overlooked. The region is famous for its rich musical heritage of song and dance, as well as idyllic villages like those on Taketomi Island, where time has seemingly stopped. Dig a little deeper into the traditional life of the islands to find a rich heritage that epitomizes a kind of ancient, primitive cultural beauty, parts of which can still be seen to this day.
Family Fun in Yambaru National Park
Home to the magnificent Yambaru National Park, the northern part of Okinawa Island is an area rich in natural beauty and rare wildlife. Spend an enjoyable day in this exciting part of Okinawa. Paddle a kayak through mangrove waterways, have lunch in a local diner where fresh-caught fish is always on the menu, and squeeze out the secret of health from the amazing shikuwasa (or shekwasha) fruit.
Far to the south of Japan's main islands, Okinawa is truly unique. The subtropical climate makes for incredible beaches and diverse flora and fauna, and this small island chain has developed a unique culture of its own.