With its mild climate, unique and colourful history and friendly people, the land once known as the Ryukyu Kingdom but now known as Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan, is a fascinating destination for sightseers. With its location in the sunny subtropics and breathtaking natural resources, Okinawa has also gained a well-earned reputation amongst sports lovers for thrilling outdoor activities.
Let’s start at the water
With more than 160 inhabited and uninhabited islands, Okinawa’s crystal clear oceans are one of its most noticeable features. From north to south, from Island to Island, the charms of the beaches and coastlines are as varied as they are numerous. While finding a space on a beach is not a problem, the true rewards are in the water.
The main island of Okinawa has beautiful resorts where thrill seekers may enjoy jet skiing, fly boarding and more while the very young or the simply curious can explore a living reef in a glass bottom boat. To the southwest of the main island of Okinawa are the world famous diving and snorkelling sites, the Kerama Islands and the Yaeyama Islands. Both are easily accessible island groups where participants can swim with sea turtles or hammerhead sharks. Divers may also visit the ancient and mysterious underwater “ruins” of Yonaguni Island that have been the subject of television documentaries.
Okinawa’s geography includes everything from ancient limestone caves to verdant forests and mountain trails. Beautiful and rare species of birds and other animals inhabit several national parks and other forested areas. On both Okinawa’s main island and the exotic outer islands, trekking, hiking and other exploring options abound. On many of Okinawa’s peaceful inland waterways, kayaking and SUP tours are available down rivers or past mangrove forests.
Bring your hiking shoes to Okinawa… And, don’t forget your swimsuit!