Located at the southernmost point of Japan, Okinawa Prefecture is a group of 160 islands including uninhabited islands which occupy an area of the sea that spreads 1000km from east to west and 400km from north to south. Due to its subtropical climate, it is warm throughout the year, and along with the beautiful sea, there are many examples of untouched nature such as colorful tropical fish, coral reefs and primeval forests. Numerous historical heritage areas from the age of the Ryukyuan Kingdom which have been registered as World Heritage sites must not be missed. Also you will want to visit war relics that dot Okinawa which was once a World War II battlefield.
Manza and Busena Beaches on the main island of Okinawa and outlying islands such as Ishigaki and Miyakojima are popular. There are 9 places which have been registered as one collective World Heritage site, the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu. Along with the 5 castles including Shuri Castle and the remains of Nakijin Castle, there are 4 related facilities such as Sefa-utaki which is a symbolic sacred ground for Okinawa and the villa for the Ryukyuan royal family, Shikina-en. There are also theme parks on the main island such as Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and Ryukyu Village. Himeyuri Peace Museum and the Cornerstone of Peace which relate the events of the war are also well worth visiting.
Okinawan cuisine includes taco rice, goya chanpuru and Okinawa soba. Sata andagi and chinsuko are notable confections in the prefecture. It is also an Okinawan custom to have snacks such as the delicacy of mimiga (pig ears) and fermented tofu while drinking it down with awamori liquor and Orion Beer.
Visitors from Tokyo will usually go by plane to Okinawa. It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach Okinawa’s Naha Airport from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport with direct flights to Ishigaki and Miyako Airports on the outlying islands taking about 3 hours and 30 minutes. Planes and boats are used to travel from the main island to the other islands. There is convenient transportation within the main island with a monorail in the Naha area, and local buses and rental cars covering the entire area.
There are of course accommodations in the central area of Okinawa, Naha Airport and within Naha itself, with resort hotels ranging from Yomitan Village to Busena on the west coast and around Churaumi Aquarium. Many hotels also populate other islands such as Ishigaki and Miyakojima.