Resort

Japan,
Okinawa

Introduction

Just under three hours in the air from Tokyo, a chain of subtropical islands known as Okinawa lives at its own pace. Japan's most southerly region is home to unspoilt coral reefs and sandy beaches as well as a unique food and drink scene. However, what really sets it apart is its smiley, laid-back inhabitants.

More from Okinawa PDF Version

Essentials

  1. Bicycle rental is available at almost every hotel.
  2. Explore. Jump on a boat or plane and hop among the 150 islands scattered across a 560km expanse of sea.
  3. Eat a pineapple. Okinawa is home to hundreds of farms dedicated to the art of producing the perfect pineapple.
  4. Become a black belt. The islands are the birthplace of ‘te’, a traditional martial art that evolved into karate.
  5. Dip beneath the surface. Parrotfish, barracudas and mantarays can be found in its clear blue waters, not to mention the odd Second World War shipwreck.

Two-hour tour

  • Naha City Tourism Association — Naha machi ma-i offers over two dozen guided tours of up to four-and-a-half hours for ¥1,000 (€7). Subjects include the city's unique pottery scene, history and local markets and foods. (English guide availability has to be confirmed in advance.)

    2-17-12-501 Makishi, Naha City

    +81 98 860 5780

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Hotels

  • Independent and easy

    Minshuku Izumiya

    Taketomi-cho, Taketomi Jima, Yaeyama Islands

    +81 98 85 2250

  • Dependable chain

    ANA Intercontinental

    Ishigaki Resort, 354-1 Maesato, Ishigaki

    +81 98 0887 111

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  • Premium

    The Ritz-Carlton Okinawa

    1343-1 Kise, Nago City

    +81 98 0435 555

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Dining

  • Fast breakfast

    Boulangerie Couques

    1817-5 Namihira, Yomitanson, Nakagami-gun

    +81 98 9580 172

  • Healthy organic lunch

    Bio Cafe Seiryusha

    Furugen 851-2, Yomitanson, Nakagami-gun

    +81 98 9564 000

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  • Lunch with a sea view

    Café Curcuma

    1190 Chinen aza Chinen, Nanjo City

    +81 98 9491 189

  • Afternoon tea

    Chadokoro Makabe China

    223 Makabe, Itoman City

    +81 98 9973 207

  • Awamori bar

    Tsukinohama

    101-1 Maeganeku, Onnason, Kunigami gun

    +81 98 9825 301

  • Big dinner with friends

    Akatafu

    1-37 Akata-cho, Shuri, Naha City

    +81 98 8845 543

  • Late bite

    Kijimunaa

    2F, 2-3-1 Tomari, Naha City

    +81 98 8615 383

  • Drink after dinner

    Mafali Café

    2F, 1-1-3 Asato Naha City

    +81 98 894 4031

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  • Late drinks

    Bekkan Celluloid

    2F, 3-8-25 Makishi, Naha City

    +81 98 8624 969

  • Craft bakery

    Suien

    367 Zakimi, Yomitanson, Nakagami gun

    +81 98 958 3239

Reading

  • Books and magazines

    Tsutaya

    4-2-8 Omoromachi, Naha City

    +81 98 8601 316

Shopping

  • Lost luggage - where to buy shirts

    Okinawa Mitsukoshi

    2-2-30 Makishi, Naha City

    +81 98 8625 111

  • Something you can't get anywhere else

    Omiyage souvenirs — Wander beneath an old-fashioned shopping arcade in the main market on Ishigaki, one of the Yaeyama islands, for tropical omiyage souvenirs ranging from sugared fruits, sea salt and shells to herb teas, pearls and traditional island textiles.

  • Something for someone you love

    Handmade silver jewellery from Kanzeiku Matayoshi

    2-23-1 Shuri Ishiminecho, Naha City

    +81 98 8847 301

  • Something for yourself

    Traditional "bingata" textiles - and try coral dying some fabrics yourself - at Shuri-Ryusen

    1-54 Shuri Yamakawacho, Naha City

    +81 98 886 1131

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Basics

  • Essentials

    Nakaoji Pharmacy

    1-3-21 Izumisaki, Naha City

    +81 98 8616 402

Transport

  • The Churashima ticket — Japan Transocean Air and its subsidiary, Ryukyu Air Commuter, operate flights between islands from Naha and Ishigaki. Alternatively, charter a plane or helicopter. Ferries run regularly from Naha to the islands.

    Visit website

Limousine/car

  • Car Rental

    ToCoo! — Cars can be collected at several locations in Okinawa, including Naha Airport.

    Visit website

Fitness

  • Karate

    Okinawan Prefectural Budokan — Head to the Okinawan Prefectural Budokan, three floors of martial arts training rooms set in a park that are open to visitors.

    Onoyama Koen, 52 Onoyamacho, Naha City

    +81 988 582 700

Monocle 24

× Culture

  • Monocle culture editor Robert Bound takes an international look at the latest in film, music and the arts. Plus – weekly Midori House music sessions.
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