Three hundred miles south off the coast of mainland Japan lies an island once known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. This enchanting place, so different from Japan, has its own language, culture and food. Made up of a chain of islands in the Pacific, Okinawa boasts endless visual hangovers.
Okinawa stole my heart and I lost my fears, anxiety and depression in the warm waters as I let the place sweep me away. I lived on Okinawa for three years and during my staycation on this beautiful sub-tropical paradise I captured some of the most amazing photos I have in my collection. How I didn’t do this before it a mystery to me, but here’s some photo-spiration and an excuse to visit Okinawa.
As my all time favorite island, Tokashiki’s beauty never gets old. It’s my favorite hot spot in the summer and the least popular tourist destination on Okinawa. Located 30 kilometers away from Naha, you’d be missing out big time not to travel here. I love this island so much, I even made a guide to help you navigate like a pro and a native.
Another one of the most beautiful outer islands lies Aka. (Tell the legend of Aka and Geruma here.) With white sand beaches and no one to bother you as you explore them, why haven’t you jumped on your scooter from Zamami to get here?
This photo was taken from a pension on the island. Accessible by an incredibly scenic bridge and located on the eastern side of the Okinawa island, Ikei should be high on your destination list. The water is cleaner and clearer and less populated.
Route 10 Bridge
If you thought Ikei was stunning, check out the bridge that gets you there. Cars often stop for scenic views and great selfies.
Part of the chain of island the 10 Bridge will take you to, lies Hamahiga island. There’s not much going on in terms of a party, but you’ll have the best party of your life with your eyes.
This was taken while a driver was hosing down his water buffalo. It looks like the animal is enjoying the cool water and a friendly touch.
Another of my all time favorites, this was taken on the ferry to Zamami Island. The day was a bit cloudy, but I was able to capture this as the sun came out.
Sunabe Sea Wall
I once wrote on my blog how whenever the sun set on Okinawa that it would set the ocean on fire with its glory. Is this proof enough?
If you think you’ve found the stairway to heaven, think again. How about this little staircase that leads to a private beach into a romantic ocean?
Nago Cherry Blossoms
Okinawa’s cherry blossoms are special. They’re incredibly beautiful because of their dark pink hues and that they blossom in January instead of April.
Located in the heart of Naha and rebuilt many times throughout the years, stands the proud and unique Shuri Castle. Once upon a time, Okinawa was the Ryukyu Kingdom and reigned as an island nation.
This free show is sometimes given at the Shuri Castle so if you have some time to look, I highly suggest becoming entranced by the traditional dancing.
This beautiful part of Okinawa’s culture showcases the taiko drums, sanshin (Okinawa’s snake skin banjo) and singing. Every summer there are festivals dedicated to these traditional dances. Fun fact, every city or village of Okinawa has their own unique colors for their traditional clothes.
Okinawa has no shortage of things to do. Did you know, tucked away in the North lies a beautiful waterfall that’s only a 40 minute hike?
Churaumi Botanical Gardens
While the awesome whale sharks makes waves through the media, have you ever walked the grounds to discover the beautiful gardens and what they have to offer? 😉
Yomitan Village Festival
One of my favorite photos ever taken, this is the ship that parades around the village every year and reenacts the story of one Yomitan Villager who helped open up trade with China. This majestic Shinkosen ship is paraded through the grounds of the village office and is accompanied by men and women dressed in traditional Okinawan clothes. You definitely don’t want to miss this.
Located in beautiful Yomitan, what more could you possibly ask for? This small beach is relatively unknown and popular for low tide and seashell collecting. #yesplease
Sunset in Yomitan
Many locals will tell you that Yomitan is the most beautiful place on Okinawa and if you’re not convinced, I don’t know what to tell you.
If you think the name is hard, luckily, finding this photogenic spot is not. This amazing view overlooking the east side of the island can be easily found from the top floor of the Rycom Mall.
What would life be if we had no delicious food to make our mouths water? 😉 The sushi is from Kami Sushi in American Village and the delicious completely vegetarian curry set is from my all time favorite place in the world, Dechibica.
So what are you waiting for? When you you plan to wanderlust over to Okinawa? Which place would you visit first?