Aside from being the birthplace of Karate-do, Okinawa is a stunning destination that is dotted with sakura trees, serene islands, summer festivals, and historical attractions. With a number of sights and sounds you can experience, it’s about time we shift the focus on Okinawa right now!
1. Be the first to experience the cherry blossom season
Credit: Pedro Cambra via Flickr
While Tokyo and Kyoto’s cherry blossom season begin in late March or mid-April, the pretty sakura in Okinawa bloom as early as January! The cherry blossoms here are called the Hikan-Zakura and are mostly found in Yanbaru on northern Okinawa. Unlike the softer shades of sakura in other parts of Japan, the Hikan-Zakura carries a brighter shade of pink and a bell-like shape.
2. Unwind at their stunning beaches
With a wealth of islands surrounding Okinawa, it’s hard to resist planning a beach vacation here. Coupled with lapping waves and white sands, let its beauty wash your worries away. Busana Beach, Miyakojima, Manza Beach, Okuma Beach, and Mibaru Beach are some of the amazing paradises you should visit when you’re here! Remember to pack some snacks and sushi for a lovely seaside picnic – you’d definitely want to soak in the water and bask in the sun all day
3. Explore their famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Credit: Connie Ma via Flickr
If you have a secret goal to visit as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible, Okinawa has eight sites! Beaming with cultural and historical values, spending some time to explore these sites will definitely reward you immensely. Plan accordingly and discover the stories behind Shuri Castle, Gusuku, Nakagusuku Castle, Katsuren Castle, Zakimi Castle, Tamaudun, Nakijin Castle, and Sefa-utaki.
4. Buy vintage clothes from Okinawa’s Little America
Whisk yourself to the Land of the Free at Okinawa’s life-sized version of Little America. Called the Mihama American Village, this charming spot is surrounded by American military bases, which explains the unusual pop-up of this little town in Okinawa. Walk around the boulevard on any good day and escape to the American vintage and retail shops, hip restaurants, and movie theater. The highlight of Mihama is the giant ferris wheel that shadows the town as well as the Sunset Beach that is located a stone’s throw away.
Continue reading my published article on Have Halal Will Travel.