Okinawa Island is best known for its white sandy beaches, diving and snorkelling, lovely local restaurants, shopping, Underwater Observatory and best of all, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Even though there’s a large Bus network and available Taxis, I found the best way to get around the sights and attractions is by driving.
With my International Drivers Licence along with local Licence on hands, I hired a car that had an English speaking Navigation System installed which made it easy to get around. All you do is tap in the telephone number or code (list of codes available on sightseeing pamphlets and flyer given by the car rental company) of the sight you wish to visit then you’ll be on your way! Traffic can get heavier during morning and afternoon peak times but no matter which one of the large variety of hotels and resorts you choose from, you won’t ever be far away.
Be sure to have your camera ready as every stop is full of fun and discoveries.
BEACHES, DIVING & SNORKELLING: The Okinawan Ocean is home to one of the largest colonies of Coral Reef in the world. Sunabe Point (diving & beach), Maeda Point (snorkelling & diving), Onna Point (diving) and Seragaki Point (snorkelling & beach) are just some of the popular spots divers & swimmers choose. Naha City’s Naminoue Beach is also popular.
RESTAURANTS: Kokusai Street, Chatan Town, Ginowan City as well as many other areas around Okinawa have some fabulous restaurants to tickle anyone’s taste buds.
SHOPPING: Kokusai Street runs for 1.6Km/1mile in the centre of Naha and is lined with many souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels and also a marketplace called Makishi Kousetsu Ichiba. Typical souvenirs include Pottery (Shisa lion-dog), Lacquerware, Textiles and Glassware. There’s also a large variety of sweet and savoury delicacies that are well packed for travellers. Gate 2 Street is the place to go for imported clothing, custom-made attire and the latest fashions. Mihama American Village in Chatan Town also has some shops as well as other amenities, including a giant Ferris wheel.
BUSENA UNDERWATER OBSERVATORY: Located at the tip of the pier near Bankoku Shinryokan in Nago City. Visitors can observe the marine environment in its natural habitat.
OKINAWA CHURAUMI AQUARIUM: Home to a large variety of Sharks, Sting Rays and exotic fish. The tank is 35M long, 27M wide and 10M deep. There are some informative shows, in Japanese, and opportunities to get your hands wet and handle some of the Starfish.
Name: Maryanne Atalakis
Current section: Leader of Reservation and Ticketing, Sydney Office
(1) Mihama American Village
Address: 16 Mihama, Chantan-cho, Nakagami-Gun, Okinawa (Zip code: 904-0115)
(2) Busena Underwater Observatory
Address: Busena Marine Park, 1744-1 Kise, Nago-shi, Okinawa
From April to October: 9:00-18:00 (last admission: 17:30);
From November to March: 9:00-17:30 (last admission: 17:00)
(3) Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Address: 424, Ishikawa, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa
March to September: 8:30 -20:00 (Last admission 19:00);
October to February: 8:30 - 18:30 (Last admission 17:30);
Closed on the first Wednesday and the following day (Thursday) of December