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Introducing Motobu peninsula

Jutting out to the northwest of Nago, the hilly peninsula of Motobu (Motobu-hontō) is home to some scenic vistas, islets and decent beaches, as well as an incredibly popular aquarium. Motobu peninsula is served by frequent loop lines from Nago – buses 66 and 65 respectively run anticlockwise and clockwise around the peninsula.

A couple of kilometres north of Motobu town is the Ocean Expo Park (海洋博公園), the centrepiece of which is the wonderful Okinawa Chiraumi Aquarium. The aquarium is built around the world's largest aquarium tank, which houses a fantastic variety of fish including whale sharks. Unfortunately, this place is on the checklist of every single tourist to the island, and it can be packed. From Nago, buses 65, 66 and 70 run directly to the park (¥860, 50 minutes).

About 1km north of the aquarium is the quaintly preserved village of Bise (備瀬), a leafy community of traditional Okinawan houses along a beach. An atmospheric lane lined with old garcinia trees (フクギ並木) is perfect for strolling, and a few shops sell sea-shell crafts. Near the lane's southern end, Cahaya Bulan is a relaxing cafe with noodle dishes such as ajian-soba (Asian-style soba; ¥800) and a patio with views of Ie-jima.

If you're after natural attractions and have your own wheels, we recommend a drive out to Kōri-jima (古字利島) via Yagaji-jima (屋我地島). The bridge between the two islands is surrounded by picturesque turquoise water, and there's a decent beach on either side of the road as you reach Kōri-jima. The bridge to Yagaji-jima starts just north of the Motobu peninsula off Rte 58.