Top ChoiceBeach in Miyako-jima

Sunayama Beach

Just 4km north of the Hirara district of Miyakojima city, you'll find this little, archetypally tropical Japan beach, which lies at the bottom of a large sand dune (hence the name 'Sand Mountain Beach'). If...

Top ChoiceCastle in Naha

Shuri-jō

This reconstructed castle was originally built in the 14th century and served as the administrative centre and royal residence of the Ryūkyū kingdom until the 19th century. Enter through the Kankai-mon (歓会門) and...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Southern Okinawa-hontō

Himeyuri Peace Museum

Located above a cave that served as an emergency field hospital during the closing days of the Battle of Okinawa, the Himeyuri Peace Museum is a haunting monument whose mission is to promote peace, driven by...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Naha

Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum

Opened in 2007, this museum of Okinawa's history, culture and natural history is easily one of the best museums in Japan. Displays are well laid out, attractively presented and easy to understand, with excellent...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Southern Okinawa-hontō

Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum

The centrepiece of the Peace Memorial Park focuses on the suffering of the Okinawan people during the island's invasion and under the subsequent American Occupation. While some material may stir debate, the...

Top ChoiceMarket in Naha

Daichi Makishi Kōsetsu Ichiba

In Naha, a great place to sample everyday Okinawan eats is at one of the 2nd-floor eateries in this covered food market just off Ichibahon-dōri, about 200m south of Kokusai-dōri. The colourful variety of fish and...

Top ChoiceBeach in Aka-jima

Nishibama Beach

Nishibama Beach

Lovely beaches fringe every side of the island, but for sheer postcard-perfect beauty, it's hard to beat the 1km stretch of white sand on the northeast coast known as Nishibama Beach. It can be crowded in summer;...

Top ChoiceBeach in Zamami-jima

Furuzamami Beach

Furuzamami Beach

Approximately 1km southeast from the port (over the hill) is this stunning 700m stretch of white sand, fronted by clear, shallow water and a bit of coral. The beach is well developed for day trippers, with...

Top ChoiceLandmark in Yakushima

Jōmon-sugi

This enormous yakusugi tree is estimated to be between 3000 and 7000 years old, and though no longer living, it remains a majestic sight. Most hikers reach the tree via the 19.5km, eight to 10-hour round trip...

Top ChoiceBeach in Ishigaki-jima

Sunset Beach

At the north end of the island, on the west coast, you will find this long strip of sand with a bit of offshore reef. As the name implies, this is one of the island's best spots to watch the sun set into the East...

Top ChoiceBeach in Iriomote-jima

Ida-no-hama

From Shirahama, at the western end of the north coast road, there are four daily boats (¥500) to the isolated settlement of Funauki. Once there, it's a mere 10-minute walk on to the absolutely gorgeous Ida-no-hama.

Top ChoiceArea in Naha

Tsuboya Pottery Street

Tsuboya Pottery Street

One of the best parts of Naha is this neighbourhood, a centre of ceramic production from 1682, when Ryūkyū kilns were consolidated here by royal decree. Most shops along this old-timey street sell all the popular...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Tanegashima

Space Science & Technology Museum

Reopened in 2017 after an extensive re-design, Tanegashima's Space Centre, on the spectacular southeastern coast of the island, is a large parklike complex with rocket-launch facilities. Its Space Science &...

Top ChoiceHistoric Building in Kume-jima

Former Uezu Residence

Built around 1750, this traditional Ryūkyūan dwelling was the former home of Kume-jima's dominant clan, the Uezu family. Lovingly maintained and set amid a beautiful subtropical garden, the grounds of this open...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Yoron-tō

Yoron Minzoku-mura

At the island's southeastern tip, the excellent Yoron Minzoku-mura is a collection of traditional thatch-roofed island dwellings and storehouses that contain exhibits on the island's culture and history. If at...

Top ChoiceBeach in Ishigaki-jima

Kabira Bay

Kabira-wan is a sheltered bay with white-sand shores and a couple of interesting clumplike islets offshore. Swimming is not allowed in the bay, as pearls are cultivated here, but there's no shortage of...

Museum in Southern Okinawa-hontō

Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters

Directly south of Naha in Kaigungo-kōen is the Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, where 4000 men committed suicide or were killed as the Battle of Okinawa drew to its bloody conclusion. Only 250m of...

Aquarium in Motobu Peninsula

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

The centrepiece of Motobu's Ocean Expo Park (海洋博公園) is the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, which features the world's largest aquarium tank. The aquarium houses a wide variety of marine life, including whale sharks....

Beach in Miyako-jima

Yonaha-Maehama Beach

On the southwest coast, beautiful Yonaha-Maehama is a 6km stretch of white sand that attracts a lot of families and young folk due to its shallow waters. It's a lovely beach, but it can get crowded, and the...

Park in Amami-Ōshima

Ōhama Seaside Park

With forest rolling down to white sand and turquoise water, the Ōhama Seaside Park complex is best known for its lovely beach, which is popular for swimming, snorkelling, sea kayaking and fishing. As it's the...