Getty Images


Flattened during WWII, the prefectural capital of Naha (那覇) is now a thriving urban center that looks like most other tidy, small-to-medium Japanese cities, except for the frequent splashes of leafy green, rows of palm trees, or glimpses of azure waters from between the modern high-rises, which make up Naha's rapidly expanding skyline.

The city plays host to an interesting mix of young Japanese holidaymakers, American GIs looking for off-base fun and a growing number of foreign tourists. The action centers on Kokusai-dōri (International Blvd), and overlooking it all from a safe distance to the east is Shuri-jō, a wonderfully restored castle that was once the home of Ryūkyū royalty.

Thankfully, Naha's unique elevated monorail, the Yui Rail, makes getting around a breeze, because driving here can be quite the nightmare: despite its size, Naha's traffic jams make for slow going.

Explore Naha

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Naha.


Learn more about Naha

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.