Okinawa & the Southwest Islands attractions

Top Choice Beach 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 you've o…
Top Choice Castle 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 go …
Top Choice Museum 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 survivo…
Top Choice Museum in Southern Okinawa-hontō

Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum

The centrepiece of the Peace Memorial Park is the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, which focuses on the suffering of the Okinawan people during the invasion of the island and under the subsequent American …
Top Choice Museum 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 bil…
Top Choice Market in Naha

Daichi Makishi Kōsetsu Ichiba

In Naha, a great place to sample everyday Okinawan eats is at one of the 2nd-floor eateries at Daichi Makishi Kōsetsu Ichiba, the covered food market just off Ichibahon-dōri, about 200m south of Kokusai-dōri. The co…
Top Choice Beach in Aka-jima

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; if…
Top Choice Beach in Zamami-jima

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 toilets, …
Top Choice Landmark 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 from t…
Top Choice Beach 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 Ch…