Second only to Naha, Okinawa is the second largest city in the Okinawa Prefecture. Famous for its sultry weather, sun-drenched beaches and world-class scuba diving, the archipelago is one of Japan’s top tourist destinations.
Things to do in Okinawa
More than 35% of Okinawa City is occupied by a United States military base, which means there’s a lively expat scene to soak up. Most of the action is in Chatan, a popular district packed with restaurants, bars and Western-style shops.
If you want to cool off head down to Sunset Beach, just a stone’s throw from the Mihama American Village. It’s a great place to swim, top up your tan and of course, watch the sunset.
Park Avenue is another popular strip, with plenty of places to enjoy an ice cold Orion beer. For something a little more authentic, the Awase neighbourhood is brimming with Izakaya pubs, Okinawan noodle houses and Japanese street stalls.
For music lovers, Okinawa is a fascinating city. After it was returned to Japan in 1972, the city exploded with sound and energy. This fuelled the creation of Okinawan pop, which blends American rock with traditional Okinawan folk. Soak up the lively ambience at the bars, clubs and live music venues that line Gate 2 and BC Streets.
Getting around Okinawa
Okinawa is serviced by an efficient local bus network, running to Chatan, Sunset Beach, Gate 2 Street and other popular areas. The city is 20 kilometres north of Naha, with the drive taking around 40 minutes. Local buses also make the trip in just over one hour.