Naha - Japan Travel Guide - Japanspecialist


The relaxed capital of the Okinawa Islands.

About Naha
Naha is the largest city in the Okinawa Islands, which are located hundreds of miles south of the rest of Japan. It is warm, sunny and inviting all year round. Okinawa has had a changing relationship with Japan - the islands have been independent as well as under Chinese and American rule. However, the changing national affiliation has not had much impact on the Okinawa residents themselves. They are and always have been their own, with a unique and very rich culture.

Completely different from other Japanese cities
Naha is Okinawa's capital. It is a big city but still has a cosy, small-town feel. The atmosphere here is completely different from Japan's "mainland" - more relaxed, open and international. The city has a monorail that makes it easy to visit the main sights. You can visit some of the city's exciting museums or the fashionable Shintoshin shopping area. In the evening we recommend a stroll down the colourful Kokusaidori shopping street (International Street), which has a host of restaurants and bars. Also visit Heiwadori (Peace Street), which is the opposite: a traditional market street filled with Asian scents and narrow side streets.

Other Places of Interest in Naha
For 550 years, Okinawa was an independent country known as the Kingdom of Ryukyu. Take the monorail to the district of Shuri, where you will find the flashy Shuri Castle. This is where the Ryukyu kings lived and ruled. Here are also many other historic buildings and monuments, all UNESCO-protected and examples of the Japanese-Chinese style blend that characterizes the unique Ryukyu culture. Naha only has a small-town beach which is not particularly charming. But from the harbour you can sail to some of the small islands outside Naha; Nagannu Island is among the favourites. This uninhabited island is a perfect excursion from Naha. The entire island only has one building, which is the bathroom! Otherwise, it's all about relaxation and snorkelling. A day trip to Nagannu must be booked in advance and often includes a BBQ lunch.

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