6 Amazing Things to do in Okinawa, Japan

Exploring Cape Hedo, Okinawa's most north tip of the island.

Do you know where Okinawa is? Japan’s southwest islands are located between Taiwan and the mainland of Japan.

It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Wildlife, coral reefs and lush forests are abundant here and it is also home to the largest U.S. military air force base. We saw so many fighter jets flying around and we frequently bumped into military men all over the island.

My husband and I ended our two week Japanese adventure in Okinawa and it was one of the best decisions we made!  Immediately as we stepped off the plane we knew this place was different from the mainland, more relaxed and at ease, you know that island feeling!

Okinawa island will summon you to slow down and connect with it which is exactly what we needed after the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and Kyoto.

The food at traditional Okinawa restaurants are so incredible, fresh and tasty!

There are countless wonderful things to do in Okinawa and I’ll share with you my favorite experiences.

I strongly encourage you to consider this lesser travelled Japanese destination as a contender for your travel bucket list. You won’t regret it at all.

We were lucky enough to visit this beautiful place with my very best friend (who happens to be half Japanese) and her family. It was surreal to finally visit the elusive place where she spent so much of her childhood.
I was thrilled to experience Okinawan Japanese culture and explore her homeland with her. There is no better way to travel than with someone who speaks the language and knows their way around.
We met her extended family, shared incredible meals at traditional Okinawa restaurants-including Okinawan sweet potato ice cream which was HEAVENLY, sang our hearts out at Karaoke bars, explored the lushness of the island and visited one of the most stunning beaches I’ve ever seen.

6 things to do in Okinawa


Okinawa points of interest

Hiji Waterfall

Hopefully you’ll have better luck than we did and stay on the right road. Sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you make a wrong turn and wind up driving down a not so visible path. Are we going to drive ourselves off a cliff? I don’t know. It’s the worst case scenario guys. Just flip it in reverse and back track. You’ll get to where you need to be eventually.

Once you do you’ll pay a small entrance fee of 500 yen, park your car and then get to steppin! The hike was fairly easy, the path was well maintained and it only took about 40 minutes to get to the waterfall.

Hiking to the Hiji waterfall while visiting Okinawa, Japan.

We ran into two other travelers which was awesome, so we basically had the trail to ourselves! Once you arrive to the end of the trailhead your rewarded with a tranquil waterfall standing around 26 meters tall. It’s a glorious sight to see!

Cape Hedo

After the hike we took a drive to one of the most scenic spots of the island called Cape Hedo which lies at the most northern point of the island.  It is here where two oceans merge, the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean and the views are simply sensational.

I’d say we lucked out with clear skies for an incredible viewing across the horizon-what do you think?

Exploring Cape Hedo, Okinawa's most north tip of the island.

I loved peeking over the edge of the cliffs (from a safe distance) to see the beautiful turquoise water come crashing into the cove! The range of colors in the water and vegetation had so much vibrance and beauty.

It’s a must see and totally worth the drive if you are staying in the city of Naha and as you can imagine a very breathtaking road trip.

My favorite things to do in Okinawa consisted of hiking to waterfalls, exploring Cape Hedo, the most Northern point of the island and tasting Awamori.

Next time around I’ll plan to carve out some extra time for meditation. Cape Hedo is a peaceful and heartwarming point of interest that should not be missed!

My favorite things to do in Okinawa consisted of hiking to waterfalls, exploring Cape Hedo, the most Northern point of the island and tasting Awamori.

Spend a day or two at nearby Japanese islands

Take the ferry from Naha to explore one of the many islands that make up the Kerama Islands. There are 22! Unfortunately we only had time to make it to one and I’m so glad we did. We made the trek early morning to Zamami island and boy oh boy were we in for a treat!

Honestly one of the most beautiful islands I’ve ever seen. It’s so incredibly picturesque, to see the surrounding islands, white sand beach and clear blue water. Ahh-it felt like a dream!

Zamami boasts of great snorkeling and diving spots. Make the day trip-it’s absolutely worth it.  *Whale watching is possible here during December through April.*

Be sure not to miss is Furuzamami Island, part of the Kerama Islands of Okinawa.

Spend a day at Kouri Island

This small island is connected to Yagaji Island by Kouri bridge (Japan’s longest open road bridge measuring at 1.5 miles). We enjoyed a lovely swim at Kouri beach then headed to Restaurant L Lota for lunch with panoramic views overlooking the beach and the bridge.

Also be sure to get a glimpse of heart rock while your visiting Kouri. Two protruding corals that resemble whale tails flipping out of the water-but one definitely looks more like a heart which is why this island is sometimes called heart island.

Cost: cash only-300 yen

Exploring the beautiful Kouri Island and we stumbled upon a cute couple shooting their engagement photos!

Experience Japanese Karaoke

This past time is favored by all ages in Japan and if you’re here you must partake in this event. Nobody is too old or too young for karaoke. The youngest we had in our group was a 1 year and the eldest was 85… and we had a blast.

We had our own private room equipped with a bar, tv and microphones and awamori-what more could we ask for?

My favorite things to do in Okinawa consisted of hiking to waterfalls, exploring Cape Hedo, the most Northern point of the island and tasting Awamori.

Taste Awamori

You better believe I made sure to enjoy a glass of Awamori while in Okinawa. This Japanese alcohol is a distilled beverage unique to the island made from rice. The name translates to a lot of bubbles which most likely refers to the appearance of the distillation process.

Awamori is commonly mixed with water, locals sometimes mix it with coffee milk and some restaurants even serve it with turmeric juice-believed to prevent hangovers. 🙂

Okinawa is a unique Japanese destination which would make for a great family trip, solo travelers and couples, it appeals for every traveler imaginable. The Okinawan culture will no doubt welcome you with open arms.

I am forever grateful for these travel memories we’ve created with my best friend and her family in Okinawa. This island will forever hold a special place in my heart. XO

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Have you ever been to Okinawa before? If so I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comment section below! 

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