Okinawa Prefecture occupies the southern half of the so-called the Ryukyu archipelago,
which stretches between Kyushu and Taiwan. It consists of 160 large and small
islands studded over a vast ocean area centering 26 degrees north latitude and
127 degrees east longitude, but only 49 are inhabited.
Okinawa is the only prefecture in Japan of which the entire area belongs in
a subtropical oceanic climate. Southeasterly winds in summer and northeasterly
winds in winter are mostly constant. The Kuroshio, or Black Current, starting
from off the coast of the Philippines flows northward through the islands and
contributes to the warm winter. The average annual temperature is 22.7 °C, and
the average low temperature is 20.5 "C. It hardly snows or frosts. From
summer to autumn, typhoons with violent winds and rain often arrive.
Okinawa Main Island
Naha city, the capital of Okinawa Prefecture, with a population of more than three
hundred thousand. West Coast ^ìéÍÈØð is the gateway to Okinawa from the sky and
the ocean. Shuri used to be a castle town of the royal government wherein lies
Shuri castle, which is registered as a world cultural heritage. The southern part
of the island, where sugar cane fields spread, was a hard-fought field in the
battle of Okinawa. Many civilians were caught up in the battle and lost their
precious lives. Today, the area centering around Mabuni in Itoman city has been
put back into good condition as an old battle field never stop coming .
The central part of Okinawa, with its U.S. military bases, is an Americanized
town. You see many signboards in foreign languages. The American Village in
Chatan town constructively ØØÈìÈÈ introduces American style for their town planning,
and draws many people. The Southeast Botanical Garden is a large-scale botanical
garden with the theme of tropical plants, and has been a popular spot.
The shoreline of Onna Village is the number one marine resort zone in the Okinawa
main island and is dotted with resort hotels. You can enjoy various marine activities
on the beaches in front of hotels. 1he beautiful scenery made up of bluffs and
white sandy beaches of the best scenic spots in Okinawa main island such as
Cape Manza and a Mecca of diving, Maeda Promontory, are designated as the Okinawa
Shoreline Quasi-National Park.
Mountains close down on shorelines to the north of Nago City, known as 'Yanbaru.'
Many indigenous and invaluable creatures such as Yanbaru Water Rails, Pryers
Woodpeckers, etc. live in the evergreen forest of broadlcaf trees. In the Motobu
Peninsula, there is the 'Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium' which Okinawa can boast
to the world for its scale.
Primal Scenery of Okinawa
The Kerama Islands, located 30 kilometers west of Naha City, have one of the
best diving spots in the world. Visibility of the water is surprisingly high.
The islands are divers' longed-for spots.
Kume Island was a commercial transit area for trade with China in the Ryukyu
King-dam era, and boasts Kume Silk Cloth, which is said to be the root of Japanese
Miyako Island, surrounded with colorful coral reef seas and studded with snow-white
sandy beaches, is thriving with sports events represented by the All Japan Triathlon
The Yaeyama Archipelago consists of very unique islands such as Iriomote Island
where Iriomote Wild Cats live; Taketomi Island, where the primal scenery of
Okinawa has left its mark; Yonaguni Island, Japan's westernmost island and Hateruma
Island, Japan's southern tip island.
You can get by with summer clothing such as short sleeve shirts and short
pants from around May to October in Okinawa with its subtropical climate, but
it's better to have long sleeve shirts for sunburn protection on sunny days.
It is very warm and humid, especially in summer. Even Oie nights are muggy.
Temperature goes down below 10°C from January to February, so sweaters and light
coats are necessary. From March to April and from November to December, long
sleeve shirts and light jackets or cardigans will do.
Customs and Manners
Currency in Japan is Yen. There are four types of notes: 1,000-yen, 2,000-yen,
5.000-yen and 10,000-ycn, and six kinds of coins: 1-yen, 5-yen, 10-yen, 50-yen.
100-yen. 500-yen. On the 2,000-yen note, an illustration of Shurcino-mon gate
in shuri castle in Okinawa is printed.
In Okinawa(Japan), there is no custom of tipping. Please be careful not to reveal
your body outside of beaches.
International ATM Service (cash withdrawals)
Many people can speak only Japanese. It is said that Okinawan dialects are very
close to old Japanese used around the 7-8"1 cent.ury(ancient Manyo language).
Sentence structure is the same as today's Japanese, but the words are quite
different. It is difficult to understand, even for Japanese from other prefectures.
You can choose whatever you like from Japanese, Chinese of Western foods. Ryukyuan
dishes developed with the influence of Japanese and Chinese foods and has two
origins: court cuisine and commoners' home cooking. Foreign credit and cash
cards can be used at Post Office ATM throughout Okinawa. Cards from the VISA,
VISABLECTRON, PLUS, MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express, Diners Club,
JCB, China Unionpay and DISCOVER can be used. Service hours chage with ATM. There
is a case where ATM cannot deal with the card of use.
You can always find convenience stores along main roads. They are open 24 hours,
and sell various goods such as drinks, sweets, box lunches, rice balls, sandwiches,
convenience goods, magazines and what not. They are convenient for travelers,
too. Three chain stores like Lawson, Family Mart, Coco Mart are available in
Okinawa. A8% consumption tax is added to all the goods and service you pay for.
Prices on goods are consumption tax inclusive. Some items such as books are indicated
as 'the book-proper + separate charge for tax'.
Voltage in Okinawa is 100 volts/60 Hz. Please confirm with an instruction manual
if you want, to use electric appliances which you brought in.
Indication of toilets are or often with illustrations of a man or a woman.
Most of them are western style, but Japanese-style lavatories are placed side
by side at some places. In downtown, toilets in department stores, shopping
centers or convenience stores are available.
Experience Okinawan Culture
In Okinawa, there are ceramic and lacquer arts, dyed and woven textile and glass
craft that were born in the Ryukyu Kingdom era and have since been developed.
Without sanshin, there is no Okinawan music. Even today, many Okinawan people
practice the martial arts of Karate and Kobudo.
Some studios in Tsuboya accept visitors for observation. Please contact Tyuboya
Ceramics' Cooperative for more information. ¦Tsuboya Ceramics Cooperative 1-21-14
Tsuboya. Naha city TEL098-866-3284 Yornitan Village Common Sales Center 2723-1
Zakimi. Yomitan village TEL098-958-4468
Dyed and Woven Textiles
Dyed woven textiles of Okinawa were born from trade between Southern nations
and China during the Ryukyu Dynasty era and developed their own textiles adopted
to the culture and the climate. Dyed woven textiles handed down in generations
at the various parts of the prefecture are varied.
Karate is a martial art for self-defense using bare hands and originated here
in Okinawa. It is said that Okinawa's traditional martial art received influences
from Chinese boxing techniques and has developed on its own. The name Karate
came from Chinese "te" and has prevailed to the world. The martial
art which handles weaponry such as "Nun-chaku", "Tun-fa",
"Sai" etc. is called "Kobudo", and has developed along with
Karate. Okinawa Traditional Karatedo Kobudo International Training Center is
an institution to help further spread the martial art both domesti¬cally and
outside of Japan.
The musical instrument which should be ne missed in Okinawan music is Sanshin.
It is ; that Sanshin is an improved form of the Chin musical instrument called
Sangen. Although skin of a poisonous snake, the Habu, which I in Okinawa was
used as a stretch of the sou chamber, imported python skin and synthe leather
are used today. They teach you how play at most specialty stores. March 4 in
Okina is Sanshin Day, and at the signal of the nc whistle, events featuring
group performan start in all parts of Okinawa.
Glassware glassware, popular within tourists alike, was created carded soft
drink bottles War II. The glassware is ly evolving through intensive d development,
with expanded the introduction of new to create unique designs
- A: Dragon El
- D: Naha Gref
- E: Shurijo Cr
The Makishi Kousetsu Ichiba, Naha City’s central produce, meat, fish and general
merchandise market, is an excellent place for visitors to learn about everyday
life in Okinawa, On the first floor you can buy every conceivable kind of Okinawan
foodstuff, from pork including pig’s face, feet and stomach — to many types
of colorful fish and shellfish and unique vegetables fresh from the farm. To
whet your appetite, the small alleys around the market feature stand-up-style
shops selling delicacies such as fresh tempura, sweet saataa andagii and goya
juice, following the end of World War II, this,II ea was home to a black market
where people bought and sold contraband obtained from the U.S. military. A visit
to the market will allow you to experience firsthand the history and, iilture
There’s no such place as Shangri-La,
but Okinawa comes pretty close to
being that mythical land of perpetual
youth. Okinawans are the world’s
longest-lived people and are among the
least likely to suffer from the chronic
diseases of aging such as heart disease,
cancer, stroke and dementia. The good news from
researchers is that lifestyle, not genetics,
seems to be the key to a healthy and
active old age. If you want to live long
and well, eat healthy foods used for
Okinawan dishes, exercise effectively,
slow down to Okinawa time and get the
“yuimaru spirit” by weaving a supportive
web of friends and family. If you follow
this advice, you should be well on your
way to everlasting health. It certainly
seems to work for the Okinawans.
Okinawan Nuchi Gusui Herbs and Vegetables.
Okinawa, the island of longevity, has a saying,
"nuchi gusui," meaning that food is medicine.
Okinawa's representative vegetable, goya, is
of sugar in the blood and urine. Ucchin
contains curcumin, which has been shown to
have an antioxidant effect, and it has been
used in a traditional Indian health care method
called Ayurveda. Okinawa's deep-sea water
is rich in minerals and good for the health,
possessing a mineral balance similar to that
of human blood, body fluid and amniotic
fluid. Okinawa has many more healthy foods,
including acerola and shikuwasa (Okinawan
lime), which are loaded with vitamin C, and
mineral-rich brown sugar produced from
Okinawan sugar cane.
Healthy Foods from Remarkable Ingredients maw sampler called tundabun is reived
In a hexagonal footed tray u vui null at celebratory gatherings, tiy It at well
Cuttlefish and pork are put
into a bonito based broth 1
and finished off with cuttlefish
ink. It has a flavor that Is both
light and rich at the same time
Rafute, pork ribs simmered for
hours in fish broth and awamori,
used to be a typical dish for the
royal family of the Ryukyu
Awamori Embodies the Spirit of Okinawa Awamori, Japan's oldest distilled liquor,
is made from Thai rice and rice malt. The brewing technique was introduced to
the .Ryukyu Kingdom from Siam (presentday Thailand) in the early 15th cbntury.
According to recent research, awamori is rich in one of the thrombolytic enzymes,
which help blood ML vessels remain open and clear, possessing one-and-a-half
—limes as much of it as wine.