Did you know that Okinawa consists of more than 150 islands in the East China Sea? Okinawa, the largest island, happens to be just one of many tropical islands waiting to be explored. Here are some isolated spots we recommend you venture out to visit.
#1. Sunayama Beach in Miyakojima Island
Always dreamed of being a mermaid? Make your wishes come true at Miyajima Island where you can rent a colorful mermaid tail and take part in an aquatic photo shoot. While this service is heavily used by women, group plans also include couple and family photos. While you’re at it, make sure to visit Sunayama Beach to walk under the arch-shaped rock formation by the turquoise water. Feeling hungry? Stop by Utopia Farm Miyakojima to stroll through hibiscus gardens while enjoying some freshly made mango, papaya, or banana smoothies and sorbets.
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Sunayama Beach Miyakojima Island
Address: Hirara, Miyakojima, Okinawa Prefecture
Access: 21 minutes by car from Miyako Airport
Website: Miyako City Official Site (Japanese)
#2. Kaiji Hama Beach in Taketomijima Island
Step into the traditional world of Okinawa at Taketomijima Island and take in the view of brown brick houses, statues of Okinawa lions, and coral fences. Here you can travel Okinawa-style via carts pulled by local water buffalo or enjoy the sea breeze as you zip around on rental bicycles.
Make sure to visit Kaiji Hama Beach to search for special star-shaped sand! Although you’re discouraged from taking your discoveries home, you can always purchase your own vial of star sand on the way home at one of the souvenir shops.
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Kaiji Hama Beach
Address: Taketomijima, Yaeyama, Okinawa Prefecture
Access: 10 minute ferry ride from Ishigakijima Island to Taketomijima Island
one way 600 yen (adults 12 years and older)
one way 310 yen (children 6-11 years old)
#3. Teenu Hama Beach in Kourijima Island
Kourijima Island is located just on the other side of a 2,020 meter long bridge that connects it with the main island of Okinawa. Go for a drive down this lengthy Kouri-Oohashi Bridge and enjoy the stretch of endless blue ocean. It’s a breathtaking sight when the weather is clear. When you make it across, head over to Teenu Hama Beach to check out the two heart-shaped rocks standing in the shallows. You can enjoy a day trip to Kourijima Island from Okinawa because of the short distance between these two islands.
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Teenu Hama Beach
Address: Kouri, Nakijin, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture
Access: 1 hour 40 minute car ride from Naha Airport
Website: Kourijima Island Official Site (Japanese)
#4. Lily Field Park in Iejima Island
Every April, roughly one million endemic Easter lilies bloom in Lily Field Park and continue their floral show until early May. The Lily Festival at Iejima Island is held at roughly the same time, combining flower viewing with live entertainment and local cuisine. This year, the Lily Festival at Iejima Island is scheduled to last from April 22, 2017 to May 7, 2017. While you’re visiting Iejijma Island, stop by Mount Gusuku to view its unique shape.
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Lily Field Park
Address: Higashieue, Ie, Kunigami, Okinawa Prefecture
Access: 42 minute ferry ride from Port Iejima Route Terminal to Iejima Port Terminal, then a 30 minute car ride.
one way 720 yen (adults 12 years and older)
one way 360 yen (children 6-11 years old)
#5. Taiwan’s influence on Ishigaki Island
Ishigaki Island is off the west coast of Okinawa, this island is a hugely popular spot for travelers to the area. Ishigaki is often regarded as a tropical paradise with cuisine and culture heavily influenced by Taiwan and other countries. It may not be a perfect Japan experience for your first visit but if you are near Okinawa and have a chance to visit you really should. If you are planning on visiting Taiwan during your visit as well, this may fit your itinerary as it is only around 300 km away. Some famous places to check out are Ishigaki Bay and Mount Omoto which is located on the island!
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Address: Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture
Access: 1 hour flight from Naha Airport
Website: Ishigaki Island Official Site
#6. The Uninhabited sands of Kuefu Island
Just a 20 minute boat ride from Naha sits the beautiful and untouched island of Kuefu. The Kuefu island is mostly a desert island that is largely uninhabited but it makes for one of the top snorkeling and diving spots in Okinawa! Visitors can enjoy the crystal clear waters and the abundance of marine life while on one of the many guided tours! The popularity of these tours is high so make sure to book yours in advance.
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Address: Kuefu-shima, Maeshima, Tokashiki, Shimajiri District, Okinawa Prefecture
Access: 20 minutes by boat from Naha with a booked tour
Website: Happy Island Official Site (Japanese)