Help Me Okinawa Vacation
October 30, 2018 12:01 PM   Subscribe

As per this previous question I'm going to be in Japan for almost three weeks in December. We decided to spend 4-5 days in Okinawa because beaches (where we live has cold, bleak winters). The Japan guidebooks I have include very little information about Okinawa besides a few sites in Naha.

Just curious if any MeFites have tips for beaches, hotels/places to stay, and super cool islands and things to see that are relatively easy to get to from Naha (without renting a car). Ideally, I think we'd like to stay somewhere like the Yaeyama Islands or the Miyako Islands.

I'm really intrigued about whale-watching, sea kayaking, hiking, and beach sitting.

We are flying into Naha from Osaka airport and then flying back to Tokyo from Naha.
posted by forkisbetter to Travel & Transportation around Ginoza, Japan (4 answers total)
I haven't been there myself, but Japan Guide is one of my first go-tos when I'm finding things to do locally. It looks like their Okinawa page has links to separate islands under Top Destinations, which then have Top Destinations for that island specifically. Here are the pages for Yaeyama Island and Miyako Island, for example. Hopefully others can chime in, but this might be a good starting point for you.
posted by lesser weasel at 5:39 PM on October 30, 2018

Oh, and Japan Guide pages generally all have Access information that tell you how to get to the various attractions and locations. They should tell you if the places you're looking at are easy to get to via public transportation or if you might need to get creative.
posted by lesser weasel at 5:41 PM on October 30, 2018

I haven't been to Okinawa yet but one of my favourite Japanese travel resources is this Japanese guy who writes (in English) extremely detailed travel reports with tons of pictures. Here's his page for "Okinawa Trip Without Car" featuring a 13-part report from 2017:
posted by Gortuk at 11:35 AM on October 31, 2018

Hello! Just an update for any future MeFites who would like to travel to Okinawa. I had a hard time finding information about things like which islands to visit, good places to stay, how to get around the different islands, whether it was feasible to get around any of the islands by bike/walking.

I ended up staying on Tokashiki and it was awesome! I rented a hotel room near the Aharen Beach and it was perfect for chilling on the beach but also having a few options for places to eat. The weather in December was nice and warm, but a little cold for swimming (which I expected). There was hardly any car traffic on the island so I was able hike around on the main roads quite easily (even saw a wild board crossing the street!) but it is very, very hilly so probably not a great place to bike unless you are very fit.

Taking the ferry to the other islands was easy, although in the off season you do have to call ahead to make sure they stop at Tokashiki. Getting to and from Naha was really easy on the ferry as well.

I really enjoyed the Kerama Islands, but did not care for Naha all that much. Feel free to MeMail with any questions if you're planning on heading to this part of the world!
posted by forkisbetter at 1:26 PM on December 27, 2018

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