Updated: December 02, 2016
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6 Best Okinawan Islands You Should Visit Once In Your Life

Ah, Okinawa, Japan. Pristine beaches, quaint customs, laid-back charm. Everyone wants to go there. But with over 160 islands in Okinawa, which ones should you visit? This guide will help you plan your trip!

1. Zamami Island

Part of the Kerama Islands, Zamami Island is easily accessibly via a 50-minute ferry ride from Naha City. Once you reach there, be prepared to fall in love with the sandy stretches of Furuzamami Beach and Ama Beach. Also a great place for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The waters here stay around 20°C throughout the year, which means that you can indulge in your favorite water activities even during winter!

An interesting trivia: Zamami Island was the first place in Japan where U.S. troops stepped foot on during World War II. So soak up the vibes and let the weight of history wash over you.
Takatuki view in zamami island okinawa001 https://goo.gl/2CdGln
Panoramic view of the surrounding islands from Zamami Island

2. Miyako Island

The third largest island in Okinawa Prefecture, Miyako Island offers a plethora of activities for the intrepid tourist. Sign up for a snorkeling tour and see if you are lucky enough to spot sea turtles. Participate in the Annual Miyako Triathlon and pit yourself against the picturesque elements. Join a stargazing tour, admire the starry sky and ponder about your purpose in the Universe.

Also not to be missed is the Miyako wagyu beef, spectacular seafood and Miyako soba whose umami will bring the excitement of your trip to greater heights!
Miyako soba dsc2761 https://goo.gl/ZxPa5p
Savor a delicious bowl of Miyako soba

3. Ishigaki Island

When it comes to Ishigaki Island, the turquoise waters of Kabira Bay will be conjured up in people's minds. The alluring beauty of Kabira Bay isn't just limited to its outer appearance - take a tour on a glass-bottomed boat so that you can observe colorful coral reefs.

Another stunning view awaits you when you visit Hirakubo Lighthouse. This lighthouse - juxtaposed against crystal clear waters - really makes for Instagram-worthy shots. After a hectic day of sightseeing, let your hair down at Misakichou, where many cool bars entice you with delicious Orion beer and awamori (Okinawa's own liquor)!
Kabira bay beach https://goo.gl/VaPZ0Y
Take in the turquoise waters of Kabira Bay

4. Taketomi Island

Located a 15 minutes' ferry ride from Ishigaki, Taketomi Island boosts some unique highlights not found in other Okinawan islands. First, ride on a water buffalo cart and take a trip down memory lane as you pass by traditional red-tile-roof low-rise houses and stone walls that exude an ancient Okinawan atmosphere.

Also be sure to visit Kaiji Beach where you can spend a leisurely afternoon searching for star-shaped sand. Surely, star-shaped sand will be the perfect souvenir for friends and family back home!
Village in taketomi island   located at southwest japan https://goo.gl/ToZUeO
Taketomi Island impresses with its traditional houses

5. Iriomote Island

Replete of rainforest vegetation, Iriomote Island enables you to get up close with nature. Kayak your way through the mangrove forest and stare in awe at majestic waterfalls during your kayaking trip.

Nature lovers will relish the opportunity to visit the Iriomote Wildlife Center where they can learn about the many exclusive plants and animals found on the island, including the legendary Iriomote wildcat!
Iriomote island mangrooves https://goo.gl/ccbDDT
Immerse yourself in nature in Iriomote Island

6. Okinawa Island

No article on Okinawa would be complete without a mention of Okinawa Island where Naha City, the prefectural capital, is located at. Culture aficionados can spend many enriching days visiting the various UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Shuri Castle and Nakijin Castle. Families may want to bring their children on a trip to Churaumi Aquarium and marvel at gigantic sharks. History buffs will want to explore Himeyuri Peace Museum and Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters to gain authentic insights on World War II.

Regardless of the diversity of travelling preferences, I'm sure everyone who who has been to Okinawa will swear by Kokusai Street - a street dotted with restaurants, funky shops, intriguing galleries and then some. Shop and dine to your heart's content here!
Churaumi aquarium main tank %27kuroshio sea%27 https://goo.gl/Oetrtz
Churaumi Aquarium showcases a variety of marine life
Every island in Okinawa Prefecture has its own distinctive charm. So why not go on an island-hopping trip and experience the myriad charms of Okinawa?
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