Why is Okinawa referred to as a tropical resort?
Most of Japan’s prefectures that have an extratropical climate, the majority of regions in Okinawa have a subtropical climate, while islands such as Tarama island, Ishigaki island, Iriomote island, Yonaguni island, Hateruma island, Okidaitou island have a tropical climate.
No matter how you look at it, the most attractive tourist feature of Okinawa’s tropical resorts is the crystal clear waters of the surrounding ocean . The beauty of Okinawa’s sea is said to rank in the top 5 in the world. Nourished by the Japan Current, the rich seas are inhabited by many types of marine life, including a variety of different corals and brightly colored fish, as well as whales and dugongs.
There are also animals regarded as precious even by global standards, such as the Okinawa woodpecker and Iriomote wild cat.
Northern region (Okinawa Main Island)
This is the area in the north of Okinawa Main Island and is where the municipality of Nago City is located. If you follow the national route north you will find yourself in a subtropical zone called Yambaru, which is a wide expanse inhabited by creatures such as the Okinawa woodpecker. A lot of effort is being poured into eco-tourism in this area.
This area also boasts sightseeing spots such as Ocean Expo Park and the Nakijin Castle Remains, which are registered as a World Heritage site.
Central region (Okinawa Main Island)
In the west, a beautiful coastline stretches off in both directions, with Onna Village being a particular highlight. There are many resort hotels along this part of the coast.
Jutting out from somewhere around the middle of this stretch of coastline is Cape Manza, a plateau formed by a coral reef which offers beautiful views of the sea and coast.
The Bankoku Shinryokan Resort MICE Facility, which hosted the 2000 Okinawa Summit, can be found at the northernmost point of the coastline. In the east, there is a road known as the Kaichu Road, which is 4.7km in total length and which runs along a coral reef on the sea connecting Uruma City and Ikei island.
Naha (Okinawa Main Island)
Naha is Okinawa’s economic and cultural hub and its airport is the gateway to the region. Its many attractions include the World Heritage site of Shurijo Castle Park, Naha’s main street Kokusai Dori which offers a lively atmosphere at all times of the day, Makishi Market where you can find masses of stalls selling Okinawan food, clothing and other goods, and Tsuboya which has pottery shops, craft centers and a museum for the traditional pottery (Shiisa etc.) which has been a specialty of Okinawa since the Ryukyu Kingdom era.
Southern region (Okinawa Main Island)
Here you will find the World Heritage site of Sefa-Utaki, which was the Ryukyu people’s most sacred spot, as well as the limestone caves of Gyokusendo, which are Japan’s second largest. Both locations offer the chance to experience a different side of Okinawa.
The southern region of Okinawa was the scene of fierce fighting during the 2nd World War. The Okinawa Peace Memorial Park, located on Mabuni Hill, overlooks the sea and is an enduring affirmation of the desire for lasting peace.