Explore the friendly, sub-tropical climate and string of beaches in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa
Although Japan is more famous for its super-charged cities and hotbeds of traditional culture, it’s not lacking in outstanding seashore destinations. In fact, serious sun worshipers will be bewitched by the options in the country’s southernmost prefecture Okinawa.
Known for its friendly, sub-tropical climate and a string of beaches, the province is Japan’s premier spot for beach bums. Here, visitors will find average temperatures of 23.3C and more than 100 islands stretched over 700km of ocean — roughly the distance between Singapore and Penang. Given all this scope, it’s not surprising that the options for kicking back and sunbathing are plentiful.
On the southwest corner of Miyako Island, Yonaha Maehama Beach stretches for six and a half blissful kilometers and offers beach enthusiasts clear, shallow water. Find other killer beaches on the starfish-shaped island of Amami-Oshima and on the Keramas, a group of 22 little outcrops north of Naha, the prefecture capital and main transport hub. Okinawa is also highly regarded for its diving, with coral and marine species as varied as the life on the Great Barrier Reef.
When to go
With 20C winters, there’s never a bad time to visit. Spring (late March and April) and autumn (October and November) may be best.
How to get there
Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka (Kansai) and Tokyo (Narita), and from Cebu to Tokyo (Narita). There are regular connecting flights from these airports to Naha Airport in Okinawa.
This article first appeared in the March 2017 issue of Smile magazine.