Okinawa 1 Day Itinerary: Our Pick of the Island’s Best

Okinawa is often called Japan’s Hawaii and one visit is all you need to prove why. Short on time? Our local insider, Shante,shows you how to get a taste of this stunning island paradise in just 24h.


Traveller in Okinawa Photo © iStock/imacoconut

So you’re going to Okinawa, but only have 24 hours? Of course you want to explore the most of the islands as possible, but first you need to figure out just how much you can squeeze into 24 hours! 

I’m Just Here for a Stopover

If you are traveling elsewhere and Okinawa is just a stopover, we’d suggest to stay close by the airport. Chances are, this might be in Naha city. There's plenty to do here and getting around is easy with buses, monorails, or taxis.

To utilise your time well, a taxi will be your best bet. Though it’s the costlier option than the others, you can get to exactly where you want to go. 

Head to Hokusai Street, in Naha, lined with souvenir shops and places to try delicious local cuisine. Next, hop in a cab and head to Shuri Castle, the palace of the Ryuku Empire. 

If you’ve got time afterwards, head to Okinawa World – just 30min from Shuri Castle – where you can take a look at the museum, explore the natural cave and grab a bite to eat. It’s also a great place to grab some handmade souvenirs for the family!

I’ve Got All Day

If you’ve got 24 hours in Okinawa, there’s plenty of time to squeeze in a bit more. Hire a car and drive to the northern part of the island, where you’ll find beautiful beaches and less tourist crowds. 

Head to Motobu Peninsula, a beautiful region surrounded by crystal clear ocean. Visit Okinawa’s Churaumi Aquarium, which is one of the largest in the world and a must-see. While you’re here, take a walk around Ocean Expo Park to learn about the local marine life. 

Don't forget to stop at Nakijin Castle too, one of the largest castles in Okinawa. Depending on your budget, we’d recommend staying at one of the resorts up this end of the island – it will be well worth the money and give you more time to explore this untouched part of Okinawa.

Some Things to Know

Getting around Okinawa is the biggest issue for travellers. The monorail only navigates around Naha. Though the transportation is efficient, it can be confusing for anyone that doesn’t know their way around or speak the language. There are plenty of taxis around, but they will leave you out of pocket. 

If you don’t have time to venture out as far as the northern end of Okinawa, there is still plenty to see around Naha. Love the outdoors? Go for a hike. Seeking the sun and sand? Take a trip to one of the beaches or find a great place to eat, or a drink after a long day in the sun. There’s plenty here to keep you entertained and you’ll be planning your trip back again in no time.

Going to Okinawa?

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