Okinawa-Japan’s Southwest Island’s are often considered as Hawaii of south east/far east Asia. These chain of semitropical, coral fringed islands are Japan you never thought of. Honestly if I tell you what prompted me to choose Okinawa over other touristy places in Japan then you will be surprised. I first heard of Okinawa long back in the Karate Kid movie where Mr. Han is from. After hearing about Okinawa from there I was forever fascinated about the place. Also my love for beaches brought me here. And this part of Japan is not the typical Japan with its own culture and history.
After a turbulent filled two hour flight from Osaka, we landed at Naha. Naha is a part of Okinawa Honto- the largest Island of Southwest Islands. The Islands are home to some excellent beaches and their own unique cuisine and music. Naha is the capital city and the largest city of the prefecture. It is also base for US military and you can often hear and see the fighter jets flying around. Since Naha is the transportation hub too you might need to stay here for a day or two before you catch connecting flights/ferries to other islands. Naha is a bustling city and is full of foreign tourists and bars, clubs restaurants etc. This is the only place in the whole islands with some nightlife.
We landed late evening to a overcast and rainy Naha hence couldn’t explore much so we rested before taking the first ferry in the morning to Zamami Islands-our next destination.Zamami Islands are part of Kerama Islands alongwith Aka-jima, Geruma & Tokashiki-Jima. Most People travel here as a day tour from Naha but if you love beaches, then you might want to spend a week atleast here exploring the area. Akajima and Zamami — half an hour apart by ferry and an hour from Naha, the capital of Okinawa — feel miles away from the usual tourist activity. The two islands, together with two other (even smaller) islets Geruma and Fukaji, form Zamami Village, which has a combined population of roughly a thousand residents.
After a two hour ferry ride we reach the Zamami Island. It is the largest inhabited island with a population of around 500 people. Once you reach the shore, all you can admire is the the crystal clear, perfect blue water, clear white sand beaches and beautiful location. Oh I can never get enough of this Island. The moment we landed, there was a band playing at the wharf and we got invited to the party in the evening.
There are lots of places to stay in Naha and one will find lot of options depending upon your budget and eating places. I think we had the best food here at a small eating joint and awesome beer and cozy environment.
Also do shop at Naha for ceramic & pottery stuff. There is a pottery street where you will get some beautiful pottery and other ceramic stuff at good prices and makes up as a good souvenir.