Feel a Long History, Walk Naha
Naha is an entrance of Okinawa and a first place to visit since Naha Airport is located. For the first-timers, a travel plan within Naha with a short distance might be comfortable.
Check out the travel plan within Naha which requires only walking or taking public transportation, but no car.
This is also a convenient course for re-visitors as well, since they can carry it out on a day of arrival or departure.
From Naha Airport, the first destination is World Heritage Site, Shurijo Castle Park which is accessible by Yui Rail.
After fully observing the castle, let’s eat Okinawa’s specialty dish, Okinawa soba within Shuri area.
Take Yui Rail again and head to the duty free shop which is directly connected with Omoromachi Station.
Furthermore, after moving to Makishi Station, give all your time to shopping on Kokusai Street.
Take a break at the charming Tsuboya area, head to Chinese Garden by a relaxing walking and close the tour for the day.
1. Shurijo Castle Park
Shurijo Castle represents Okinawa’s sightseeing spots and was registered as a World Heritage in 2000. The glory of Ryukyu kingdom era still lingers in this castle. Although there are pay areas, you can see area around the Golden Palace in the site for free. As almost of the buildings were destroyed during the WWII, the restoration works have been progressed since the end of 1980′s.
2. Enjoy Ryuku Cosplay at the World Heritage Shuri Castle.
Wearing the traditional costume from the era of Kingdom of the Ryukuschanges the frame of mind. Visitors can try on traditional costumes, take photos, and participate in a tour of the ShurijoCastle Park. The ladies will get a full professional hair styling and make-up. It takes about an hour to get fixed up in the costume. At first, it may be a little awkward to walk among other tourists in a costume, but after a while, you may feel like you are one of the royal family from the old Kingdom of the Ryukus. Having a stroll in the facility lets you imagine the lives of people back in time.
“Experienceof RyukuCostume by Mode Mariage” is a comprehensive activity with a luxurious costume, hair styling, and make-up done by producers of court-style weddings, and a guided tour with a history specialist. At the ZakimiCastle Ruins (also a World Heritage Site), there are tourist plans including picture taking in a Ryukucostume. Why not be the King or Queen for a day?
3. Shuri Soba
This is an Okinawa soba restaurant located on a quiet residential street nearby Shuri station of Yui Rail.
As delicious as the flavorful clear soup is, the most attractive feature of soba here is the handmade chewy noodle.
The combination of the chewiness and the soup makes you addicted to it.
As the popular soba is often sold out by the early afternoon, come here early.
Shuri Soba Official Website*Only in Japanese.
4. T Galleria Okinawa
T Galleria Okinawa is easy accessible since it is directly connected from Omoromachi station of Yui Rail. This is the only downtown stores in Japan, and you can purchase brand products at cheaper prices than the normal domestic prices. Over 130 brands of goods including the latest collections of leading brands and limited items are offered here, furthermore, cosmetics, perfumes, artifacts and local souvenirs are available as well.
5. Kokusai Street
Kokusai Street also called “Miracle Mile”, 1.6 kilometer long, is a major sightseeing spot in Okinawa. Souvenir shops, restaurants, izakaya and so on are lined up on the street, which is always crowed with people. On every Sunday afternoon, the street becomes a pedestrian paradise that has a festival-like atmosphere since some events like Eisa dance performance are held from time to time.
6. Uchina Café Buku-buku
This is an old-house style café located in the back of Tsuboya Yachimun Street.
The café, which used be a radio station built in 1952, has a mix of old and new style. Homemade Ryukyu sweets and traditional buku-buku tea are served here. The tea, comes topped with a fluffy white form made from roasted rice, is interesting and has a deep taste. Enjoy it with traditional Okinawa’s sweets such as “Po-po” that is pork miso (andansu) wrapped in white crepes.
7. Fukushu En Park
This is a Chinese-style garden with the scenery of Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China, which concluded the friendly relations agreement with Naha City. The garden was built to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the agreement between Naha and Fuzhou and the 70th Anniversary of municipalization of Naha as a city.
It has built in Chinese style that had a huge influence on the culture of Okinawa during great trade era of Ryukyu, and a pond, an artificial hill, a waterfall, plantings and carvings make the peaceful sceneries.
8. Interact with the Locals at a Folk Music Bar
Listen to live Okinawan folk songs while enjoying the taste of local food and taking a sip of Okinawan liquor –the Awamori. The band plays heartfelt folk songs about love and hometown. When they play the upbeat songs, the locals stand up to dance. The audiences are invited to come on stage to sing with the band. The fun and exciting performance is a must-see for any visitor. Okinawa’s traditional musical instrument, “sanshin,” has a very comforting tone. It is not a surprise that the sounds of sanshinrelaxes the minds and relieve the stress. “MinyoSakaba” are Japanese style pubs that offer live performances of local folk songs. There are other similar establishments, such as “Folk-Song Clubs,” and “Folk-Song Snacks.” The new trend is “Folk-Song Izakaya,” or “Folk-Song Pubs” and these types of establishments are crowded with customers. From casual establishments with live music to favorite hideaways for the locals, there are diverse styles offolk-song bars available to suit your needs.
Quaint Slope in Shurijo Castle Town
After about 500 years, Kinjo Stone-paved Road in Shuri still remains
Madama road was built as a main road from Shuri to southern Okinawa during the age of Ryukyu king Sho Shin. The construction started in 1522, and the road extended to Kinjo-cho, Shikina and the southern shore of Naha Port. Most of the road was destroyed during the WWII; however, 250 meters of the road survived through the war and was named Kinjo Stone-paved Road. This road was designated as Okinawa prefectural historical site and selected in the best 100 roads in Japan. The road was made out of Ryukyu limestone, and which walls still remains along the road. The Stone-paved Road is being sloped and there is a red-tiled roof rest house on the road. Take a rest there when you get tired. The view from here, you may get a sense of life back in the Ryukyu Kingdom days.