Northern Okinawa, called Yanbaru, is an area rich with scenes of natural beauty. The most popular attraction in this area is definitely Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Start your trip from there, and enjoy driving in Yanbaru to discover the beautiful nature, gourmet food, and local products.
Enjoy Okinawa soba while feeling the gentle sunlight, and head to Nakijin Village. After enjoying the drive to Kouri Island which is accessed by a spectacular bridge, head to Nago City which is close to Kyoda Interchange of the Okinawa Expressway. Let’s wind things up by taking a factory tour to learn how the local Orion Beer is produced.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located within the Ocean Expo Park, and there is no better place to comfortably view the sea creatures that inhabit the sea surrounding Okinawa. You might even feel like you have entered the underwater world of Okinawa. The highlight is when whale sharks swim comfortably in the big water tank Kuroshio Sea. You can see and touch sea cucumbers and starfishes at Life in Inoh (a touch pool), and coral reproduction is exhibited at Coral Sea.
Bise Fukugi Trees, is a windbreak made to protect the seaside village, is a beautiful area. As a number of old style of tiled-roof houses remain here and there, the areas has a nostalgic feel to it, adding to the surrounding scenery. While walking through such a village, we suggest stopping into Kokko Shokudo as a good choice for lunch. The Okinawa soba called Jidori Ougon Soba (golden soba with local chicken) is highly recommended and you will surely enjoy the chicken broth soba topped with a fluffy egg omelette and flavorful chicken meat. Relax and enjoy your time with the soba.
Kouri Island is approximately 8 kilometers in circumference, and it is accessible by car. The small island surrounded by the emerald green ocean has seen cafes and accommodations open up in recent years, and they are popular with tourists. Kouri Bridge is the bridge which connects Kouri Island to Yagaji Island (and on to Okinawa Main Island by another bridge), this bridge crosses over some of Okinawa’s clearest waters and gives the impression of ocean spreading out through your car windows. Surely a sight to remember!
Kouri Ocean Tower opened in November 2013 on a hill of Kouri Island. In the facility, you will ride on an electric cart (automated) to get to the observation tower through a garden featuring a waterfall. You can enjoy a superb view by overlooking the beautiful sea and looking upon Kouri Bridge. The restaurant has all seats with ocean view, and at the Shell Museum you can see and learn about shells. There is also a shop onsite so you can get locally-produced gifts.
When it comes to the iconic beer of Okinawa, it must be Orion Beer. Orion Happy Park offers a tour of the factory, which includes beer tasting, to teach the attractiveness of the local beer to visitors. The tour takes about 40 minutes and you can observe the process step by step from raw materials to the final product. After the tour, 2 glasses of fresh beer will be served at the Orion Beer Garden restaurant, which is located next to the factory. Soft drinks will be offered for drivers and minors to make a toast.
Orion Happy Park*Only in Japanese.
Named by the public! The Okinawa Rail “Ku-ta” runs throughout the ecology center
The Okinawa Rail ecology center Kuina no Mori opened in September 2013 within theAda Kuina Fureai Park. You can observe the Okinawa Rail, an endangered species, as it is found in nature. The Okinawa rail is only found in the Yanbaru area, Northern Okinawa, and it is even hard to encounter them there, so seeing them at Ku-ta is a great opportunity for nature lovers.
The northernmost point on Okinawa Main Island, Cape Hedo
Approximately 120 kilometers to the north of Naha Airport lies Cape Hedo, the northernmost tip of Okinawa Main Island. It is a special spot where you can see the dynamic landscape unfolding as waves from the Pacific Ocean and East China Sea dash against the cliffs. Yoron Island and Okinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture can also be seen on the horizon from the elevated coral. The sea spreads as far as your eye can see, and it is also a great sunrise spot.