Getting Around Okinawa After Arriving

Public transportation such as monorail, buses, and taxis are the main transportation on the main island of Okinawa. If you wish to move around more freely, a rental car is a convenient option. On remote islands, using rental cars, rental bicycles or rental motorcycles is recommended because there are not many public transportation options. Choose transportation that fits the purpose of your trip and plan appropriately.

Yui Rail: Okinawa’s First Monorail, Providing Direct Transport to the Airport

Yui Rail connects 19 stations, from Naha Airport Station, the gateway to Okinawa, to Tedako-Uranishi Station in about 40 minutes. Connected to the airport, the monorail is useful for accessing popular tourist spots, such as Kokusai Street, central Naha, and Shurijo Castle Park. The 1-day ticket, which can be bought at all stations, is the best option when using the monorail multiple times in a single day.

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Rental Cars: A Popular Option for Families and Groups!

There are many rental car companies in Okinawa. Check comparison sites before reservation, or rent a car along with flight and hotel for a smooth processing after your arrival. You can rent a car at tourist information centers at Naha Airport after your arrival, but, depending on the season, sometimes rental cars may not be available on the day. It is recommended that you make your reservation prior to your trip. There are pick-up service from the airport to rental car offices. Be sure to confirm when making your reservation.

Notes for Driving
  • In Japan, vehicles drive on the left side of the road and are right-hand drive. If this differs from your country, be careful when driving.
  • During morning and evening hours, some lanes on national roads in Naha, Urasoe and Ginowan City are reserved for buses (bus lanes). During these designated periods driving in the bus lanes is not permitted.
  • If you drive on the expressway, it is recommended that you choose a car with ETC, which allows for smooth payments at toll booths. ETC also provides discounts at night and certain other times during the day. ETC cards are issued by a credit card company, but some rental car companies offer a lending service, so check when making your reservation.
  • In Japan, the law stipulates that a driver must use a child seat when driving with a child less than six years of age. If this applies to you, install a child seat appropriate for your child’s age and physique. The various rental car companies offer lending services, but the fees and arrangement differ, so be sure to confirm when making your reservation.
  • When driving in Japan, one of the following types of licenses is required. Be sure to confirm beforehand and complete the necessary procedures. When driving in Japan, your own country’s license may be required as well, so be sure to bring it with you.
  1. A Japanese driver’s license (for persons residing in Japan)
  2. U.S. Forces, Japan Operator’s Permit for Civilian Vehicle
  3. Passport + An international driving permit based on the Convention on Road Traffic (Geneva Convention) + Driver’s license from their respective country
  4. Persons with a driver’s license issued in Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco, or Taiwan also require a Passport + Driver’s license from their respective country + An original Japanese translation of the license. (The Japanese translation must be from the embassy or consulate in Japan of the respective country, JAF (Japan Automobile Federation), or the East Asia Relations Commission). *With regards to 3 and 4, please have these documents prepared in advance in your respective country.
    *4 Referring countries are subject to change.
How to Use Coin Parking Lots with Locking Plates

Many of the coin parking lots in Okinawa feature locking plates installed in the parking spaces. After you park, the locking plate automatically rise and locks the car in place. When leaving the lot and paying the fee, you use the fare machine installed in the parking lot. Entering your parking number into the fare machine automatically calculates your fee, and once the displayed amount is paid, the locking plate keeping the car in place descends. Return to your car, confirm that the locking plate has descended, and immediately leave the lot.

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Rental Bicycles and Motorcycles: Convenient for Short-distance Sightseeing!

Rental bicycles and motorcycles can avoid traffic jams, easily access various locations, making them an efficient way for traveling short distances. You can get information about rental stores at the airport tourist information center, your accommodation, and tourism bureaus in various regions. Some accommodation and tourism bureaus provide lending services of their own. Those who wish to rent electric bicycles or bicycles for children should confirm beforehand. For those planning to ride around Naha City, there is a cycling share service called ChuraChari, and applications are available from the staff at the rental spots, or from the dedicated website (if applying through the website, member registration is required and payments can only be made via credit card). Be sure to protect yourself from sunburns and heat stroke while riding.

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Taxis: An Essential Means of Transportation in Okinawa! Inexpensive Options for Groups

Besides general taxis, there are also shuttle taxis that provide transportation from the airport to your hotel, and sightseeing taxis that run between tourist sites, allowing you to choose the type that best suits your needs. Your hotel can also help make arrangements for whatever taxi you may need. It is easy to hail a taxi at the airport, around Naha City, or at the main sightseeing locations, but can be harder on remote islands and other such locations, finding a taxi where you are might be difficult, so be sure to confirm beforehand.

Initial Taxi Fares(As of October 2019)

Main Island of Okinawa: 560 yen for regular taxis (Additional fare: 70 yen per 365 meters)
Remote Islands of Okinawa: 460 yen for regular taxis (Additional fare: 60 yen per 336 meters)
*From 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., a night surcharge (20%) is applied.
*The rear doors of taxis open automatically. To avoid injury, wait until the door opens before getting in.
*Taxis that have received national operating permission have green license plates. If you board an unauthorized taxi with a white license plate, you will not be covered by insurance if you get into an accident. To ensure your safety and security, use nationally authorized taxis.

Taxi App

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Buses: For Those Seeking Easy Access to Tourist Sites
Airport Limousine Bus

Besides fixed-route buses, there are also limousine buses that provide transport from the airport to your hotel, as well as tour buses that provide efficient transport around the main tourist sites. With limousine buses and tour buses, it is best to reserve in advance for a smooth process.

  • Information on Airport Limousine Buses, Route Maps, Timetables, and Fees : Okinawa Bus
Express Shuttle Bus

By using “Express Shuttle Bus”, you can make your time in Okinawa more enjoyable!
With Express Shuttle Bus you are saved the hassle of driving in a different country. It will surely take you to your desired destination smoothly and directly. You have plenty of destination choices to choose from, so please check the websites below to find your best one.

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Fixed-schedule Tourist Buses

Example Course 1: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and Nakijin Castle Course (Northern part of main island)
Example Course 2: Shuri Castle Historical Site (Southern part of main island), etc.

Course Details and Reservations

Fixed-route Buses

You can pay by cash or an OKICA IC card (SUICA, PASMO, and other IC cards are not accepted for fixed-route bus). OKICA cards can be purchased at ticket machines and counters at monorail stations, bus company’s office and some FamilyMart stores in Okinawa (unregistered type only).

5,000 yen and 10,000 yen bills cannot be exchanged on buses, so prepare change beforehand. Note that 1-yen and 5-yen coins cannot be used. When sightseeing around Naha City, you can save money by using the 1-Day Unlimited Pass for Naha buses (660 yen) or the Bus–Monorail Pass that provides unlimited rides on both the bus and monorail for one day (1,000 yen).

This ticket can be purchased at the Naha Airport Office (domestic terminal 1F), the Naha Bus Naha Sales Office (inside Naha Bus Terminal), and Naha City Tourist Information Center, and numerous other locations. There is also the Okinawa Bus Pass (*1) that allows unlimited use of buses and monorails on the main island of Okinawa, so you can purchase a ticket that best matches your vacation plans. The fixed-route buses on Okinawa’s main island connect almost all regions, but on remote islands there are a limited number of routes and buses. If you wish to travel by bus, be sure to confirm beforehand.

(*1) Okinawa Bus Pass
Get unlimited rides on buses and monorails for the applicable route within the designated time period! Enjoy leisurely gazing at the scenery as you head towards your destination, and have some drinks wherever you please. This bus pass is a convenient way to have an amazing trip.

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Main Island of Okinawa: Course Numbers for Main Tourist Sites

Northern Area Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium 20, 120, (from Nago Bus Terminal) 65, 66, 70
Central Area Chatan American Village 20, 28, 29, 43, 120
AEON MALL Okinawa Rycom 21, 25, 23, 27, 31, 77, 80, 90, 92, 110, 223, 227
Southern Area Shurijo Castle Park 1, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 17, 25, 46, 97
Okinawa Outlet Mall ASHIBINAA 55, 56, 88, 98
Sefa Utaki 38
Okinawa World 54, 83
Peace Memorial Park 34, 89, (from Itoman Bus Terminal) 82, 107, 108

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  • Bus-navi Okinawa  : General Information System for Fixed-route Buses on the Main Island
    *Search routes, timetables, and fees for the main island of Okinawa
  • Bus Map Okinawa 
    *Information on routes, fees, free entry tickets, and bus companies for all of Okinawa

Other Useful Information

Express Ferry

To avoid traffic congestion, we recommend using a high speed boat to explore the northern part of the main island of Okinawa.
The high speed boat connects from Naha to Motobu, the northern part of Okinawa main island, in 75 minutes.
*They operate from April to November

Course Details and Fare