Want to explore Okinawa but don’t know where to start? Take it from us – driving is the best way to truly enjoy Okinawa’s diverse attractions!
Public transportation is very limited on the island and hence inconvenient for tourists to travel around. Plus, driving allows you to have the flexibility and time to determine where to go and when to move on to the next location! There’s no need for stressful group tours and having to gobble your lunch down just so you have time for sightseeing.
Here are 8 sights in Okinawa best reached on a self-drive route. Ready? Let’s get started!
Also read: A 7D6N Okinawa Itinerary: How to Explore One of Japan’s Hidden Gems
1. Cape Hedo
Doesn’t that spectacular view at Cape Hedo just blow you away? The best part of a self-drive is definitely the stunning scenery while driving along the coast! This is the best place for you to take countless photos and make all your Instagram followers very, very jealous. The cape is situated at the northernmost point of Okinawa, and the views of the Southern China Sea from here are simply priceless. The area is surrounded by verdant vegetation and wildflowers, as well as elevated coral reefs, so make sure you visit Cape Hedo to admire the unique landscape and panoramic views!
2. Shurijo Castle Park
Head inland and go back in time by driving to the Shurijo Castle, and explore the impressive grounds where Ryukyu royalty used to reside. Declared as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2000, this is the place to visit to learn about the unique Ryukyu culture and history! The vibrant colours and intricate Ryukyu architecture is truly a sight to behold. Previously destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, but reconstructed in 1992, it offers a magnificent glimpse into a lost empire.
3. Cape Manzamo
Another example of Okinawa’s gorgeous scenery is Cape Manzamo! Check out the ombre hues of the blue-green emerald sea and bask in the refreshing sea breeze. Also, doesn’t the unique shape of the cliff look like an elephant’s head? How adorable! And most of all… the best part of going on a self-drive is the opportunity to really explore the area for as long as you want! Take lots of shots by the cliff – but do be careful where you tread!
4. Nago Pineapple Park
Are you crazy about pineapples? If so, the Nago Pineapple Park is perfect for you! You get to learn about how pineapples are grown, while taking a leisurely ride on a buggy through the fields. Delight your taste buds with an endless supply of pineapple wine, pineapple chocolates, pineapple salt ice cream and even pineapple beauty products! Their diverse array of products will surely leave you pine-ing for more!
5. Kouri Island
Geographically located at the northern part of the Okinawa mainland, Kouri Island is accessible by car via the Kouri Ohashi bridge. Head to the Kouri Ocean Tower to enjoy panoramic views of the ocean! The main attraction of Kouri Island, the white tower is designed like the sail of a boat and complements Okinawa’s scenic landscape. There is even an interesting museum with a collection of over 10,000 seashells from all over the world, so be sure to check it out!
6. Murasaki Mura
Take a break from driving by trying your hand at Okinawan arts and crafts at Murasaki Mura! The park houses 18 factories that allow you to dabble with up to 65 types of crafts. Some of the activities include making Ryukyu glass, candle art, Okinawan cooking, indigo dyeing, seashell and coral wind chimes, and pottery. You can also go horse-riding and go-kart racing as well! With so many activities available, you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice.
7. Sesoko Beach
Also accessible from the Okinawa mainland by car, Sesoko Beach is home to clear, emerald waters perfect for a chill day at the beach! This white sandy beach is the place to relieve any stress and do water activities such as diving, snorkelling, jet-skiing, parasailing, and banana boating. Go on, sip on a cocktail and enjoy the little pleasures in life at Sesoko Beach!
8. Cape Maeda
Famous for the Blue Cave, Cape Maeda is a tourist hotspot for scuba divers! You will get to see many types of tropical fish, including Nemo the clownfish! In addition, the cape is often used for television dramas and commercials because of its unobstructed, perfect sunset view. You can also head to Beach 51, one of the hidden beaches around Cape Maeda to see adorable baby sea turtles!
Driving is undoubtedly the most convenient and flexible way to explore Okinawa. The most rewarding aspect of doing a self-drive in Okinawa is undoubtedly the breathtaking scenery that constantly excites you as you look out of the window. Why wait any longer? Head over to Okinawa now and make your way to all of the above 8 spectacular sights!
Brought to you by Okinawa Industry Promotion Public Corporation.