Naha Airport (那覇空港 Naha-kūkō, OKA) is the largest airport in the Okinawa area and the main hub for international and inter-island flights. A new monorail, opened in 2003, connects the airport to the city center.
Note: There is also a Naha Airport (NAH) in Indonesia, which should not be confused with this!
The Naha monorail (monorail website in Japanese only) links together the airport, the city and Shuri Castle. Tickets cost ¥200-290 depending on distance, or you can get a one-day pass for ¥600. You can also get a two-day pass for ¥1,000.
- Shuri Castle (首里城; Shuri-jō). This castle is the former seat of the Ryukyu Kingdom, built in the Okinawan gusuku style. Completely destroyed during World War II, the present buildings were rebuilt in 1958 and 1992. Access via the monorail station "Shuri", ¥800 for adults, 20% discount if you have a monorail daily pass. The castle itself, its gardens Shikina-en, the sacred grove of Sonohyan-utaki and the Tamaudun mausoleum together with five other sites around Okinawa make up the world heritage site "Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu".
The town of Itoman lies south and southeast of Naha, and has several attractions.
- Himeyuri Peace Museum (ひめゆり平和祈念資料館, himeyuri heiwa kinen shiryōkan), 671-1 Aza-Ihara, Itoman, ☎ . 9:00-17:00. Students from two women's schools, together called Himeyuri, were mobilized to work as field nurses during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. This memorial museum documents, from a personal perspective, their lives before and during the battle, in which many of them died. Exhibits are labeled in English, and the museum is a worthwhile visit. ¥300 for adults.
Okinawa Peace Park (平和祈念公園, heiwa kinen kōen) has several memorials relating to the Battle of Okinawa. To get there by bus, take bus no. 89 from Naha bus terminal, change to bus no. 82 at Itoman bus terminal, and get off at the Heiwa-kinendo-iriguchi stop.
- Peace Park. This park has a beautiful view overlooking the ocean, and features several open-air memorials including the Cornerstone of Peace, wave-like walls of granite on which are engraved the names of those who died in the battle on the front as well as the back. It is a very interesting park.
- Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum (沖縄県立平和祈念資料館, okinawa kenritsu heiwa kinen shiryōkan), 614-1 Mabuni, ☎ . Tuesday-Sunday 9:00-17:00, closed Dec. 29-Jan. 3. Museum describes the Battle of Okinawa. ¥300 for adults.
- Okinawa Peace Memorial Hall (平和祈念堂 heiwa kinendō), 448-2 Mabuni Itoman, ☎ . A separate memorial, marked by a high tower, with the Peace Memorial Statue and exhibitions of Japanese artists. ¥500 for adults.
- Okinawa World, 1336 Maekawa, Tamagusuku Village (Take Bus No. 54 or 83 to the Gyokusendo-mae stop.), ☎ . 9:00-17:00. The major attraction at this theme park is Gyokusendō Cave, 890 meters long, with some interesting stalagmite and stalactite formations. Above the cave is a touristy village with performances of traditional dance, shops selling crafts and snake liquors, and restaurants. Separate admission is required for the habu snake exhibition which includes a snake and mongoose show. Cave and village for ¥1,200, snake exhibition ¥400 extra..
- Kiteboarding is possible year round with the winter months being the best.
- Kite Club Okinawa, 270-102 Gibo, Tomigusuku-shi (Across from the Tomigusuku Central Hospital Family Mart), ☎ . , (mobile) 090-6779-9990W-M 10AM-8PM. Call before coming (Japanese only). Taka-san is a first rate kite-boarder and a very nice guy. Drop by for lessons, supplies, information about car rental, lodging, tours, and such.
- Scuba Diving. A number of diving businesses offer training courses and diving excursions to the nearby Kerama Islands.
- Blue Zone, ☎ . A diving shop with their own boat. Their very friendly staff offer scuba diving courses and diving trips to the Kerama Islands. Boat trip with two dives ¥11,800; gear rental ¥3,000; extra dive ¥5,000.
- Naminoue Beach (波の上ビーチ nami no ue bi-chi) (straight towards the ocean from the southern end of kokusai dōri). Naha actually has one beach, Naminoue. Not the most beautiful beach in Okinawa, but a clean beach for all practical purposes. Also, one has to keep in mind that the swimming area can be very limited depending on the season and the weather.
- Saltwater Fishing Okinawa, 43538882929201b Okinawa, International Street (15 minutes from Naha Airport), ☎ . This business specializes in offshore big game fishing for marlin, tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi, and other fish year-round.
- Makishi Market (牧志). Known as "the kitchen of Okinawa", This market started as a kind of black market after WW2. There are more than 400 shops in one floor. You can buy any Okinawa’s traditional foods like dried sea snake (イラブー irabū), pork (Okinawas say they eat everything except the hooves and the scream), special vegetables not found on the mainland, colorful fish, or edible seaweed. There are many restaurants upstairs, serving traditional Okinawan home cooking. You can bring your own ingredients (fresh seafood or pork for example) bought downstairs and they will cook it for you for a small fee.
- Kokusai Doori (国際通り). Full of shops that sell a multitude of Okinawan products. It's also a good place to check out the nightlife and youth scene.
- Afro Nest (Just off of Kokusai Doori). A reggae themed basement-restaurant with surprisingly good food. Delicious goya champuru and karaage. Try the Afro Rice and Jamaican Jerk Chicken, they're excellent. The staff and customers here are fun to talk to and the menu is a laugh.
- Warahondo. This cozy, macrobiotic restaurant is one of the few places to get vegan food in Okinawa. The main course changes daily and is always served with fresh brown rice. You can also buy your organic foods, fruits and vegetables here.
You can find several establishments in and around Kokusai Street to enjoy the odd drink or two. There's a few clubs about as well; those frequented by locals, those frequented by US military folks and a mixture of both. Don't try gaining admission (around ¥2,500) wearing sandals.
For the more daring drinker habushu (ハブ酒) is widely available in bars and souvenir shops. Each bottle of fiery shochu liquor comes with a venomous snake inside, best drunk down in one as sipping is not recommended!
- Bar Dick. For a less frantic, more intimate time, you could do worse than check out this American-style bar that's verging on refined. Take care not to be too noisy as it will only upset the otherwise friendly and attentive staff. Bar Dick is the premier whiskey and scotch bar on the island, with expert bartenders, some of whom have been featured in magazines and received awards at national level competitions.
- Rehab International bar-, Kokusai-dori. Canadian owned Bar with English speaking staff. The customers are mostly English teachers and Expats and quite a few Japanese nationals. Very friendly place. Limited food menu.
- Smugglers Irish Pub, 1 block from Kokusai Street. Really nice place to drink. The staff speaks English. One bloke lived in London for 5 years. Lots of friendly locals. Food is good and they had Union Rugby on the T.V. Just walk up the hill from Ryubo Shopping Centre on Kokusai Street. It is on the left side.
- Campnou Bar (Aka Football Bar), Paradise Dori. Behind JAL Hotel on Kokusai Dori.. Great Place to watch Football. The owner, Hiro-san is a lovely guy and Football Mad. He can speak enough English to get by and is foreigner friendly. He is often open odd hours to accommodate matches held in different time zones.
- Paddy Macs. On BC street, just off of "gate 2" street, outside of Kadena airbase, this Irish pub is second to none for a good time. Martin, the Irish expat owner, is always a wonderful host who keeps the atmosphere lively and upbeat. Paddys also has the distinction of being the preferred drinking hole of Okinawas own Hash House Harrier group. Any true party animal's Okinawa experience would be incomplete without a night on the town with these local larrikins.
- Cafe Bar Moon Bow, Matsuo 2-5-15 (turn off a sidestreet opposite Hotel JAL City Naha. Look for driftwood and fairy lights outside), ☎ . Carpenter Takeshi Yamamoto moved out to Okinawa from Tokyo for a more chilled out lifestyle. This bar is filled with beautiful driftwood structures made by Yamamoto. In summer he sometimes constructs tree house bars out on the beaches of nearby islands. He's really friendly as are the regulars who are mostly locals. You'll need to speak Japanese to enjoy this place though.
- Bakku (Just off Kokusai-dori, around the corner from Afro-nest. Located on the 2nd floor). A friendly, homely bar with great staff and a good crowd. The selection of beers is nice and the food is delicious. Try Haruka's Raftee! It also has Strongbow, for people trying to find some cider.
- The DOJO bar (www.dojobarnaha.com), Asato 101, Naha City (On Sogenji-dori 1 block east from Shureido karate store, 5 mins walk from Kokusai-dori. Closest station is Makishi.), ☎ . Okinawa's only karate and kobudo theme bar, The DOJO opened in 2011 and is owned and run by James, a local resident and long-time karate fan! The DOJO features draft beers, cocktails and a delicious food menu. The English and Japanese speaking staff are knowledgeable about all aspects of activities and places on the island including local dojos to for karate and kobudo training.
Naha's budget accommodations are famously cheap, but you tend to get what you pay for and some can be incredibly dirty.
- Grace Naha Hotel. Small family-run guest house. Inexpensive, incredibly friendly and spotlessly clean.
- Sora House (Near Miebashi Station.). Inexpensive, friendly hostel. The staff speaks little English, but they are very friendly and helpful. The staff seems to arrange trips around Okinawa. If you get a chance to attend to one, you probably should.
- Base Okinawa, 1-17-5 Wakasa (15-20 minute walk from the Kencho-mae monorail station), ☎ . Check-out: 11AM. Ten dorm rooms and a couple of lounge rooms make this a really nice place to stay when on a budget. There is also free Internet, laundry, bikes, etc. If you want to get there, walk up the street from the Kencho-mae monorail station towards Wakasa. After passing Wakasa-dori, turn left at the first crossing without a traffic light (there's a very small sign there that says "BASE"). ¥1,000.
- Hotel Marine West Naha, 1-8-15 Kumoji, Naha (Near the Asahibashi monorail station), ☎ . Check-out: 11AM. A business hotel that is suitable for divers. It has drying space for scuba diving gear and free parking. There is free internet. Room prices include Japanese breakfast. Staff are friendly, though they only speak Japanese. One night plus breakfast ¥3,500; washing machine ¥200; drier ¥200.
- Osaruno Oyado Naha (Monkeys Inn), Naha-shi, Wakasa 3-24-3, ☎ . Check-in: 1500, check-out: 1200. very friendly and clean hostel with English speaking stuff which creates a welcoming and family like atmosphere for all there guests. You can rent bicycles for free, wash and dry for 100y and the Hostel is directly Located to the Okinawa ferry port, which gives you the connections to the smaller islands near Okinwawa island. Also the host cooks from time to time in the evening for 300-400 yen. Its also near a small beach and you can reach Kokusai dori in ~ 10 minutes.They have Dorms and Private Room. ~1500 yen/night.
Kerama Islands - Regular ferry connections are available between Naha harbor and this nearby group of islands. Great for a day trip or a few days to experience a more isolated tropical experience.
Akajima - the smallest of the Kerama Islands and makes a great snorkeling day trip.
Zamami - famous for whale watching and sea turtles.