Head to Japan’s Very Own Tropical Getaway! A Guide to Okinawa Sightseeing

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Feeling tired, cold, and in real need of a beach vacation? Well, it turns out Japan is just the place – you only need to head to the country’s southern reaches, and take a trip to Okinawa! It’s the place to be for families with little kids who want to play in the sand, couples looking for a romantic getaway, and travelers of all kinds who just want to shake the chill from their bones. Need some help planning an Okinawa vacation? Check out some of the best the little chain of islands has to offer!

Okinawa Island

While the Okinawa area is made of quite a few islands, at the center of things is Okinawa Island, the little archipelago's main island. Bordered by endless pale beaches and surrounded by vast, emerald ocean waters, it's technically in the subtropics. That means the weather rarely drops below around 15°C (60°F), even in the winter, and the summer heat stays bearable. Thanks to a long history fairly separate from mainland Japan, the native Okinawan Ryukyu culture makes it a totally unique destination!

Okinawa Island stretches long and thin from northeast to southwest, so it's often broken up into different regions and areas – south, central, and north. For travelers looking to really explore all of Okinawa, you can drive from one end of the island to the other in about three hours. Since the public transportation on the island can be a little iffy, tour buses or rental cars are often the best transportation choices.

If you are thinking about renting a car, you might be relieved to find that Okinawa uses "map codes," unique numbers assigned to spots all over the world. You don't have to worry about spelling or pronunciation, just throw the map code number in the Google Maps map code search and you'll find the directions you'll need.

For a little extra peace of mind, there's always Okinawa's convenient official call center! When you need a little assistance during your travels in Okinawa, talking with a local or planning the rest of your trip, call up the Be.Okinawa Multilingual Contact Center and they'll help you for free. Pretty handy!

Be.Okinawa Multilingual Contact Center
+81 98-851-7286
(Available in English, Chinese, Korean, & Thai!)
Official Website (en)

Southern Okinawa

Naha’s International Street (Kokusai Dori, 国際通り)

Most travelers visiting Okinawa arrive through Naha International Airport, which makes the southern part of the island a good place to start the trip! And for many, the most obvious destination is Naha's International Street, a bustling road lined with restaurants offering local delicacies, shops selling Okinawa souvenirs, and plenty of other, well, international travelers. Arriving at the popular destination, it's hard to believe that it was just a swampy trail before it was transformed during the U.S. occupation of Okinawa.

Not sure what to bring home for souvenirs? Here at JAPANKURU we always love anything to do with shisa (or shiisaa), Okinawa's version of the Chinese guardian lion. These little deities are said to protect you from evil spirits!

Shuri Castle (首里城)

A uniquely Okinawan landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Shuri Castle is a destination closely tied with Okinawan history. When a large part of the castle was burned and severely damaged by a fire in 2019, locals stood by with tears in their eyes as firefighters rushed to save as much of the castle complex as possible. But in Japan, buildings are often made of materials meant to be regularly replaced anyway (thatch roofs don't last forever)! While the castle's destruction was a tragedy, the building's caretakers are moving forward, and thinking positive – efforts are already being made to reconstruct the castle buildings. For now, visitors can still access parts of the surrounding castle area, and start making plans to return again when Shuri Castle is restored to its former glory!

Want to help rebuild the castle? Donate to the Shuri Castle Fire Damage Reparation Project here!

Okinawa Soba & Drinks on the Water

Okinawa soba is nothing like the buckwheat soba noodles made on mainland Japan – they're a unique local specialty, and they taste a little more like udon! The chewy noodles and warm, savory broth make for a satisfying meal, without weighing you down in the warm weather.

Okinawa Soba at Makabechina (茶処 真壁ちなー)
223 Makabe, Itoman, Okinawa
Hours: 11:00 – 15:00 (Closed Wednesdays)
Phone: 098-997-3207
Official Website (jp)

For a cafe that's both very Okinawa (look at that ocean view), and simultaneously a little international (the menu includes items from across Asia, like the steamed pumpkin filled with coconut milk pudding above), head to Cafe Curcuma for drinks and sweets.

Cafe Curcuma (カフェくるくま)
Chinen-1190 Chinen, Nanjo, Okinawa
Hours: 10:00 – 21:00
Phone: 098-949-1189
Official Website (jp)

Central Okinawa

Cape Zanpa (残波岬) & Cape Manzamo (万座毛)

While there are plenty of things to try and activities to be found in Okinawa, when you're visiting a place with such beautiful scenery, sometimes you want to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the view! The capes of central Okinawa, where the land juts out into the deep blue waters and make for panoramic beachy views, are popular destinations for a reason. Cape Zanpa's lighthouse is especially picturesque!

Go a little way along the coast and you'll find Cape Manzamo. Can you see why lots of travelers are charmed by the shape of the cliff face? It really does look a little like an elephant's trunk, as it charges into the waves! The name Manzamo, on the other hand, means "a field for 10,000 people to sit," presumably because of the large grassy space high above the water.

Blue Cave Diving

For travelers who'd like to really dive into the Okinawa experience, try diving in Blue Cave! The open waters all around the island provide some beautiful underwater views, but diving in the dimly lit Blue Cave is a unique experience, and the glow of the water almost seems a little magical.

Blue Cave Diving at Marine Support TIDE ZANPA
950 Senaha, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa
Fee: 12,000 yen in advance | 13,000 yen day-of
Reservations: Advance reservations can be made up until 3 days ahead of time at contact@bluecavemarintour.com or +81-80-2730-7076.
Official Website (jp)

Colorful Island-Style Drinks

For a sip of something fruity and delicious, and at the same time supremely instagrammable, we recommend the Hawaiian-style smoothies and juices of MAGENTA n blue. You can plop down in their comfortable seating area, or bring some drinks right over to the beach!

MAGENTA n blue
1780 Serakaki, Onna, Kunigami District, Okinawa
Hours: 10:00 – 18:00
Official Instagram

Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park (体験王国むら咲むら)

This complex, surrounded by green fields and turquoise waters, was originally built by NHK studios as the set of a drama they were filming, set in Okinawa. Nowadays, it's a unique place to immerse yourself into Okinawan traditions and try out some interesting workshops.

Learn about local culture, practice some traditional dances, and try your hand at glassblowing! Ryukyu glass is a traditional local art, and the workshops give you a chance to experiment with it and bring home some very cool tableware!

*workshop fee 2,400 yen

You can also customize your own wearable mementos at Murasaki Mura. Try their screen printing workshop to design your own shirts or tote bags, complete with shisa and other Okinawa-themed designs.

​*workshop fee 1,458 yen

Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park (むら咲むら)
1020-1 Takashiho, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa
Hours: 9:00 – 18:00
Admission Fee: Adults 600 yen | High School/Middle School Students 500 yen | Children 400 yen
Official Website (jp)

Bios Hill (ビオスの丘) Subtropical Forest Theme Park

For a different kind of experiential theme park, stop into Bios Hill for a taste of Okinawa's subtropical forests. Make your way through the tree-lined streams on canoes, hike through nature, and take in the views of Okinawan flora and fauna.

Since Okinawa was an independent country until 1879, then called the Ryukyu Kingdom, they have their own traditional clothing as well. While these outfits may somewhat resemble Japanese kimono, the shape, materials, and designs make them beautifully unique. Try on an outfit and take some commemorative photos while you're there – they even have options for babies!

Bios Hill (ビオスの丘)
961-30 Ishikawa Kadekaru, Uruma, Okinawa
Hours: 9:00 – 18:00
Phone: 098-965-3400 
Admission Fee: Adults 900 yen | Children ~15 y.o. 500 yen
Official Website (en)

Orion Happy Park – Orion Beer Brewery

Love a good brew? Well, Okinawa has its own major beer brewery, and Orion Beer has earned itself a loyal fanbase. It's no surprise that they open their brewery for tours, allowing Orion-lovers to learn about the brewing process from knowledgable tour guides, and see it all in action!

Not only is admission to the Happy Park/factory tour free, but you can finish off the experience with a free tasting as well. Sip on two free draft beers to sample the Okinawa flavors, or go the non-alcohol route and try some of Orion's soft drinks instead.

Orion Happy Park
2-2-1 Agarie, Nago, Okinawa
Admission: Free!
Hours: 9:20 – 18:40
Official Website (en)

Northern Okinawa

The Bise Fukugi Tree-Lined Road (福木並木)

You've probably realized by now that the sand and the sea isn't the only draw for nature-lovers visiting Okinawa! In the village of Bise, travelers beeline for the "Fukugi Namiki" (福木並木), a road lined with fukugi trees, also known as happiness trees. The trees are maintained to protect local traditional Okinawan-style houses from strong sea breezes, but they create their own jungle-like atmosphere under the leafy canopies.

You can certainly stroll along the road on foot to take in the gentle breeze and dappled sunlight, but we recommend renting bikes and gliding down the paths and around the village. It makes it feel like you should be starring in your own Japanese drama!

Or for a really unique experience, you can also take a little trip in a cart… drawn by water buffalo!

Churaumi Aquarium (美ら海水族館)

A beloved staple of Okinawa sightseeing, plenty of travelers go out of their way and make special trips to northern Okinawa just to visit the fabulous Churaumi Aquarium. Of particular note is the huge central tank, which gives visitors a view deep into a recreation of the ocean right outside the facility. It houses multiple enormous whale sharks, native to the Okinawan seas, which drift gracefully through the eddies, and then feed standing vertically in the water!

Churaumi Aquarium (美ら海水族館)
424 Ishikawa, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa
Hours: Oct. to Feb. 8:30 – 18:30 | Mar. to Sep. 8:30 – 20:00
Admission Fee: Adults 1,850 yen | High School Students 1,230 yen | Elementary/Middle School Students 610 yen | Children under 6 are free!
Official Website

Yachimun Cafe’s Shisa Garden (やちむん喫茶シーサー園)

Rain or shine, a seat on the porch of Yachimun Cafe, looking out on the brilliant green of the garden with a roof over your head, is the perfect break from a busy sightseeing schedule. Instead of a beach view, this cafe has a "shisa garden," and the little guardians gaze back at you as you sip a refreshing glass of tea or fruit juice.

Yachimun Cafe Shisa Garden (やちむん喫茶シーサー園)
1439 Izumi, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa
Hours: 11:00 – 19:00 (Closed Mondays & Tuesdays)
Phone: 0980-47-2160

Okinawa: Japan’s Year-Round Summery Island Destination

Even in Japan, an island country, surrounded on all sides by beaches and ocean water, Okinawa is the clear island getaway destination. Warm and sunny year-round, it's the perfect place for travelers looking for a healthy tan, a little bit of ocean adventure, and some fascinatingly unique (Ryukyu!) culture.

And if you've still got questions about traveling in Okinawa, there's always the official contact center. Ring them up for answers to all your queries, help with Japanese, and plenty of other recommendations for destinations all over the Okinawa islands. They're there to help, and they know a lot about the area, we promise!

Be.Okinawa Multilingual Contact Center
+81 98-851-7286
(Available in English, Chinese, Korean, & Thai!)
Official Website (en)


NAME:Be.Okinawa Multilingual Contact Center



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      Hokkaido (北海道) is the northernmost of the four main islands that make up Japan. The area is famous for Sapporo Beer, plus brewing and distilling in general, along with fantastic snow festivals and breathtaking national parks. Foodies should look for Hokkaido's famous potatoes, cantaloupe, dairy products, soup curry, and miso ramen!

    • Niki, in south-west Hokkaido, is about 30 minutes from Otaru. The small town is rich with natural resources, fresh water, and clean air, making it a thriving center for fruit farms. Cherries, tomatoes, and grapes are all cultivated in the area, and thanks to a growing local wine industry, it's quickly becoming a food and wine hotspot. Together with the neighboring town of Yoichi, it's a noted area for wine tourism.

    • Niseko is about two hours from New Chitose Airport, in the western part of Hokkaido. It's one of Japan's most noted winter resort areas, and a frequent destination for international visitors. That's all because of the super high-quality powder snow, which wins the hearts of beginners and experts alike, bringing them back for repeat visits. That's not all, though, it's also a great place to enjoy Hokkaido's culinary scene and some beautiful onsen (hot springs).

    • Otaru is in western Hokkaido, about 30 minutes from Sapporo Station. The city thrived around its busy harbor in the 19th and 20th centuries thanks to active trade and fishing, and the buildings remaining from that period are still popular attractions, centered around Otaru Canal. With its history as a center of fishing, it's no surprise that the area's fresh sushi is a must-try. Otaru has over 100 sushi shops, quite a few of which are lined up on Sushiya Dori (Sushi Street).


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      Sapporo, in the south-western part of Hokkaido, is the prefecture's political and economic capital. The local New Chitose Airport see arrivals from major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, alongside international flights. Every February, the Sapporo Snow Festival is held in Odori Park―one of the biggest events in Hokkaido. It's also a hotspot for great food, known as a culinary treasure chest, and Sapporo is a destination for ramen, grilled mutton, soup curry, and of course Hokkaido's beloved seafood.

    • Consisting of six prefectures, the Tohoku Region (東北地方) is up in the northeastern part of Japan's main island. It's the source of plenty of the nation's agriculture (which means great food), and packed with beautiful scenery. Explore the region's stunning mountains, lakes, and hot springs!

    • Akita Prefecture is on the Sea of Japan, in the northern reaches of Japan's northern Tohoku region. Akita has more officially registered important intangible culture assets than anywhere else in Japan, and to this day visitors can experience traditional culture throughout the prefecture, from the Oga Peninsula's Namahage (registered with UNESCO as a part of Japan's intangible cultural heritage), to the Tohoku top 3 Kanto Festival. Mysterious little spots like the Oyu Stone Circle Site and Ryu no Atama (Dragon's Head) are also worth a visit!


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      Fukushima Prefecture sits at the southern tip of Japan's northern Tohoku region, and is divided into three parts with their own different charms: the Coastal Area (Hama-dori), the Central Area (Naka-dori), and the Aizu Area. There's Aizu-Wakamatsu with its Edo-era history and medieval castles, Oze National Park, Kitakata ramen, and Bandai Ski Resort (with its famous powder snow). Fukushima is a beautiful place to enjoy the vivid colors and sightseeing of Japan's beloved four seasons.


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      Yamagata Prefecture is up against the Sea of Japan, in the southern part of the Tohoku region, and it's especially popular in winter, when travelers soak in the onsen (hot springs) and ski down snowy slopes. International skiiers are especially fond of Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Gassan Ski Resort, and in recent years visitors have been drawn to the area to see the mystical sight of local frost-covered trees. Some destinations are popular regardless of the season, like Risshakuji Temple, AKA Yamadera, Ginzan Onsen's nostalgic old-fashioned streets, and Zao's Okama Lake, all great for taking pictures. Yamagata is also the place to try Yonezawa beef, one of the top 3 varieties of wagyu beef.

    • Japan's most densely populated area, the Kanto Region (関東地方) includes 7 prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa, which means it also contains the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. In modern-day Japan, Kanto is the cultural, political, and economic heartland of the country, and each prefecture offers something a little different from its neighbors.

    • Gunma Prefecture is easily accessible from Tokyo, and in addition to the area's popular natural attractions like Oze Marshland and Fukiware Falls, Gunma also has a number of popular hot springs (Kusatsu, Ikaho, Minakami, Shima)―it's even called an Onsen Kingdom. The prefecture is popular with history buffs and train lovers, thanks to spots like world heritage site Tomioka Silk Mill, the historic Megane-bashi Bridge, and the Watarase Keikoku Sightseeing Railway.


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      Tochigi Prefecture's capital is Utsunomiya, known for famous gyoza, and just an hour from Tokyo. The prefecture is full of nature-related sightseeing opportunities year-round, from the blooming of spring flowers to color fall foliage. Tochigi also has plenty of extremely well-known sightseeing destinations, like World Heritage Site Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Lake Chuzenji, and Ashikaga Flower Park―famous for expansive wisteria trellises. In recent years the mountain resort town of Nasu has also become a popular excursion, thanks in part to the local imperial villa. Tochigi is a beautiful place to enjoy the world around you.

    • Tokyo (東京) is Japan's busy capital, and the most populous metropolitan area in the world. While the city as a whole is quite modern, crowded with skyscrapers and bustling crowds, Tokyo also holds onto its traditional side in places like the Imperial Palace and Asakusa neighborhood. It's one of the world's top cities when it comes to culture, the arts, fashion, games, high-tech industries, transportation, and more.

    • The Chubu Region (中部地方) is located right in the center of Japan's main island, and consists of 9 prefectures: Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi. It's primarily famous for its mountains, as the region contains both Mt. Fuji and the Japanese Alps. The ski resorts in Niigata and Nagano also draw visitors from around the world, making it a popular winter destination.

    • Nagano Prefecture's popularity starts with a wealth of historic treasures, like Matsumoto Castle, Zenkoji Temple, and Togakushi Shrine, but the highlight might just be the prefecture's natural vistas surrounded by the "Japanese Alps." Nagano's fruit is famous, and there are plenty of places to pick it fresh, and the area is full of hot springs, including Jigokudani Monkey Park―where monkeys take baths as well! Thanks to the construction of the Hokuriku shinkansen line, Nagano is easily reachable from the Tokyo area, adding it to plenty of travel itineraries. And after the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, ski resorts like Hakuba and Shiga Kogen are known around the world.

    • Aichi Prefecture sits in the center of the Japanese islands, and its capital city, Nagoya, is a center of politics, commerce, and culture. While Aichi is home to major industry, and is even the birthplace of Toyota cars, it's proximity to the sea and the mountains means it's also a place with beautiful natural scenery, like Saku Island, Koijigahama Beach, Mt. Horaiji. Often used a stage for major battles in Japanese history, Sengoku era commanders like Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu left their own footprints on Aichi, and historic buildings like Nagoya Castle, Inuyama Castle, and those in Meiji Mura are still around to tell the tale.


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      Niigata is a prefecture on Japan's main island of Honshu, situated right on the coast of the Sea of Japan, and abundant with the gifts of nature. It's known for popular ski resorts such as Echigo-Yuzawa, Japanese national parks, and natural hot spring baths, plus local products like fresh seafood, rice, and sake. Visitors often spend time in the prefectural capital, Niigata City, or venture across the water to Sado Island.


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      Shizuoka Prefecture is sandwiched between eastern and western Japan, giving the prefecture easy access to both Tokyo and Osaka. Not only is it known for beautiful natural attractions, with everything from Mount Fuji to Suruga Bay, Lake Hamanako, and Sumata Pass―Shizuoka's Izu Peninsula is known as a go-to spot for hot springs lovers, with famous onsen like Atami, Ito, Shimoda, Shuzenji, and Dogashima. Shizuoka attracts all kinds of travelers thanks to historic connections with the Tokugawa clan, the Oigawa Railway, fresh eel cuisine, Hamamatsu gyoza, and famously high-quality green tea.

    • Kansai (関西) is a region that includes Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Shiga Prefectures. Kansai contained Japan's ancient capital for hundreds of years, and it's making a comeback as one of the most popular parts of Japan. Kyoto's temples and shrines, Osaka Castle, and the deer of Nara are all considered must-sees. Plus, the people of Kansai are especially friendly, making it a fun place to hang out.

    • Kyoto flourished as the capital of Japan between the years 794 and 1100, becoming a center for poilitics and culture, and to this day it's a great place for close encounters with Japanese history. The cobbled streets of Gion, the atmospheric road to Kiyomizudera Temple, Kinkakuji's golden walls and countless historic attractions, even Arashiyama's Togetsukyo Bridge―Kyoto is a place of many attractions. With new charms to experience throughout the seasons, travelers can't stop themselves from returning again and again.

    • Nara Prefecture's important history reaches back to 710, a time now called the Nara era, when it was once capital of Japan. Called "Heijo-kyo" during its time as a capital, it's said that nara was once the end of the silk road, leading it to flourish as a uniquely international region and produce important cultural properties of all kinds. To make the most of each season, travelers head to Nara Park, where the Nara deer who wander freely, or climb Mount Yoshino, a famous cherry blossom spot.

    • Osaka is known for friendly (and funny) people, but its history is nothing to laugh at, playing a major part in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's 16th century unification of Japan. Thanks to long years of economic activity, it's one of Japan's biggest cities, and Osaka's popular food culture earned it the nickname "The Kitchen of the Nation." To this day Osaka is the model of western Japan, and alongside historic structures like Osaka Castle, it also has major shopping malls like Umeda's Grand Front Osaka and Tennoji's Abeno Harukas. Osaka is a place to eat, eat, eat, with local specialties like takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushi-katsu, and for extra fun, it's home to Universal Studios Japan.


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      The Chugoku Region (中国地方) consists of five prefectures: Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. In Chugoku you’ll find the sand dunes of Tottori, and Hiroshima’s atomic bomb site, plus centers of ancient history like Grand Shrine of Izumo.


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      Hiroshima Prefecture has everything, from world heritage sites to beautiful nature and delicious local cuisine, and it's either an hour and a half from Tokyo by plane, or four hours by train. Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island and the Atomic Bomb Dome, two Hiroshima UNESCO sites, are famous around the world, but in Japan it's also famous for food. Seafood from the Seto Inland Sea, especially oysters, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, and Setouchi lemons are all popular, and the natural scenery alone is worth seeing.


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      On the other side of the Seto Inland Sea opposite Japan’s main island, Shikoku (四国) is a region made up of four prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi, and Tokushima. The area is famous for its udon (in Kagawa), and the beautiful Dogo Onsen hot springs (in Ehime).

    • Kagawa Prefecture is on the northern part of the island of Shikoku, facing Japan's main island and the Seto Inland Sea. It's known for being the smallest prefecture in Japan, by area, but at the same time Kagawa is called the "Udon Prefecture" thanks to its famous sanuki udon. Aside from Kotohiragu Shrine and Ritsurin Garden, the prefecture's small islands are popular, and Kagawa is full of unique destinations, like Angel Road. They say that if you lay eyes on Zenigata Sunae, a huge Kagawa sand painting, you'll never have money troubles ever again.

    • Located in the most southwestern part of Japan, Kyushu (九州) is an island of 7 prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima. The island's unique culture has been influenced by Chinese and Dutch trade, along with missionaries coming in through Nagasaki's port. Modern-day travelers love the lush natural scenery and fresh food, plus the natural hot springs found all throughout the area (thanks to volcanic activity)!


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      Fukuoka Prefecture has the highest population on the southern island of Kyushu, with two major cities: Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. Thanks to growing transportation networks, Fukuoka is more accessible than ever, and so are the many local attractions. On top of historical spots like Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, travelers shouldn't miss Fukuoka's food scene, with motsu nabe (offal hotpot), mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and famous Hakata ramen―best eaten from a food stall in the Nakasu area of Hakata. Plus, it's full of all sorts of destinations for travelers, like trendy shopping centers, and the beautiful nature of Itoshima and Yanagawa.


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      Kagoshima Prefecture played a major role in Japan's modernization as a backdrop for famous historical figures like samurais Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi, who pushed Japan out of the Edo era and into the Meiji. Because of that, Sengan-en Garden is just one of many historical destinations, and when it comes to attractions Kagoshima has plenty: the active volcano of Sakurajima, popular hot springs Ibusuki Onsen and Kirishima Onsen, World Heritage Site Yakushima Island, even what Japan calls the "island closest to heaven," Amami Oshima. Kagoshima might be found on the very southernmost tip of the southern island of Kyushu, but there's plenty to see.


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      The island chain of Okinawa (沖縄) makes up the southernmost tip of Japan, which is why it's also the most tropical area in the country. Thanks to a history of independence and totally distinct political and cultural events, Okinawa has a unique culture, and remnants of the Ryukyu Kingdom are still visible all over the islands. Food, language, traditional dress, it's all a little different! It's also said to be the birthplace of karate.