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History / Culture / Tour Spots in Naha / Southern Okinawa Area

  • Sefa Utaki
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Nanjoushi Chinen Kudeken
    Sefa Utaki is a historical site located in Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture. In December 2000 it was designated as part of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Within Sefa Utaki there are six Ibi (sacred areas), from one of which, Sangui, there is a wonderful view of Kudaka Island (known as the “Island of the Gods”). Sefa Utaki is still venerated as a sacred place, and many people come to pray here.
  • The Tower of Himeyuri / Himeyuri Peace Museum
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Itomanshi Ihara 671-1
    Himeyuri Memorial Tower is a cenotaph dedicated to the Himeyuri student corps who died in the Battle of Okinawa. The Himeyuri student corps was a group of 240 students and teachers of the Okinawa Shihan Women's School and Okinawa Daiichi Women's High School who were mobilized as a nursing unit for the Okinawan Army Field Hospital, towards the end of the Pacific War. Following the US military's advance at the end of May, they were withdrawn to the southern part of Okinawa Island, and abruptly disbanded in June. However, over 100 of them lost their lives soon after. In 1989, this museum was established to teach people about the wartime experiences of the Himeyuri student corps. The museum displays exhibits of the Himeyuri student corps personal possessions and photographs. There is also a diorama which is a reproduction of the Ihara Third Surgical Cave Hospital. The museum aims to make people consider war and peace through learning about the Himeyuri student corps' experiences.
  • Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Okinawa Pref. Nahashi Omoromachi 3-1-1
    The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum, which is the largest museum of its kind in Okinawa Prefecture, is located approximately 10 minutes’ walk from Omoromachi Station on the Okinawa Urban Monorail (Yuirail) line. Besides the Museum’s permanent exhibitions—which comprise general exhibitions relating to Okinawa’s natural environments, history and culture, as well as five sub-exhibitions on natural history etc.—special exhibitions are also held. The outdoor display area, with its reconstructions of a traditional Ryukyuan farmhouse and storehouse, is particularly popular with visitors. The Art Museum’s collections are focused on the work of artists with a connection to Okinawa island or Okinawa Prefecture, as well as modern and contemporary art; exhibits include contemporary artworks from Japan, other Asian countries, and the U.S.A., etc.
  • Naha Municipal Tsuboya Pottery Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Okinawa Pref. Nahashi Tsuboya 1-9-32
    This museum dedicated to the subject of Tsuboya ware and other Okinawan pottery (known as yachimun in the Okinawan language) is about a 10-minute walk from Makishi Station on the Okinawa Urban Monorail. It is located on Tsuboya Yachimun Street, which is lined with many Okinawan yachimun potteries. The museum's first floor provides exposition on the history of Tsuboya ware and the role it played in everyday life in Okinawa. The second floor presents characteristic works of Tsuboya ware as well as the production process. The museum also exhibits the works of potters including the Living National Treasure Jiro Kinjo.
  • Naha City Traditional Arts and Crafts Center
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    3.5
    38 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Okinawa Pref. Nahashi Makishi 3-2-10 Sturgeon Naha 2F
    The Naha City Traditional Arts and Crafts Center is located on the second floor of the Tenbusu Naha Building on Kokusai Street, around four minutes’ walk from Makishi Station on the Okinawa Urban Monorail (Yuirail) line. The Center boasts an impressive selection of works by Living National Treasures and examples of Naha’s traditional handicrafts. Monitors display video footage which shows the creation processes for different items in an easy-to-understand way. Visitors can also try their hand at five traditional crafts—Ryukyuan glass-blowing, Ryukyuan Bingata dyed cloth-making, Shuri cloth-making, Tsuboya-ware making, and Ryukyuan lacquerware-making. Visitors can also purchase works by leading Ryukyuan handicraft designers.

    At the Naha City Traditional Craft Centre you can choose from a variety of craft experiences. Under the guidance of craftspeople I helped create a beautiful drinking glass - a beautiful souvenir of...

  • Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum
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    4.5
    89 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Itomanshi Mabuni 614-1
    The Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum is located within the Peace Memorial Park. It was established with the aim of commemorating all those who died during the Battle of Okinawa, of teaching new generations about the horror of war and the importance of peace, and of contributing to the achievement of perpetual world peace. The Museum’s permanent exhibitions feature photographs of the Battle of Okinawa and related artifacts and materials, as well as the recollections of people who experienced the Battle (including video testimony).

    Aussie visiting with my Japanese family, my brother-in-law drove a hire car to this Park and Memorial and parked in the nearby parking area. We visited during a lull in a typhoon and managed to get...

  • Tamaudun Royal Mausoleum
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Nahashi Shurikinjouchou 1-3
    This is a mausoleum which was built in 1501 by King Sho Shin for the purpose of reburying the remains of his father, King Sho En, and thereafter successive generations from the dynasty were buried here. The grave chambers are divided into three rooms: the middle chamber is a room where remains are enshrined before the bones of the dead are cleansed, and the bones of the king and the queen are in the eastern chamber while the bones of other family members are buried in the western chamber. The whole mausoleum is a stone-built structure representing a palace with a shingle roof of that time, and the area of the cemetery is 2,442 square meters. It was registered as a World Heritage Site in 2000 as “Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu”.
  • Yui Rail Museum
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    3.0
    29 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Okinawa Pref. Nahashi Ashimine 377-2 Okinawa City Monorail Headquarters Inside the site
    Located onsite at the Okinawa City Monorail Corporation, this exhibition space has approximately 400 items on display. The first floor focuses on the monorail itself, and there’s a video showing the railway completion process. The second floor is dedicated to valuable documents, tickets, and other materials from the light railway that operated before the war. You can also use a computer to create your very own monorail paper model, and you can print it out and take it home with you. Entry is free.

    入場無料の施設ですが訪れる人はほとんどいません。 しかし二階の国鉄時代の展示物は見応えがあります。 個人のコレクターが寄付をした者です。

  • Kankaimon Gate
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa prefecture Naha city Shuri Shuri Castle Park
    Kankaimon Gate was the main entrance to Shuri-jo Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). This was the entrance through which “Sakuhoshi”, (Chinese envoys, also known as “Sapposhi”) would pass when granted an audience with the Ryukyuan King; the name “Kankaimon” (“Gate of Welcome”) reflects this. The Gate was destroyed by fire during the Second World War, but was rebuilt in 1974. Shisa statues stand on either side of the Gate to ward off evil spirits.
  • The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters
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    4.5
    350 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Tomigusukushi Tomigusuku 236
    The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters is an underground bunker complex constructed in 1944. There were around 450 meters of tunnels in total; the aim was to enable the defense of Okinawa to be carried on for as long as possible. The underground complex held a total of around 4,000 personnel; many lives were lost here. In 1970, 300 meters of the tunnels (including the command center) were restored, and opened to the public. There is a museum with a display of items recovered from the underground bunker complex, including weapons, uniforms, letters written to family members, etc.

    The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters is a great place if you want to see a World War II site. There are so few places that are still around from the war. In fact, walking around here...

  • Ruins of Enkakuji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Nahashi Shurikinjouchou 1-2 In Shuri Castle Park
    Enkakuji Temple was a temple belonging to the Rinzai School of Buddhism, located just to the north of Shuri Castle. King Sho Shin (who laid the foundations for the Golden Age of the Ryukuan kingdom) ordered the temple built in imitation of the Enkakuji Temple in Kamakura. In 1933, the Temple’s Main Hall and Main Entrance were designated as National Treasures. The Temple was completely destroyed during the Second World War. The Main Gate and Hoshochi Pond have since been recreated.
  • Shureimon Gate
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa prefecture Naha city Shuri Shuri Castle Park
    “Shurei” means “observing manners” and “a nation which observes manners” is written on the horizontal frame at the center of Shureimon Gate. It means “Ryukyu is a nation which respects manners”. It is a beautiful gate representing Shuri Castle which is a World Heritage site and was built around 1527 to 1555. It was destroyed during the Pacific War but restored later in 1958.
  • The Okinawa Peace Hall
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    4.0
    16 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Okinawa Pref. Itomanshi Mabuni 448-2
    The Okinawa Peace Hall is a monument rising up 45 meters in the Peace Memorial Park. Okinawa became an arena for the ground war at the end of World War II and the site of a hard-fought battle which cost as many as 200,000 military and civilian lives. With the belief that the tragedy should never be repeated, Okinawa Peace Hall was built in 1978 to appeal to the world about the nobility of peace. The heptahedron shape represents the seven seas and hands joining together.

    Our first plan was to go to peace museum which is located at the same park with the hall. And without realizing, we paid 450¥ for entrance (compare with huge museum for 300¥) . Peace memorial hall is...

  • Sonohyan Utaki Stone Gate
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa prefecture Naha city Shuri Shuri Castle Park
    Sonohyan Utaki Stone Gate made from Ryukyu limestone is a place of worship where the emperor used to pray for his safety when going out. During the Pacific War, a part of the building was destroyed, but it was restored in 1957. In 2000, it was designated as a World Heritage Site. Though it is in the shape of a gate, it is not for people to walk through but is more of a “gate for worship” to God.
  • The Statue of Peace (Itoman City)
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Itomanshi Kyan
    The Statue of Peace (Itoman City) near Kiyan Light House is located on Cape Kiyan in Itoman City. In October 1951, residents in Kiyan Village collected as many as 10,000 deceased remains of soldiers as well as residents scattered inside the village and on the neighboring beach, and built the statue. In March 1969, it was moved and restored in its current location.
  • CornerstoneofPeace
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Itomanshi Mabuni 444 Peace Memorial Park
    The Cornerstone of Peace is located inside the Peace Memorial Park in Itoman City, Okinawa Prefecture and was built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War: Battle of Okinawa on June 23, 1995. All the names of the people lost in the Battle of Okinawa and other battles are engraved.
  • Shuri Castle
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    4.0
    4627 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Nahashi Shuritounokurachou 3-1
    Shuri Castle is a former residence of the kings of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It was burnt and lost at the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 but restored in 1992 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan. In 2000, it was registered as a World Heritage Site as one of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu. It is located on top of a hill and is famous as a picturesque place as you can enjoy a panoramic view of Naha City. As it is illuminated in the evening, you can enjoy a magical Shuri Castle which is different from during the daytime.

    I took my public transportation there. As a tip the castle is situated on top of a hill. We took a taxi there but walked down hill to Gibo station after the visit. A climb uphill would have been very...

  • Shuri Kannon-do Temple
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    4.0
    15 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Nahashi Shuriyamagawachou 3-1
    Shuri Kannon-do Temple, one of the 12 temples in Shuri, is a temple for the Rinzai sect Myoshinji school. The temple is officially called Jigen-in. In the Ryukyu Kingdom period, King Sho Kyu erected a goddess of mercy temple to celebrate the return of Prince Sashiki who was held hostage by the Satsuma Domain and built the Jigen-in to the south in 1618. It is a holy site for the worship of the goddess of mercy in Okinawa and the principal image is a Thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara.

    This was a lovely temple and quite large for Okinawan standards. We came a bit early apparently and the monk wasn't there at the time (1430) and we were told to come back at 1630 if we wanted a...

  • Tamagusuku Castle Ruins
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa Pref. Nanjoushi Tamagusuku
    The site of a natural stronghold situated on a 180-meter-high hill a short drive from the Haebaru-Minami Interchange on the Naha Airport Expressway in Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture. The castle is said to have been created by Amamikiyo, the god who created Ryukyu (Okinawa), and the Tenson clan, alleged to be the god's descendants, ruled the castle. Still considered a place of worship to those taking a pilgrimage in the sacred land of Agariumai, the site sees an unending line of worshipers. The castle has a natural gate created by boring a hole into limestone rock, and from here visitors can get a sweeping view of Kudaka Island and the south central side of Okinawa Island. When visiting, note that the road leading to the site is quite steep; please watch your step.
  • Benzaitendo House and Enkanchi Pond
    Travel / Tourism
    Okinawa prefecture Naha city Shuri Shuri Castle Park
    Benzaitendo House and Enkanchi Pond are cultural properties located inside the Shuri Castle Park in Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture. Enkanchi Pond is a manmade pond which was built in 1502 to collect spring water and rainwater within Shuri Castle. Benzaitendo is a red-roofed shrine located in the middle of Enkanchi Pond which enshrines Benzaiten, a water goddess controlling safe sea voyages.

Okinawa Main Areas

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Let go of your image of a busy, ordered Japan and replace it with crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and relaxing folk music: You've arrived in Okinawa. A world away from the high intensity of Tokyo, Okinawans appear to live a laid-back beach life on this paradisiacal tropical island that lies in the middle of the East China Sea almost 1,000 kilometers south of mainland Japan's most southern tip. Home to a spattering of islands, prepare yourself to discover underwater caves, star-shaped sand, and an island culture sometimes unrecognizable from mainland Japan.

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