13 March 2017
Japan may not be the first place that comes to mind when turquoise blue waters, diving or island hopping is mentioned. We more regularly associate the land of the rising sun with dense neon cities such as Tokyo, the cherry blossoms in Kyoto or skiing in Niseko. However, don’t be fooled and definitely do not miss out on the southernmost prefecture that this fascinating country has to offer: Okinawa.
Only a short two hour direct flight away from Hong Kong you will find yourself surrounded by greenery, the smell of fresh sea air and the smiling faces of the Okinawan locals. Aptly named the Hawaiians of Asia, Okinawans are known for their friendly demeanor and peaceful way of life.
Whether you are a history buff or a beach-going tourist, this subtropical collection of islands (there are 150 to choose from in Okinawa alone) has something for everyone. You will find yourself immersed in a cultural, historical and gastronomical escape intermingled with island hopping, diving and sunset catamaran cruises.
Take your pick, or do them all- it is up to you! Some of the main highlights would be the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, one of the world’s largest aquariums, where you will find yourself dwarfed by the whale sharks. Taking part in a karate lesson is also a must-do given it is the birthplace of this Japanese martial art. Moreover, Okinawa is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage sights including Shurijo Castle which overlooks Naha city.
Regardless of season there is always something to do in Okinawa. The island’s location allows for a more temperate climate so you will never be too cold here, even in winter. In the summertime you can enjoy beaches and hot sun, while autumn and spring’s cooler weather still offer many hot days allowing island hopping and water sport activities. Finally, winter brings whale watching, cooler weather for cultural sightseeing. Along with this comes good news for you divers out there as scuba diving is in vogue all year round!
If Okinawa was not yet on your radar for 2017 definitely add it to your list even if just for a long weekend getaway, trust me, you will not be disappointed.
By Fabienne Lang