Cultural Attractions and Coral Reefs

Okinawa's blue skies, white sands, and consistent subtropical temperatures make it a great subtropical escape at any time of year. Visitors will be struck, too, by the proud but laid-back unique Ryukyuan culture of the islands, about which you can learn more at the reconstructed Shuri royal palace, Rukyu-mura theme park, and folk craft villages at Okinawa World. The Churaumi Aquarium (regularly rated Japan's best, especially for its awe-inspiring whale shark exhibit) and World War 2 memorials will keep you occupied in town, while castle ruins and waterfall trails will tempt you into the countryside. But who are we kidding? Most come to Okinawa for its beautiful seas, and they do not disappoint. For the best beaches, hop over to Miyako-jima to the south or Zamami to the west. No matter which island they're on, snorkelers and scuba divers will delight in the clear waters and abundant coral offshore. Celebrate another perfect Okinawan sunset with a sip of "awamori," the local firewater. Be careful, it's strong stuff!

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