Mention Japan, the first thing that pops out to most tourists is either Tokyo or Osaka. Yes, we can’t deny how mainstream Tokyo and Osaka are- who wouldn’t love its beauty, right? However, Japan is more than what you can get from these cities. Its magnificence extends from the north, to the east, to the west, and up until the south. If you’re craving for an off-the-beaten-path destination in the Land of the Rising Sun, Okinawa, the Hawaii of Japan, is well worth a visit.
A subtropical region with a comforting warm weather, fresh sea breeze, clear blue skies and cheerful friendly sun, overlooking breathtaking islands and awe-inspiring landscapes, supplemented by their scrumptious food, friendly locals, and everything you can think of, Okinawa is definitely a one for the books destination each has to experience!
Some may never thought but Japan is not just rich in temples and cityscapes, but is also blessed with beautiful natural sceneries. Witness one of the country’s best white sand beaches and untouched coral reefs, and rich Ryukyu culture and legends in the land of Okinawa and I can assure you, you’ll be mesmerized.
This place perfectly lies in the most southern prefecture in Japan, and consists of 160 large and small islands called Ryūkyū Shotō, and is collectively stretched over 700km of ocean from Kyūshū southwest to Yonaguni-jima.
Unlike most of Japan’s region where cold season is very common, Okinawa has a warmer overall temperature, annually averaging at around 23°C, and is at around 17°C during the winter. This weather makes Okinawa an ideal getaway for those who are yearning for a one-for-the-books trip. Your days in this place will definitely be sunny ones!
Pre Travel Guide
Okinawa is absolutely a dreamy place to explore. However, getting there might be a little costly since flying to Okinawa is not that easy as flying to Tokyo or Osaka. There’s no domestic airlines that offers direct flight from Manila to Okinawa and vice versa. But don’t lose hope and give up with your Okinawa dreams. Since gratefully, we have….
Rakso Travel and Tours offers an inimitable tour package for Okinawa that is specially arranged just for you!
- Tour Highlights
- Kokusai Street, Okinawa Peace Memorial Park and Museum, Okinawa World with Drum Show & Gyokusendo Cave Walk, Awamori Sake Brewery, Ryuku Glass Village, Ashibina Outlet Mall, Itoman Illumination, Cape Manzamo, Churaumi Aquarium, Ocean Park with Dolphin Show, Mihama American Village, Shuri-jo Castle, Ryuku Mura Village, Aeon Mall Rycome
- Accommodation: Double Tree Hilton Shuri (4 star) or similar class
- Tour Package Inclusions:
- Roundtrip Direct ight via Philippine Airlines
- 3 Nights Hotel Accommodations
- Tours & Admission fees as per itinerary
- All Transfers as per itinerary
- Meals as per itinerary (3B, 2L, 2D)
- English Speaking Guide
- 1 Bottle of water per pax per day for 3 Days
- Souvenir item – 1 per pax
- WiFi Service inside Bus
What airlines is used to fly from Manila to Okinawa?
What’s awesome about this trip is its Chartered flight from Manila to Okinawa (and vice versa.) Rakso Travel specially requested Philippine Airlines to have an exclusive flight from Manila to Okinawa solely for the Rakso clients. Thus, the flight that is offered is certainly limited and is only available once in a blue moon. (What about grabbing rare opportunities like this!?)
Do we need Japan Visa?
For Philippine Passport Holders, we are required to apply a Single OR Multiple Entry Visa in order for us to enter Japan. Gratefully, Rakso Travel provides assistance on processing your Japan Visas. All you have to do is submit the required documents to them, and they’ll do the rest!
- Duly accomplished and signed APPLICATION FORM (A4 Size)
- Original Passport (6 MONTHS VALID PRIOR TO DEPARTURE DATE)
- 2 pcs. Colored Picture with WHITE BACKGROUND, 4.5cm x 4.5cm
- Latest Income Tax Return
- Original Bank Certicate
- NSO Authenticated Birth Certicate (issued within a year)
- NSO Marriage Contract (issued within a year)
- Authorization Letter (for Visa Filing and Pick-up)
- For Employee: Cert. of Employment
- For Businessman: Business Documents
- For Student: Photocopy of School ID, School Certicate
- Read more: Visa/ Consular Services: Embassy of Japan in the Philippines
How to get around?
Transportation System in Okinawa is very limited. There is a monorail available, but it only restricted within Naha City. Hence if you’re into visiting the central or northern areas of Okinawa, where some of the famous tourist attractions are located, you have to take the public bus which will take you hours to reach them, and it is costly as well.
Thankfully, Rakso Travel took care of everything. You have nothing to worry about. You don’t have to endure the hassleness of commuting, and undergo hours of traveling to take you from one attraction to another. All you have to do is sit back and relax, and let Rakso Travel take you to places you want to see!
Where to stay?
We stayed in DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, which is, of course, part of the package tour Rakso Travel offers. This hotel is one of the most prevalent hotel in Okinawa. It is located in Shuri, where a number of historical sights can be found, including the prominent Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a few minutes drive / commute from the bustling business town of Naha, where you can find various shopping centres and restaurants.
Our room features a 40-inch TV, working station, mini-refrigerator, Japanese bidet, sitting area with coffee table and WiFi. Aside from the basic amenities, our room also highlights a twin bed, which has the right comfort and softness a tourist like me needs! Moreover, we are also entitled to a daily buffet breakfast which offers various elegant dishes that will surely satisfy your happy tummy!
Travel Checklist (Already Provided by Rakso Travel)
- Travel Insurance
- Tour Guide Fee
Special Thanks to:
Okinawa Conventions and Visitors Burea
This trip will also be impossible if it wasn’t because of Okinawa Conventions and Visitors Burea. Their support and assistance is indeed a big help for us!
We arrived in Okinawa in the evening at around 6PM and were warmly greeted by our friendly staff and some of the OCVB staff. We felt very valued as if we were royalty during those times. Our day isn’t that packed since we just arrived the city, and we wanted to just inhale the gracious vibe of Okinawa. From the airport, we headed straight to a local restaurant at Kokusai Street, and had a short free time roaming around the avenue. Afterwards, we preceded to our 4 star hotel and checked in. This welcoming itinerary sure made our day satisfied!
Okinawa Peace Memorial Park
Okinawa Peace Memorial Park is a notable site in Okinawa erected in honor of the tragedy happened during the Battle of Okinawa, a 90 day battle which destroyed 200,000 lives of people. This place is to give remembrance of the ones perished during the war and to serve as an aide memoire against any acts against war.
Inside this park lies the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, where photographs and the details during the wartime are displayed and carefully documented, the “Cornerstone of Peace,” a semi-circular avenue of stones where the names of the souls lost are inscribed, the Memorial Path, the trail where the 32 memorial monuments are located and where Lieutenant General Ushima committed suicide. At the end of the road, you will witness a breathtaking view of the ocean supplemented by the beautiful greenery and Ryukyu Matsu trees around the park.
Here you will witness what Okinawa culture is about. It is a theme park which consists of establishments and attractions that highlights Okinawa’s art, music and literatures. We even witnessed a remarkable Drum Show Performance! Additionally, Okinawal World is also the place where Gyokusendo Cave is located.
Gyokusendo Cave is a 5 kilometer cave, which is considered as the longest in the south of Okinawa Island, and the 2nd largest in the country. This cave offers that magical experience as dazzling stalactites and stalagmites are sited everywhere, augmented by the spectacular dim lights and secured walking paths.
Ryukyu Glass Village
Known as the largest glass factory in Okinawa, Ryukyu Glass Village features 100% handmade glassware that will attract you with its flamboyant colors and diverse shapes and are made with eminence and quality. These are available for sale in their glass shop (tax-free,) and outlet shop. So if you’re into bringing something unique and worthy from Japan to the Philippines, you might as well shop in Ryukyu Glass Village!
Itoman Illution is one of the most remarkable events in Okinawa during Winter Season. It is held in Itoman City which was once a ground battle during the end of World War II. The whole area ihas this enchanting vibe as every corner is beautifully decorated with dreamy lights, summing to 1.4 million lights, which actually represents the approximate number of Okinawa’s population with their hopes for peace. How magical, right?
Other Places to visit:
Okinawa Outlet Mall Ashibina
Anyone who loves shopping will definitely love this place! This outlet mall offers around 100 shops with more than 100 popular brands that everyone can choose from! Items sold aren’t just discounted, but they are vended with high quality as well.
Awamori Sake Brewery
Get to taste Okinawa’s unique alcoholic beverage called Awamori. Yep, you can only find this drink in this prefecture- and nowhere else. It is made with long grain indica rice imported from Thailand, and is processed using distillation – and not brewing.
Here you can witness one of the best views of the island of Okinawa. Cape Manzamo is one of the most famous tourist spot mainly because of a uniquely shaped rock formation in the middle of the ocean- which actually looks like an elephant with a trunk. Aside from this, the ambiance of the place made it ideal for relaxing and appreciating nature. Imagine the fresh sea breeze, warm touch of the sun, and the breathtaking view of the rock formations- it was surreal.
Churaumi Aquarium is considered as one of the largest aquarium in the whole world. In fact it was once the largest one, until it was surpassed by the George Aquarium last 2005. The hugeness of this place made it more possible for us to discover what the underworld looks like. And as for me, the more I explore the aquarium, the more I fall in love with the ocean life. Here, you can witness underwater creatures like manta rays, sea horses, sea turtles, star fishes, and not to mention the magical whale shark- the largest fish in the sea! You can also have a chance to watch a dolphin show which features talented bottlenose dolphins and false killer whales! How awesome is that?!
Mihama American Village
Aesthetic structures, catchy neon lights during the night, endless fashion shops, limitless delectable restaurants, and many more – these are what you can grasp in Mihama American Village. It is an enormous entertainment complex, one that resembles an American outdoor shopping centre, which features a shopping mall with various shops to choose from and a huge appealing Ferris Wheel!
One of the most significant structure in Okinawa Prefecture, Shurijo Castle is a sight that can’t be missed during your trip. It serves as an administrative center, as well as a home to the Ryukyu kings for eras of time. In fact, this edifice was designated as one of the UNESCO World Heritage last December 2000. Hence, if you are keen to foretaste Okinawa’s interesting culture, a visit to this castle is a must.
Here you can perceive the history of Ryukyu Kingdom through the edifying exhibits that can be found inside the castle. Snapshots, artifacts, sculptures and clips that highlights the antiquity of Okinawa are on every corner of the castle. Moreover, you can also get an overview of Naha City from this area! It was breathtaking,
AEON Mall represents the largest shopping center in Okinawa with more than 220 specialty stores. It is also home to the world’s largest food court with more than 60 restaurants, and 5,500 seats available- all placed in a five level floors, with a 100-ton aquarium on the first level. Yep, you’ll definitely have your cravings (whatever that is) satisfied in this place!
Okinawa, Japan is more than what you see on the photos and what you read on the texts here in this blog. It’s so much more to the fact that you have to experience this yourself. Hence, why don’t you book your tour with Rakso Travel and Tours, and just go.