A five-day tour is recommended for your first trip to Okinawa. However, much of your time will probably be spent traveling from one place to another since Okinawa’s public transport is not very convenient. There is the monorail train in Naha, though you can also take the express bus if you wish to go to other areas of the main island. The fare might be a little steep though!
The first day can be spent in southern Okinawa Island. Shuri Castle, the relic of ancient Ryukyu Kingdom, should be your first stop. Afterwards, you can go back to Naha city and visit the famous Kokusai Street in the afternoon to see and shop at the numerous specialty and souvenir stores. At dusk, you can go to Makishi Public Market where you can enjoy cheap and fresh seafood.
Your second day can be spent diving—though it is highly suggested that you make arrangements in advance. After diving, fill your tummies with featured Okinawa home-cooking dishes near your hotel, such as Goya chanpuru and Rafute (Shoyu pork). Note that all diving activities should be done in the first few days of your trip as it is not recommended to get on a flight 24 to 48 hours after diving.
On your third day, take the express bus from Naha heading for Central Okinawa Island. You can first visit favorite scenic spots like Manzamo and Ryukyu Village, and then head on to the American Village at dusk. At the American Village, sit on the sky wheel and watch the beautiful sea against the sunset, then enjoy an authentic American dinner. If you have extra time, check out the U.S. military base observatory where you can witness U.S. war planes landing and taking off.
The fourth day can be spent in northern Okinawa. In the morning, go to Kouri Island, an island with rich seafood production. Take a leisurely stroll along the bridge and appreciate the vast seascapes of the main Okinawa Island. In the afternoon, visit the popular Ocean Expo Park and Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, some of the most important stops on the itinerary. In addition to appreciating huge whales swimming in the “Kuroshio Sea” aquarium, you can also enjoy two free dolphin shows in the afternoon.
On the last day, visit the surrounding offshore islands to appreciate the real charm of Okinawa. The closest Kerama Islands is only an hour away from the main island by steamer. You can take a day trip, stay away from the crowds, and wind down your vacation in a completely relaxing manner.
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Intern Ellie's Cycle Kyoto Bike Tour
The best way to travel around Kyoto is via bike so I decided to go on a guided bike tour with Cycle Kyoto for the day! In a small group of only 5 people, we traveled to various shrines, temples, and historical areas. I participated in the full tour which was 6-7 hours long and about 30km. Shorter tours of just the North and South areas of Kyoto are also popular through Cycle Kyoto. Check out all the spots I hit up on my tour below!
Okinawa is famous for their purple sweet potato tarts🍠, and if you visit you will likely see these little tarts in pretty little boxes adorning the storefronts of every shop you see. The special thing about this venue is that it is the only place in Okinawa that you can make your own tart👩🏻🍳! If cooking is not your specialty you can choose to look at the manufacturing process to get an idea of just how they make these peculiar looking treats! In addition to trying this particular treat, the offer a wide variety of desserts local to Okinawa and Japan. There is no better way to get to know a culture than by tasting it! Include this spot in your travel itinerary for a truly sweet time🍡!
Enjoy a gorgeous view of the ocean behind the shop in addition to the beautiful and light beachy interior of their cafe.
Visit their website to make a reservation if you would like to make your own tarts.
Images found on their website and Okinawa Yomitan.