I'm going to be honest with you. Before I moved to Japan, I didn't think there were beaches that looked like this here.
I didn't think you could go for a hike and see azure water, perfectly white sand, and tropical looking plants. I guess in my mind, Japan was Tokyo-centric for me, for a while - I just thought of it all as one giant metropolis. How glad I was to be wrong!
Okinawa is absolutely stunning. My family and I took a trip there, and whilst a lot of people visiting the island probably stay around the largest city, Naha, we elected to head up the coast and stay in a small, somewhat sleepy town called Okuma.
It was just what we needed though - a relaxing, beachy getaway, where we could enjoy the outdoors, swim, hike, build sandcastles, and not have to worry about time or the pressures of everyday life!
If you're up on the Northern Coast of Okinawa (or quite frankly, just visiting Okinawa in general) and are wanting to do something other than laze on the beach, one thing that is really neat to check out is the Churaumi Aquarium. It's a pretty amazing set up that they have going there - all kinds of marine life, hands on experiences, and wonderful eye-catching displays - fascinating for kids and kids at heart, I think!
Getting to Okinawa is relatively easy - there are plenty of flights per day out of Tokyo to Naha, including budget carriers (yay, wallet friendly!!) It's about a 3 to 3 and a half hour flight, and then if you're wanting to head up to the Northern coast area I would recommend hiring a car. We weren't going to battle with buses with a bunch of luggage and a small child, so the cost of a car per day was well worth it - and it meant we could do a bit more sightseeing that was off the beaten path!