Getting the most out of Golden Week in Okinawa!

Golden Week is coming! That glorious time of year in Japan where we get at least 5 days off work to relax and hopefully travel. Golden week is the perfect time to travel to Okinawa because it's warm enough to enjoy all the summer activities like going to the beach and snorkelling, but it's before the extreme heat and oppressive humidity take over the island!
So if you are planning to travel to Okinawa over Golden Week, here's what I recommend doing to make the most of your time!
Okinawa is a great place to go camping! There are numerous campsites throughout the island, if you want modern amenities such as showers and bathrooms, and most of these places you can also rent all the equipment you need such as a tent, sleeping mats and the all important BBQ! If you want to rough it a bit more and actually sleep on the beach and listen to the waves lapping on the sand overnight, you can even just set your tent up on any secluded beach, such as this one on Kouri Island!
Camping on the beach

Visit the Kerama Islands
If you have time, and are looking for some of the clearest waters and best snorkelling in Okinawa, it's worth catching a ferry over to one of the Kerema Islands from Tomari Port in Naha. These can be visited in one day, or make the most of it by spending a night camping or staying in one of the many guesthouses on the Islands. The closest of the Islands, is Tokashiki, which has fast and slower ferries. You need to book your ferry tickets in advance by ringing Tomari port, especially during busy periods such as Golden Week!
Tokashiki Island

Hire a car!
The best, and really only way to get the most out of your visit to Okinawa is to hire a car. The public transportation on the island is slow and inefficient, and most sites are quite a distance from each other. With a rental car you can drive around the island to find the best and cutest cafes and most beautiful beaches, rather than being stuck in the one area.
Check out Shuri Castle
Shuri Castle is a World Heritage Site that was once the center of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The castle and grounds are gorgeous, and a great glimpse into life in the ancient Ryukyu kingdom. It is starkly different to the Castles on mainland Japan, with influences from Japan, China and Taiwan.
Shuri Castle

Find a Cafe with  View
Okinawa is full of adorable cafes, and if you're lucky on a beautiful day you can find some with amazing views! My favourite if you are up near Churaumi Aquarium, is the Hammock Cafe! You can enjoy your lunch while relaxing in a hammock overlooking the East China Sea. My other favourite is Cafe Doka Doka in Onna-son, which has another great view as well as selling Okinawan pottery made in their pottery studio downstairs.
Hammock Cafe

Cafe Doka Doka

Wander along Kokusai-Dori
Kokusai-Dori is the main tourist spot in Naha city. It's a great place to try Okinawan food, as well as buy souvenirs. There are numerous alleyways coming off the street, so you can easily spend the day wandering, shopping and getting lost.
Kokusai Dori in Naha

Do you have plans to visit Okinawa in Golden Week? Let me know if you want any other tips!

Rachael Brennan