Experience the ‘Hawaii of Japan’ on the semi-tropical Southwest Islands of the Okinawa Archipelago, perfect for diving, star-gazing and relaxation. The Okinawa Archipelago is relatively undiscovered by tourists, but it’s a real hidden gem. There are more than 160 islands trailing like pearls through the Pacific Ocean towards Taiwan, but three main islands of Okinawa, Miyako and Ishigaki should be your first stops.
One of the main attractions of these islands is their remoteness. You can leave the modern world behind, and enjoy island hopping by ferry or private boat. You can enjoy delicious soba noodles and a glass of dangerously boozy sake with the locals, before heading off to find untouched white sand and crystal-clear waters on some of the smaller islands.
There’s luxury here if you want it, or you can venture out into the wild and tackle jungles, waterfalls and even mangrove swamps in some of the most far-flung islands. One of the best things to do on the Southwest Islands though is diving, as it boasts one of the largest reefs in Japan. On a good day, you’ll see hammerhead sharks, manta rays and other beautiful marine life and at night, the clear skies are perfect for stargazing.
The Okinawa Archipelago has plenty of the things you’d expect to find in Japan, including those beautiful cherry blossoms. It’s even known as the birthplace of karate but it also offers a more laid-back, sun-soaked island experience, which is hard to find elsewhere in fast-paced Japan. Better still, the islands are even a good holiday spot in winter – with temperatures reaching 20 °C while the rest of Japan shivers. And you’ll pretty much get the place to yourself.
Plan your trip to Okinawa Archipelago today.