Exploring Okinawa’s Capital City Naha

If you’re traveling to Okinawa Island in Japan, you may want to spend some time in Naha. This is the capital city of Okinawa and it has many tourist attractions. It is the most populated city on the island with a population of 320,000 people. Tourists who want to visit the sub-tropic regions of Japan eventually find their way here.

Are you planning a trip to Naha on Okinawa Island? Then you’ve come across the right article. Here, we’re going to explore some of the top tourist attractions in Naha.

We will also cover important things you should know about visiting Okinawa. Let’s take a look at what you can expect. 

Why visit Naha?

Naha is a busy spot for tourists and there is a good reason for that. If you’re visiting Japan and want to tour around a town that is historic with a metropolitan feel and a tropical environment then Naha is the spot for you.

There are many sightseeing locations within this city that could keep you entertained for your entire trip exploring Okainwa. Naha is often referred to as Japan’s Hawaii.

However, if you’re visiting Japan, you likely don’t want to limit your trip to one location. Naha has an international airport and ferry port, which directly connect to other parts of the Okinawan Islands and Japan.

Okinawa Ferry Service Website

This makes it quicker and easier to find transportation to other areas of the island.

Naha’s International Street- Kokusai dori Street

If you ever visit Naha, you will hear a lot of people mention International Street. This street first gained popularity after World War II when it was nicknamed “Miracle Mile”.

However, the real name is Kokusaidori Street. It earned that name because of how quickly the reconstruction happened. It is now one of the biggest shopping areas in Okinawa and has a lot of great spots for tourists to visit.

Kokusaidori Street Location Via Google Maps

International Street features many dining establishments to give tourists many options for a real taste of Japan. There are many stores, including the largest discount store in all of Japan.

This street is fun both during the day and evening. When people visit International Street at night, they can see many traditional Japanese entertainers perform.

That’s not all you will find on this bustling street. From theatres to arcades, there are enough attractions to keep you occupied for your entire stay.

There are many souvenir shops to pick up Naha-themed gifts to bring back with you. One thing that many tourists enjoy about Kokusaidori is the fresh fruit shops where they can find many tropical fruits, like mangos and passionfruit.

How do tourists get around in Naha?

If you are staying in Naha for vacation, it is recommended to use a rental car service. This way you will be able to come and go to different locations on your own terms without relying on the public transit system.

Naha Car Rental Via Tripadvisor

However, if you are not comfortable driving around in a foreign city, there is public transportation to take advantage of.

Driving In Japan

The most common type of transportation that tourists use in Naha is the monorail. The monorail can take people from the airport to the city center, and then makes its way to Shuri.

Naha Cities Monorail

This trip takes just under half an hour. While there are public buses in Naha, it’s not recommended to rely on them because they don’t have routes 24 hours a day. 

What attractions are best to explore in Naha?

The beauty of traveling to Naha lays within the many tourist attractions. However, the attractions you visit will all depend on what you like to do.

There are so many options in the city of Naha, so you won’t be limited. Let’s take a look at some of the top attractions in Naha.

Naha City Official Visitors Website

Shuri Castle

If you want to see a historic part of Naha, you should start at Shuri Castle. In the 15th century, this was the palace of Ryukyu Kingdom. However, in the 19th century, it fell under Japanese rule.

It was destroyed during World War II and has been rebuilt several times throughout its history and is currently being restored from a 2019 fire that partially destroyed large parts of the castle. 

Shuri Castle Naha

Okinawa Prefectural Museum

This is a spot where you can really indulge in more of Okinawa’s culture and history. From folklore to archeology, and even historic Okinawan art.

Every season, the artwork featured in this museum changes. Tourists can view paintings and pieces designed by artists all over Okinawa Island and the city of Naha.

Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum in Naha

Shuri Ryusen

Do you enjoy tie-dye? Shuri Ryusen is a workshop where you can learn how to try sango-style dying, which is similar to tie-dye. This allows you to bring a piece of Okinawa back home with your to wear. 

Shuri Ryusen Official Website

Shikinaen Garden

A lot of tourists love to make time to visit Japanese gardens during their trip to Japan. However, if you are visiting Naha, the Shikinaen Garden is a much different experience.

The reason why this garden is different is that it’s believed to manifest power. Whether or not that is true, one thing we can confirm is that this garden has a completely unique visual effect.

Shikinaen Garden Official Website

Tsuboya Pottery District

Pottery has been a big part of Okinawa’s history that links back to the Ryukyu Kingdom. Before Okinawa was formed, pottery made from indigenous clay was a rich part of Japanese culture.

Today, this area in Naha is one of the country’s biggest pottery districts. It features shops, museums, and other attractions showcasing the island’s pottery designs.

Tsuboya Pottery District Location Via Google Maps

Pottery Shop In Naha

When is the best time to visit Naha?

Tourists who have visited Naha several times would agree that the best seasons to visit this city is in spring and autumn.

During these seasons, the weather is ideal for visiting beaches and other outdoor locations. Winter is another season that surprises people as a good time to visit. Naha winters are very mild, so people can still enjoy the attractions.

While many people take vacations in the summer, Naha isn’t always the ideal location because of the typhoon season.

While July and August are typically okay months to visit, it’s important to know that the temperatures rise very high during the day. When it’s not raining, it’s likely too hot and humid to participate in activities.

Naha Map Via Google Maps

Naha also gets hit with typhoons in the summer season, and during the months of May, June, and September, tourists can expect some days of rain and high winds.

Walking Kokusai Dori Virtual Tour

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.