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Top Five Things To Do in Okinawa, Japan

Top Five Things To Do in Okinawa, Japan

Whereabouts Okinawa JapanPresenting ‘Okinawa, Japan’ according to Gina of Gina Bear’s Blog.

The “Whereabouts” series is now taking guests! Have a location to share? Pitch your idea here.

My old stomping grounds have a story. It’s not just a personal story, but one that can be molded into a unique one by any traveler who finds their way into the Yomitan Cape. I loved my old hometown and if you’ve ever heard the song “Where the City Meets the Sea” by the Getaway Plan, Yomitan is a picturesque, live depiction. The town melts at the edge of the sea where nothing but pristine, sapphire waters greet you at the edge of the cape as the lighthouse stands proudly. I can still hear the waves beating at the cliff, slowly persuading it to abandon its post and become one with the ocean. Thanks to the Torii Station U.S. Army Base, there’s a great selection of foreign food and things to do.

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1. Scope out the island’s best scenic views

Right after Zanpa beach and where you can go no further, stands the lighthouse and a park with a path lining the cliffs. At Zanpa Cape, you can listen to the ocean spray and smell the clean sea. Climb the lighthouse for the best views Yomitan has to offer. Don’t forget to take a selfie! Also, driving north on the 58 is the best sight. As Yomitan and Onna Village fade into each other, you’ll be greeted by a bend of sparkling ocean for kilometers. It was my favorite part of traveling north in Okinawa.

Whereabouts Okinawa Japan

The lighthouse pops against a clear, blue sky

2. Beach like the Okinawans do

Zanpa Beach was my absolute favorite beach in Yomitan. When the tide comes in, it’s perfect and deep for swimming. In front of a nice hotel, all are welcome to indulge in a clean ocean. During the summer months, lifeguards are always on duty. Since Japan is kinda awesome, no one cares if you bring all your floaties. Toguchi Beach is awesome because when the tide is low, you can wander around and climb the rocks. You can search for starfish in the pools and explore the trails around it. Since it’s a very natural beach, the water gets warm from the rocks in the summer and the ocean gets bathwater warm. It’s super relaxing.

Whereabouts Okinawa Japan

Fall in love with the Pacific Ocean

3. Parade around during the Village Festival

The Yomitan Village Festival, held usually in September or October, celebrates all of Yomitan’s traditional aspects like the sanshin (Okinawan snakeskin banjo), textiles, and ancient culture. The best part of the festival is the reenactment of the giant ship paraded through the middle of the festival. This represents their village pioneers opening up trade with China. The townspeople dress in traditional costumes and it’s an incredible site to behold. The village where the sea meets it is an exquisite gem of Okinawa with culture, beach and ocean to satisfy even the pickiest of travelers. It’s is the kind of place you’ll dream about, for its beauty will surpass everything you’ve ever known. Don’t miss an encounter with the Yomitan Lighthouse at the cape or the wind tousling your hair at the Zakimi Castle. What are you waiting for? Go fall in love with Yomitan.

Whereabouts Okinawa Japan

Peep this paint job!

4. Take a step back through time 

For the history buff, travel to the ruins of Zakimi Castle. Once a stronghold and strategic location, Zakimi Castle was used as a fortress and oversaw the northern parts of Okinawa. The castle boasts raw beauty and an amazing view of the ocean. During the Christmas season, the castle lights up making it a romantic date spot. To see the traditions of yore, make your way to Yomitan Pottery Village. Designated as a national treasure by the Emperor of Japan, the pottery village boasts traditional Okinawan pieces ranging from teapot sats to tiles decorated with elaborate flowers. You can see how traditional Ryukyu Glass is made and become enchanted with unique designs of sea creatures and the ocean.

Where? Zakimi Castle is found at Japan, 〒904-0301 Okinawa Prefecture, Nakagami District, 読谷村Zakimi, 708−6 and Yomitan Pottery Village is at Japan, 〒904-0301 Okinawa Prefecture, Nakagami District, Yomitan, Zakimi, 2653

Whereabouts Okinawa Japan

What remains of this Okinawan stronghold

5. Chow down on locally-sourced food

Even if you’re not a vegetarian, Dechibica is sure to satisfy your palate. Made with all vegetables, local produce and natural ingredients, the taste will make your taste buds sing. Their curry and noodles are so satisfying even meat lovers agree. The owners, Kita and Taku are super friendly and will enchant you with pleasant conversation. If you’re hungover on a Sunday or looking for a brunch, the Yomitan Pancake House is the place for you. Made from scratch and with a bunch of delectable delights to choose from, it makes for a great pancake. You will actually have a hard time choosing because all their selections look delicious.

Where? Dechibica is at 〒904-0314 Okinawa Prefecture, Nakagami District, 読谷村古堅648-1 and Yomitan Pancake House is at 〒904-0305 No.44,436 Toya, Yomitanson, Okinawa

Whereabouts Okinawa Japan

Because of the American Base, you can get yourself some fluffy pancakes

Whereabouts Okinawa Japan

For some clean eating, Japanese-style vegetarian food

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gina Bear has been an expat since 2012. Starting her journey on Okinawa, Japan, she made the hop over to Korea and has continued loving, traveling, and misadventuring ever since. In her free time, she enjoys playing her sanshin (Okinawan snakeskin banjo) and exploring Korea for great YouTube content. If you’re interested in travel, life in Korea and Japan, venture to her blog for some insight. She promises you won’t regret it. You can find her blogging at Gina Bears Blog. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube too.

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Izzy Pulido is a Bostonian by way of the Philippines who loves to vagabond. At twenty-seven, she's traded in gallivanting around Europe for the 9-to-5 grind... but don't count out the vagabonding! With a new long distance relationship, she's bringing American travel to the forefront. She lives for good times, good food, and good peeps.

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  1. Roxy Hutton

    14 April

    What beautiful graphics you have for this post Izzy! They really are gorgeous!
    I have yet to go to Japan, and this post really makes me want to go to Okinawa.
    Really enjoyed this guest post
    x

    • Izzy Pulido

      21 April

      Thank you so much Roxy! I am on path to beautifying the world like yourself 😛 You should go to Okinawa or Japan at least before you head home to SA!

  2. Gina

    14 April

    Izzy, I’m so glad I got to share some awesome tidbits about my old hometown here! It definitely needs to get the recognition it deserves! Your graphics are amazing as always! I miss Yomitan now and I wish I could go back and eat beni imo (purple potato tarts).

    • Izzy Pulido

      21 April

      Beni imo?!? Say what?!?!? Isn’t it always funny how when we miss old places, its always food that we get nostalgic about? I am so honored that you were the first guest post this site has seen and I am so happy that you covered a place not only of importance to you, but a really interesting one at that. Thank you for being a part of my blogging journey! <3

  3. I was impressed with this post as I have never been to Okinawa before in my life, but after seeing this post, I think I need to plan for this trip as soon as possible.
    Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

    • Izzy Pulido

      21 April

      This was actually a post written by my friend Gina so I will pass your gratitude onto her 🙂

  4. Wendy

    18 April

    Beautiful. I’ve never been to Okinawa, only Tokyo. Gina’s photos are so beautiful and enticing.

    • Izzy Pulido

      21 April

      I know, Gina is so lucky to have lived in such a picturesque location! I wish I knew her then so I could’ve visited!

  5. Love this! I haven’t been to Japan but heard so many good things about it, even The Greek Mister considers it as his favorite country to visit. I particularly love the food, the photo you posted made my mouth water. Also, I’ve never thought that Japan in general will have a beautiful beach. Goes to show how little I know of the country.

    • Izzy Pulido

      21 April

      The Greek Minister was quoted saying that? That’s pretty cool that world leaders have shared their own favorite places 🙂 I love love love Japanese food! I crave it all the time although I’ve realized I like their simpler recipes better than all the extravagant takes of Japanese food abroad. I actually never knew stunninng beach destinations existed in Japan too until Gina shared this post with me. You know what, you are a step ahead of the game educating on the world at least 🙂

  6. Natasha

    19 April

    Hi Gina,

    This looks like so much fun! I love, love Japan but have only been to Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. I’m headed to Fukuoka for Children’s Day weekend and can’t wait!! Where will you be headed for the holiday? I would love to try to local food in Okinawa some day 🙂

    P.S. love the graphics!

    • Izzy Pulido

      21 April

      Hi Natasha, I’ll pass your comment along to Gina. I’m Izzy, the owner of this site 😛 Gina is currently living in Korea as of now so she probably is not on the same calendar as you but its great that you’re in Japan as well! Its a small world after all 🙂

  7. Cassie

    20 April

    These graphics are outstanding! Do you make them all yourself? I’ve never been to Japan before but hope to get there in the next few years! Will add this to the itinerary/ever growing bucket list!

    • Izzy Pulido

      21 April

      Hi Cassie! Yes, I create all the graphics myself. Thank you for such a lovely compliment! And Japan is fantastic! You should definitely prioritize it on your travel list. But I can relate: my own bucket list is a beast!!

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