Naha (那覇) is the capital of the Okinawa Prefecture in Japan and is the main city on Okinawa Island, with a population of around 700,000 - more than half the total population of Okinawa.
Naha Airport (那覇空港 Naha-kūkō, OKA; ) is the largest airport in the Okinawa area and the main hub for international and inter-island flights. A new monorail, opened in 2003, connects the airport to the city center.
Note: There is also a Naha Airport (NAH) in Indonesia, which should not be confused with this!
The Naha monorail (, Japanese only) links together the airport, the city and Shuri Castle. Tickets cost ¥200-330 depending on distance, or you can get a 24 hours pass for ¥700. You can also get a 48 hours pass for ¥1,200. The valid period counts from the exact time the pass is issued until 24 or 48 hours ahead. So let's say you bought a 48 hour pass at 3:45pm Monday. The pass will remain valid until 3:45pm Wednesday.
- Shuri Castle (首里城; Shuri-jō), 1-2 Kinjo-cho, Shuri, Naha City, ☎ 098-886-2020. Apr-Jun 8:30-20:00, Jul-Sep 8:30-21:00, Oct-Nov 8:30-20:00, Dec-Mar 8:30-1900. This castle is the former seat of the Ryukyu Kingdom, built in the Okinawan gusuku style. Completely destroyed during World War II, the present buildings were rebuilt in 1958 and 1992. Access via the monorail station "Shuri", 20% discount if you have a monorail daily pass. Also discounts on parties of 20 or more. ¥800 for adults, ¥600 for high school, ¥300 for elem. & middle school, free for under 5.
The town of Itoman lies south and southeast of Naha, and has several attractions.
- Himeyuri Peace Museum, 671-1 Aza-Ihara, Itoman, ☎ 098-997-2101, . 9:00-17:00. Students from two women's schools, together called Himeyuri, were mobilized to work as field nurses during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. This memorial museum documents, from a personal perspective, their lives before and during the battle, in which many of them died. Exhibits are labeled in English, and the museum is a worthwhile visit. ¥300 for adults.
Okinawa Peace Park has several memorials relating to the Battle of Okinawa. To get there by bus, take bus no. 89 from Naha bus terminal, change to bus no. 82 at Itoman bus terminal, and get off at the Heiwa-kinendo-iriguchi stop.
- Peace Park. This park has a beautiful view overlooking the ocean, and features several open-air memorials including the Cornerstone of Peace, wave-like walls of granite on which are engraved the names of those who died in the battle on the front as well as the back. It is a very interesting park.
- Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, 614-1 Mabuni, ☎ 098-997-3844, . Tuesday-Sunday 9:00-17:00, closed Dec. 29-Jan. 3. Museum describes the Battle of Okinawa. ¥300 for adults.
- Okinawa Peace Memorial Hall, 448-2 Mabuni Itoman, ☎ 098-997-3011. A separate memorial, marked by a high tower, with the Peace Memorial Statue and exhibitions of Japanese artists. ¥500 for adults.
- Okinawa World, 1336 Maekawa, Tamagusuku Village (Take Bus No. 54 or 83 to the Gyokusendo-mae stop.), ☎ 098-949-7421, . 9:00-17:00. The major attraction at this theme park is Gyokusendo Cave, 890 meters long, with some interesting stalagmite and stalactite formations. Immediately adjacent to the exit of the cave is the Tropical Fruit Orchard with various exotic fruits including shikuwasa (Okinawan/Taiwanese lemon/lime), canistels, purple-shell passion-fruit, mangoes, papayas, cherimoyas (Peruvian soursop), noni fruit, lychees, among many others. Above the cave is a touristy village with performances of traditional dance, shops selling crafts and snake liquors, and restaurants. Separate admission is required for the habu snake exhibition which includes a snake and mongoose show. Cave and village for ¥1,200, snake exhibition ¥400 extra..
Kokusai dori - The "International" street is a good place for some shopping
- Kiteboarding is possible year round with the winter months being the best.
- Kite Club Okinawa, 270-102 Gibo, Tomigusuku-shi (Across from the Tomigusuku Central Hospital Family Mart), ☎ 098-851-0180, (mobile) 090-6779-9990, . W-M 10AM-8PM. Call before coming (Japanese only). Taka-san is a first rate kite-boarder and a very nice guy. Drop by for lessons, supplies, information about car rental, lodging, tours, and such.
- Scuba Diving. A number of diving businesses offer training courses and diving excursions to the nearby Kerama Islands.
- Blue Zone, ☎ 0120-48-1415, . A diving shop with their own boat. Their very friendly staff offer scuba diving courses and diving trips to the Kerama Islands. Boat trip with two dives ¥11,800; gear rental ¥3,000; extra dive ¥5,000. (26.2194,127.69135)
- Shopping. Kokusai Doori ( 国際通り / International Street) is the longest shopping Street in Naha. It is about 1.6 kilometres (or 1 mile) long, full of shops that sell a multitude of Okinawan products and souvenirs. It is also a superb place to enjoy Okinawan cuisine and for checking out nightlife and the youth scene.
- Beach. Naha actually has one beach, Naminoue, straight towards the ocean from the southern end of kokusai doori. Not the most beautiful beach in Okinawa, but a clean beach for all practical purposes. Also, one has to keep in mind that the swimming area can be very limited depending on the season and the weather.
- Saltwater Fishing Okinawa, 43538882929201b Okinawa, International Street (15 minutes from Naha Airport), ☎ 090-3797-9810, . This business specializes in offshore big game fishing for marlin, tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi, and other fish year-round.
- First Makishi Public Market (第一牧志公設市場). Simply known as "Makishi Market" or "the kitchen of Okinawa", this market started as a kind of black market after WW2. There are more than 400 shops in one floor. You can buy any Okinawa’s traditional foods like dried sea snake (イラブー irabū), pork (Okinawans say they eat everything except the hooves and the oink while the Chinese indeed do also eat them), special vegetables not found on the mainland, colorful fish, or edible seaweed. There are many restaurants upstairs, serving traditional Okinawan home cooking. You can bring your own ingredients (fresh seafood or pork for example) bought downstairs and they will cook it for you for a small fee. Curiously there is no "Second (or further) Makishi Public Market."
- Tomarii Yumachi (泊いゆまち) Fish Market. A must visit for sushi and sashimi lovers. Tomarii Yumachi is a stand-alone indoor fish market in Naha near the docks, albeit a bit off the hectic town. Toro (fatty tuna belly) and Chilean Uni (sea urchin roe) are not to be missed. They're just gorgeous. Chilean Uni is arguably the very best sea urchin roe that I've ever tasted anywhere. The fish market is about 30 minute's walk from Naha's Miebashi (美栄橋) Monorail Station but there is no bus access. So the best way to get there, other than walking or cycling, is by car or taxi. Car park is available.
- Afro Nest, (Just off Kokusai Doori). A reggae themed basement-restaurant with surprisingly good food. Delicious goya champuru and karaage. Try the Afro Rice and Jamaican Jerk Chicken, they're excellent. The staff and customers here are fun to talk to and the menu is a laugh.
- Warahondo, . This cozy, macrobiotic restaurant is one of the few places to get vegan food in Okinawa. The main course changes daily and is always served with fresh brown rice. You can also buy your organic foods, fruits and vegetables here.
- King Taco, (Located outside of the Camp Hansen Marine base.). King Taco is hands down the authority on the local creation "taco rice and cheese", a mouth watering dish that will make any night in Kin something special to remember.
- Shabu-Shabu Nakama, B1 New Sun Parco Bldg. 3-3-1, Kumoji, Naha-shi, Okinawa 900-0015 (At the far end of Kokusai-Dori), ☎ 098-917-1529, . Lunch 11:30 - 3:00, Dinner 5:00 - 12:00. Shabu Shabu (Japanese hot pot) restaurant with agu pork and ishigaki beef, both produced in Okinawa. Also has a vegetable buffet.
- Jack's Steak House, 1-7-3 Nishi-machi Naha-City Okinawa, Japan 〒900-0036 (About 300 metres WNW of Asahibashi (旭橋) Monorail Station), ☎ 098-868-2408, . Opening 11:00am - Last Order 1:00am. Steak, pork chop, pork cutlet, Mexican fried chicken, tacos, sandwich, burgers, sukiyaki, spaghetti, fried rice, drinks. Walk-in only. Reservation not accepted.
- Steak House 88, (There are four of them along Kokusai Doori and one about 10 kilometres NW of Nago (名護) City). A choice of over 20 kinds of steaks such as the best Okinawan beef steak, Ishigaki Wagyu (石垣和牛) beef and classic tenderloin steak. ("',)
You can find several establishments in and around Kokusai Street to enjoy the odd drink or two. There's a few clubs about as well; those frequented by locals, those frequented by US military folks and a mixture of both. Don't try gaining admission (around ¥2,500) wearing sandals.
For the more daring drinker habushu (ハブ酒) is widely available in bars and souvenir shops. Each bottle of fiery shochu liquor comes with a venomous snake inside, best drunk down in one as sipping is not recommended!
- Bar Dick. For a less frantic, more intimate time, you could do worse than check out this American-style bar that's verging on refined. Take care not to be too noisy as it will only upset the otherwise friendly and attentive staff. Bar Dick is the premier whiskey and scotch bar on the island, with expert bartenders, some of whom have been featured in magazines and recieved awards at national level competions.
- Rehab International bar-, Kokusai-dori, . Canadian owned Bar with English speaking staff. The customers are mostly English teachers and Expats and quite a few Japanese nationals. Very friendly place. Limited food menu.
- Smugglers Irish Pub, 1 block from Kokusai Street, . Really nice place to drink. The staff speaks English. One bloke lived in London for 5 years. Lots of friendly locals. Food is good and they had Union Rugby on the T.V. Just walk up the hill from Ryubo Shopping Centre on Kokusai Steet. It is on the left side.
- Campnou Bar (Aka Football Bar), Paradise Dori. Behind JAL Hotel on Kokusai Dori.. Great Place to watch Football. The owner, Hiro-san is a lovely guy and Football Mad. He can speak enough English to get by and is foreigner friendly. He is often open odd hours to accommodate matches held in different time zones.
- Paddy Macs. On BC street, just off of "gate 2" street, outside of Kadena airbase, this Irish pub is second to none for a good time. Martin, the Irish expat owner, is always a wonderful host who keeps the atmosphere lively and upbeat. Paddys also has the distinction of being the preferred drinking hole of Okinawas own Hash House Harrier group. Any true party animal's Okinawa experience would be incomplete without a night on the town with these local larrikins.
- Cafe Bar Moon Bow, Matsuo 2-5-15 (turn off a sidestreet opposite Hotel JAL City Naha. Look for driftwood and fairy lights outside), ☎ 098・869・8588, . Carpenter Takeshi Yamamoto moved out to Okinawa from Tokyo for a more chilled out lifestyle. This bar is filled with beautiful driftwood structures made by Yamamoto. In summer he sometimes constructs tree house bars out on the beaches of nearby islands. He's really friendly as are the regulars who are mostly locals. You'll need to speak Japanese to enjoy this place though.
- Bakku, (Just off Kokusai-dori, around the corner from Afro-nest. Located on the 2nd floor). A friendly, homely bar with great staff and a good crowd. The selection of beers is nice and the food is delicious. Try Haruka's Raftee! It also has Strongbow, for people trying to find some cider.
- The DOJO bar (www.dojobarnaha.com), Asato 101, Naha City (On Sogenji-dori 1 block east from Shureido karate store, 5 mins walk from Kokusai-dori. Closest station is Makishi.), ☎ 0989113601, . Okinawa's only karate and kobudo theme bar, The DOJO opened in 2011 and is owned and run by James, a local resident and long-time karate fan! The DOJO features draft beers, cocktails and a delicious food menu. The English and Japanese speaking staff are knowledgeable about all aspects of activities and places on the island including local dojos to for karate and kobudo training.
Naha's budget accommodations are famously cheap, but you tend to get what you pay for and some can be incredibly dirty.
- chanpurusou, 3-6-3 Makishi, Naha (Near Makishi Station.), ☎ 098-862-9287, . checkin: 1300; checkout: 1100. 3-minute walk from Kokusai Street. It is a guesthouse with exchanges of guest each other. Women 1500 yen, male 1800 yen. Shops close to the 24-hour is also available convenient. Free Internet Available ¥1,500 - ¥1,800. (26.214343,127.689442)
- Grace Naha Hotel. Small family-run guest house. Inexpensive, incredibly friendly and spotlessly clean.
- Sora House, (Near Miebashi Station.), . Inexpensive, friendly hostel. Right next to monorail station and 24-hr grocery store. The staff only speaks a bit of English, but they are very friendly and helpful. The staff can help to arrange trips around Okinawa. If you get a chance to attend to one, you probably should.
- Base Okinawa, 1-17-5 Wakasa (15-20 minute walk from the Kencho-mae monorail station), ☎ 868-2968, . checkout: 11AM. Ten dorm rooms and a couple of lounge rooms make this a really nice place to stay when on a budget. There is also free Internet, laundry, bikes, etc. If you want to get there, walk up the street from the Kencho-mae monorail station towards Wakasa. After passing Wakasa-dori, turn left at the first crossing without a traffic light (there's a very small sign there that says "BASE"). ¥1,000.
- Hotel Marine West Naha, 1-8-15 Kumoji, Naha (Near the Asahibashi monorail station), ☎ 098-863-0055, . checkout: 11AM. A business hotel that is suitable for divers. It has drying space for scuba diving gear and free parking. There is free internet. Room prices include Japanese breakfast. Staff are friendly, though they only speak Japanese. One night plus breakfast ¥3,500; washing machine ¥200; drier ¥200. (26.2132,127.6728)
- Osaruno Oyado Naha (Monkeys Inn), Naha-shi, Wakasa 3-24-3, ☎ 098-963-7252. checkin: 1500; checkout: 1200. very friendly and clean hostel with english speaking stuff which creates a welcoming and familiy like atmosphere for all there guests. You can rent bycicles for free, wash and dry for 100y and the Hostel is directly Located to the okinawa ferry port, which gives you the connections to the smaller islands near okinwawa island. Also the host cooks from time to time in the evening for 300-400 yen. Its also near a small beach and you can reach Kokusai dori in ~ 10 minutes.They have Dorms and Private Room. ~1500 yen/night.
- United States, 2-1-1 Toyama, Urasoe City, ☎ +81 098-876-4211 (, [email protected], fax: +81 098-876-4243), .