December 28, 2012

Things to Do in Okinawa in the Winter

In the Cold Winter Months, What Things are There to Do on Okinawa?

Let's begin by saying that 'winter' in Okinawa is most other places fall or spring. The temperature is usually around 50-60 F. It never gets below freezing, and the water is usually warmer than the air in the winter time.

But, what is there to do on a tropical island in the 'winter colder' months? Well, plenty actually!

The Ocean around Okinawa actually stays very mild, even in the winter

Visiting Historical Sites such as Japanese Castles

Okinawa is home to a huge number of very historical sites such as WWII bunkers and caves, Museums and  even Japanese Castles dating back to around the 12th century AD. 

These old Castles from the Samurai period of Japanese history offer impressive mortar-less architecture and beautiful views from the castle walls.

Shuri Castle on Okinawa
They are scattered across Okinawa, and one can often run across them while exploring the island. 

The most famous castle on Okinawa is Shuri Castle located in Naha at the southern end of Okinawa. While it is often very busy with tourists, it is a must visit. The castle has been completely restored to its original condition, unlike most of the other castles on Okinawa. 

There are many different tours available through a number of services on Okinawa which will guide you through any historical location you wish to visit. So get out and visit a historical location.

Restaurants on Okinawa

When the weather is cold out, nothing warms the body like a delicious bowl of Soba Noodles. Vaguely similar to a chicken noodle soup, Okinawa Soba is miles ahead. 

Often served with pork spare ribs or other slow cooked meats, it fills the body and soul with fantastic flavors and perfect noodles. Don't miss out on eating Okinawa Soba while on Okinawa!

One of the best Soba shops is located just inside the city of Nago, towards the north of Okinawa. For more information and directions, check out my post about Okinawa Soba

Best Shopping Places on Okinawa

There are plenty of places to shop on Okinawa. Jusco, Gate 2 and American Village are three that can be reached quickly from the Kadena area.

The Ferris Wheel at the American Village
Jusco provides a department store type feel with a Japanese twist of culture and clothing. It is a fun place to browse for entertainment, or even shop for useful items. These large stores are located throughout Okinawa, and can be spotted by their large signs.

Gate 2 Street, located directly out Kadena Air Base gate 2, has a number of clothing, souvenir, and miscellaneous shops. A full day of walking and shopping is just waiting for anyone willing to browse the back streets in the area. Just be sure to avoid shopping there at night, when it becomes more of a night club/bar scene.

American Village is located outside Kadena Gate 1, in the Sunabe Seawall area. This shopping area includes a Jusco, and probably another 100 or more small shops and restaurants scattered around the area. With plenty of shopping and small stores to explore, American Village is a place that can be visited over and over again.

Okinawa is an enjoyable and fun place to be, no matter the weather or season. Hopefully these things to do on Okinawa give you some ideas to enjoy Okinawa more.