Where to stay in Okinawa: Best areas and hotels for 2024

Okinawa is a mesmerizing archipelago situated in the southernmost part of Japan, known for its tropical climate, pristine beaches, and unique Ryukyuan culture. As the birthplace of karate and home to various UNESCO World Heritage sites, Okinawa offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, history, and rich cultural experiences.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Okinawa as a first time visitor, Naha is the best place to base yourself as it has a variety of attractions, shopping, and dining. There are countless hotels and accommodations to choose from that cater to your preferences and budgets.

If you want to spend your days basking in the sun on sandy beaches and enjoying water activities, consider staying in coastal areas like Onna, Miyakojima, or Ishigaki.

For a trip filled with historical sites, local culture, and vibrant city life, stay in Nakijin, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Nakijin Castle Ruins. Or experience the mix of American and Japanese culture in Chatan.

If you want a quieter side of Okinawa, stay in Nanjo for a peaceful, spiritually rich experience.

Here is a summary of the best places to stay in Okinawa at a glance.

  • Best area for first time visitors: Naha
  • Best area for beach romance: Onna
  • Best area for nature: Nago
  • Best area for island-hopping: Ishigaki
  • Best area for history and culture: Nakijin
  • Best area for families: Motobu
  • Best area for traditional Okinawan culture: Yomitan
  • Best area for beach lovers and water sports: Miyakojima
  • Best area for mix of American and Japanese culture: Chatan
  • Best area for relaxation and spiritual exploration: Nanjo

In this guide, I will elaborate on each area and explain in detail why it’s interesting and ideal for your preference, budget and travel style.

❤️ Best Area for first-timers:Naha
💎 Best luxury 5* hotel:Hotel Collective
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Best Western Okinawa Kouki Beach
🛏️ Best budget hotel:M´s Stay Okinawa
Where to stay in Okinawa Summary

Tips for selecting the best accommodation in Okinawa

  • Determine your priorities: Consider what is most important to you during your stay, such as proximity to attractions, beach access, or Okinawan culture. This will help you narrow down the areas and types of accommodations that suit your preferences.
  • Set a budget: Okinawa has a wide range of accommodation types, from luxury resorts to budget guest houses. Determine how much you’re willing to spend and search for hotels that fit your budget.
  • Consider the location: Okinawa is an archipelago which means that each island has something unique to offer and each island has multiple regions with its own character and attractions. Evaluate what you want to do on your Okinawa trip and select that suits your plans.
  • Check availability and book in advance: Okinawa is a popular destination, and accommodations can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons. Be sure to book your accommodation well in advance to ensure you get the best rooms and prices.
  • Consider amenities: Make a list of essential amenities you require, such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning, or an on-site restaurant. Ensure the accommodation you choose offers these facilities to make your stay more comfortable.
  • Be mindful of cultural differences: Keep in mind that Okinawan customs and traditions may differ from what you’re used to. Be respectful of local customs and adjust your expectations accordingly, especially when staying in traditional accommodations like Ryokan inns.

No matter your location in Okinawa, you can count on experiencing delicious local cuisine, stunning beaches, and a warm atmosphere while staying in Okinawa.

Naha – Where to stay in Okinawa for the first time

Beautiful accommodation in Naha, Okinawa, Japan

Naha is a city that should not be missed on your first trip to Okinawa. This vibrant and bustling capital boasts stunning, traditional Okinawan architecture alongside modern buildings, making it a fascinating fusion of old and new.

From its beautiful architecture to its many museums and cultural attractions, Naha is a great place to explore and learn about the island’s history and unique Ryukyuan traditions.

Some must-see attractions in the city include the 14th-century Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was the residence of the Ryukyu Kingdom’s royal family. The castle is a splendid example of the architectural style known as Gusuku and showcases the rich heritage of the region.

Don’t miss the lively Kokusai Dori (International Street), a vibrant shopping and entertainment district lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. This vibrant street is the perfect place to sample local delicacies and experience the Okinawan nightlife. It’s also a fantastic place to find Japanese souvenirs.

Naha is also known for its traditional markets, such as Makishi Public Market, where you can find fresh produce, seafood, and local specialities. While staying in Okinawa, try Okinawan soba, a noodle dish with a rich, savoury broth, and goya champuru, a stir-fried dish made with bitter melon, tofu, and vegetables. I recommend trying sea caviar (or sea grapes) from a local supermarket too, which is a type of local seaweed that looks like fish roe.

Naha is the capital of Okinawa and is well-connected to other parts of the island. Whether you are keen to explore the city or take day trips to nearby destinations, Naha is a convenient base for your travels and the ideal place where to stay in Okinawa on your first trip.

The city is a well-rounded destination, and it offers a diverse range of nightlife, from lively bars and clubs to relaxed izakayas and cafés, catering to a variety of tastes.

In terms of accommodation in Naha, you’ll have a wide range of choices within the tourist zone. These include hotels, ranging from budget to luxury, as well as traditional Ryokan inns, guest houses, and holiday rentals.

Where to stay in Naha

In a great location, overlooking the marina, 2 mins walk from the Asahibashi Station, the Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa is a 5-star hotel with affordable, large rooms. Another 5-star hotel, centrally located, close to Kokusai-dori is Hotel Collective. Also in the city centre, Hotel GrandConsort Naha is a 4-star hotel with spacious family rooms. All these hotels are easily accessible from the airport, and the best beaches in Naha can be reached by car within 20-30 mins.

Hotel Collective
Luxury Hotel8.8

Hotel Collective is a 5-star hotel located in Naha, which is 1.1 miles away from Naminoue Beach. The hotel offers various amenities such as a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, private parking, a fitness center, and a restaurant. The accommodation also includes city views, a sauna, and a hot tub.

Click here for prices and book Hotel Collective

Tokyu Stay Okinawa Naha
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Tokyu Stay Okinawa Naha is a 4-star hotel located in the centre of Naha, 1.2 miles away from Naminoue Beach. The hotel features a garden, a shared lounge, and a restaurant. It offers free WiFi, a 24-hour front desk, and a concierge service.

Click here for prices and book Tokyu Stay Okinawa Naha

Weekly Harbourview Mansion Main Building
Budget Hotel8.8

Weekly Harbourview Mansion is a spacious apartment-style accommodation located just a 10-minute drive away from Naha Airport. The rooms feature a full kitchen, balcony, and private bathroom, and there are coin-operated laundry machines available for use

Click here for prices and book Weekly Harbourview Mansion Main Building

Onna – The best area to stay for beaches

Sunset in Onna beach Okinawa Japan

Onna is a west coastal village on the main Okinawa island (Okinawa Honto) and the perfect place to stay if you’re seeking a romantic beach getaway. Nestled along the western coast, Onna offers breathtaking ocean views, pristine white-sand beaches, and crystal-clear waters, creating an idyllic and intimate atmosphere for couples.

The picturesque coastline of Onna has plenty of luxurious resorts and charming boutique hotels to pick from, making it the ideal destination for a romantic escape. Indulge in spa treatments, dine at ocean front restaurants, and take leisurely strolls on the pristine beach while enjoying Okinawa’s spectacular sunsets.

One of the best beaches in Onna is Manza Beach, known for its vibrant marine life and turquoise waters. This is the ideal place to enjoy water activities, such as snorkelling, scuba diving, and kayaking, allowing couples to explore the underwater world together.

If you’re seeking a more relaxed and private experience, then head to the crescent-shaped Moon Beach. This secluded haven features powdery sand, calm waters, and lush greenery, making it an ideal spot for a romantic picnic or a leisurely swim. This is a private beach that belongs to the Moon Beach hotel, and access costs 1000 yen per person if you’re staying in a different hotel.

Beyond its beautiful beaches, Onna also boasts scenic spots like Cape Manzamo, a dramatic cliff formation offering panoramic ocean views and the Blue Cave, ideal for snorkelling & scuba diving in a cave with visually striking blue waters.

With its luxurious resorts, pristine beaches, and enchanting natural surroundings, Onna is the perfect destination for couples seeking a romantic and tranquil beach escape in Okinawa. The village offers a diverse range of dining, from fine dining establishments to quaint seaside cafés, allowing visitors to savour the flavours of Okinawa in a romantic setting.

You’ll find great accommodation here in Onna catering to couples, from opulent beach front resorts and boutique hotels to cosy bed and breakfasts and private vacation rentals.

Best hotels to stay in Onna

The resorts and hotels in Onna are all located right next to the beach or within a few minutes walk. In the very north, a great option for honeymooners is the Halekulani Okinawa is a luxury 5-star hotel with a private beach and infinity pools. A night costs around $590, and you can pick spacious rooms with ocean and sunset views. Next to a long, sandy beach, Hotel Monterey Okinawa Spa & Resort is an affordable luxury 5-star resort with on-site restaurants and great food. Just a few minutes from the beach, a lovely 4-star option, Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Okinawa Serakaki offering huge family rooms under $100/night that come with extra amenities like a kitchen and washing machine. An excellent budget option is Mr KINJO’s private apartments.

Sheraton Okinawa Sunmarina Resort
Luxury Hotel8.8

Sheraton Okinawa Sunmarina Resort is a beachfront property offering a range of activities for guests. The resort offers water activities such as windsurfing and canoeing, and guests can also enjoy massage therapies and beauty treatments at Churaku Spa.

Click here for prices and book Sheraton Okinawa Sunmarina Resort

Rizzan Sea Park Hotel Tancha Bay
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Rizzan Sea Park Hotel is a beachfront hotel located on Okinawa’s west coast, with direct access to the beautiful white sands of Rizzan beach. The hotel offers 2 swimming pools, tennis courts, marine activities, and 9 food and beverage options.

Click here for prices and book Rizzan Sea Park Hotel Tancha Bay

Odysis Onna Resort Hotel
Budget Hotel8.8

Odysis Onna Resort Hotel is a 3-star hotel located in Onna, just a few steps away from Kariyushi Beach. The hotel offers a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden, and a terrace.

Click here for prices and book Odysis Onna Resort Hotel

Nago – The best area to stay for nature

Haneji Dam Museum in Nago, Okinawa, Japan

Nago is a fantastic area to stay in Okinawa if you’re seeking a nature-filled adventure. Located in the northern part of the main island, Nago is home to lush forests, stunning coastlines, and just one hour easy access to Yanbaru National Park, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts.

The city offers a variety of outdoor activities that cater to different interests and fitness levels. Explore the verdant landscapes of Yanbaru National Park, where you can hike through subtropical forests, observe rare wildlife, and marvel at majestic waterfalls like Taa Falls.

If you prefer coastal adventures, head to the beautiful beach resorts along Nago Bay. A must-visit attraction in Nago is the Busena Marine Park, which offers a chance to explore the underwater world of Okinawa without getting wet. The park’s underwater observatory and glass-bottom boat tours provide a unique opportunity to witness the diverse marine life that inhabits the surrounding coral reefs.

Don’t miss the Nago Castle Park, which looks incredible with its winter cherry blossoms. Nature lovers will love Neo Park Okinawa, which provides a unique experience with flamingos and lemurs. Discover the vibrant birdlife, interact with friendly animals, and immerse yourself in the lush greenery of this unique park.

With its rich natural landscapes, abundant wildlife, and outdoor activities, Nago is the perfect destination for nature lovers seeking an immersive experience in Okinawa. The city offers lots of dining, with a great range of Japanese foods including ramen, soba, tonkatsu. While there is easy access within Nago, to enjoy the nearby natural parks, I do recommend renting a car rental.

In Nago, you’ll find a range of accommodation that cater to nature enthusiasts, from eco-friendly hotels and resorts to guest houses, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals.

Best resorts to stay in Nago

In the centre of Nago, the Super Hotel Okinawa Nago has very well priced, large rooms. Closer to the beach in the Kise area, Kanehide Kise Beach Palace and The Terrace Club Wellness Resort at Busena resorts are great options if you are looking for that all-inclusive stay. On the other side of the island in the Abu area, Kanucha Bay Hotel & Villas has its own sandy beach and offers large, family rooms. With so many hotels and resorts, stunning beaches, family-friendly activities and outdoor hiking opportunities, you’ll never run out of things to do.

The Terrace Club Wellness Resort
Luxury Hotel8.8

The Terrace Club Wellness Resort at Busena is a hotel located in Nago, offering a spa center and a private beach area. The hotel features a seasonal outdoor pool, sun terrace, gift shop, and a restaurant and bar for dining and drinks.

Click here for prices and book The Terrace Club Wellness Resort

Oriental Hotel Okinawa Resort & Spa
Luxury Hotel8.8

Oriental Hotel Okinawa Resort & Spa is a hotel that offers 3 dining options, indoor and outdoor pools, and complimentary transportation to a private beach. The hotel is located 0.6 miles from Kariyushi Beach and features spacious rooms with a balcony that offers views of the island and ocean.

Click here for prices and book Oriental Hotel Okinawa Resort & Spa

Best Western Okinawa Kouki Beach
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Best Western Okinawa Kouki Beach is a hotel located on the beachfront, offering rooms with ocean views and free WiFi access. The hotel features on-site water sport facilities. Each room comes with a balcony, a kitchenette, a flat-screen TV, and a closet.

Click here for prices and book Best Western Okinawa Kouki Beach

New Normal Hotel
Budget Hotel8.8

New Normal Hotel in NAGO is an aparthotel located in Nago, Okinawa. The property provides free WiFi and free private parking. The air-conditioned units feature a balcony, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom with a shower and hairdryer. The kitchen is equipped with a fridge, microwave, stovetop, and kettle.

Click here for prices and book New Normal Hotel

Nakijin – The best area to stay for history and culture

Kouri Beach in Nakijin, Okinawa, Japan

Nakijin is a village in the northern part of Okinawa Island. It’s the perfect area to stay if you’re seeking a deep dive into the region’s history and culture. Renowned for its well-preserved historical sites and traditional Ryukyuan heritage, Nakijin offers a glimpse into the island’s rich past.

The most prominent attraction in Nakijin is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nakijin Castle Ruins, a significant archaeological site that once served as the residence of the Ryukyu Kingdom’s regional lords. I also recommend the site for its breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and ocean.

History and culture lovers will love Nakijin, home to several traditional Ryukyuan villages where you can experience the local way of life, explore well-preserved houses, and learn about the region’s crafts and customs. For great day trips, take the Warumi Bridge to Yagaji and Kouri islands.

Nakijin is great if you love matsuri, with its cherry blossom festival among the ancient ruins of Nakijin Castle. Okinawa’s cherry trees typically bloom between mid-January and early February.

Nakijin is well-connected with the rest of the island, as well as to Yagaji and Kouri islands if you are after more beaches and tourist attractions.

Best places to stay in Nakijin

Nakijin has great accommodations that cater to history and culture enthusiasts, including guest houses, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. Generally, prices in Nakijin are more affordable than in other parts of the main island. Most hotels are 5-star, luxury resorts like the One Suite THE GRAND. Affordable options can be found closer to the Oyadomari Beach, like this 2-bedroom villa called Fukugi Inn; or on Yagaji Island like Stäy Hotel where a room is under $100/night. Cottage Star House offers standalone holiday cottages that sleep up to 4 people of $90/night. You can also rent an entire house for 5 people in a stunning location (car is required) at Kashibessou Nihedebiru.

Away Okinawa Kouri Island Resort
Luxury Hotel8.8

Away Okinawa Kouri Island Resort is a 5-star hotel located in Nakijin, less than 0.6 miles away from Kouri Beach and Chigunu Beach. The hotel offers a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a restaurant, and a terrace

Click here for prices and book Away Okinawa Kouri Island Resort

LOISIR Terrace & Villas KOURI
Luxury Hotel8.8

LOISIR Terrace & Villas KOURI is a 5-star hotel located in Nakijin, offering a fitness centre, free private parking, a garden, and a terrace. The hotel features a restaurant and a bar, as well as air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi.

Click here for prices and book LOISIR Terrace & Villas KOURI

Nagahama Beach Resort Kanon
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Nagahama Beach Resort Kanon is located in Nakijin, Okinawa, and features accommodation with free WiFi, a children’s playground, and a seasonal outdoor swimming pool. The property is situated within 1 km of Sakiyama Beach and provides free private parking.

Click here for prices and book Nagahama Beach Resort Kanon

Motobu – The best area to stay in Okinawa for families

Motobu with its massive Okinawa Aquarium and its whale shark

Motobu is the best area to stay in Okinawa for families seeking a fun and engaging vacation because of its many beautiful beaches, family-friendly attractions, and easy access to nature, making it the ideal destination for visitors of all ages.

The top attraction in Motobu for families is the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world, where you can marvel at the diverse marine life, including whale sharks, manta rays, and colourful coral reefs. The aquarium is part of the larger Ocean Expo Park, which also features the Tropical Dream Center, Native Okinawan Village, and a beautiful Emerald Beach, providing a full day of entertainment for the entire family.

Head to the scenic Cape Bisezaki which offers a family-friendly beach with calm waters, ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Don’t miss the Bise Fukugi Tree Road, a picturesque street lined with ancient trees that create a natural tunnel. The road has many fukugi trees and around the path you will find guest houses and several places for a snack too.

There’s a wide selection of accommodation in Motobu, where families can pick from family-friendly resorts, guest houses or holiday rentals with kid-friendly amenities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay for everyone.

Family-friendly places to stay in Motobu

Connected to Motobu with a bridge, Sesoko Island is just a 10 mins drive from the major attractions in Motobu. Sesoko Sansui holiday houses offer stunning family rooms that can accommodate up to 8 people. Alternatively, rent a room with an ocean view at Ala Mahaina Condo Hotel walking distance from the aquariums and the Tropical Dream Center botanical gardens. Also nearby, perfect for larger families, Osiyanterasu private house that comes with a kitchen and beautiful ocean views.

Hilton Okinawa Sesoko Resort
Luxury Hotel8.8

Hilton Okinawa Sesoko Resort in Motobu features a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a fitness centre, and a garden, located 100 yards away from Sesoko Beach. The resort offers a restaurant, bar, and indoor pool.

Click here for prices and book Hilton Okinawa Sesoko Resort

Churaumi on the Beach Motobu
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Churaumi on the Beach Motobu is a 3-star resort located in Motobu. The property is situated a few steps from Shiokawa Beach and 1 mile from Sakimotobu Beach. The resort features a garden, free private parking, and a terrace.

Click here for prices and book Churaumi on the Beach Motobu

Comfort Villa
Budget Hotel8.8

Comfort Villa is an aparthotel located 0.8 miles from Ufutabaru Beach, offering a terrace and free bikes for guests. The accommodation features a balcony, free WiFi, air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen.

Click here for prices and book Comfort Villa

Yomitan – The best area to stay for traditional Okinawan culture

Sunny skies in Yomitan Okinawa Japan

Yomitan is a perfect area to stay in Okinawa if you’re after an authentic and immersive experience of traditional Okinawan culture. You’ll learn about the rich history, artisanal crafts, and local customs, making Yomitan an ideal destination if you would like to know more about the island’s heritage.

Visit the Yomitan Pottery Village, also known as Yachimun no Sato. Explore numerous pottery studios, watch local artisans at work, and even try your hand at creating your own pottery pieces. The village is renowned for its traditional Okinawan pottery, characterized by its unique patterns and fun colours.

Head to Zakimi Castle Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which offers another opportunity to delve into Okinawa’s history. The castle, which dates back to the 15th century, played a crucial role in the island’s defence during the Ryukyu Kingdom era. Wander through the well-preserved ruins and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Learn about Yuntanzan Hanaui, a specific style of weaving which originated in Yomitan. The fabric, called agoyofu, was characterized by precise designs enforced by the government and was exclusively worn by the villagers in Yomitan Village. The tradition lost its uniqueness during the Meiji era but was revived by a dedicated craftsman from the village after World War II.

After a day learning about the local culture, head to the local beaches, Zanpa Beach and Cape Zanpa, where you can relax and enjoy the picturesque coastal scenery.

Yomitan has a great mix of local and international restaurants. There are plenty of cafés, bakeries, Japanese eateries and plenty of Italian restaurants for when you miss some pizza and pasta.

Best places to stay in Yomitan

When it comes to staying in Yomitan, you can choose from a great selection of accommodations that cater to culture enthusiasts, including resorts, traditional Ryokans, guest houses, and vacation rentals, ensuring a comfortable and culturally immersive stay.

The most expensive resort – and for a good reason, is the Uza Terrace Beach Club Villas where each private villa comes with its own pool. Prices start from $1500/night and in peak season can reach as high as $3000/night. Another option that’s a little friendlier on your wallet is the Renaissance Okinawa Resort, a 5-star hotel with optional ocean views that costs just $400/night. Royal Hotel Okinawa Zanpamisaki is close to the beach but also has a large swimming pool and a Karaoke bar and the rooms start at $150/night.

Hotel Nikko Alivila
Luxury Hotel8.8

Hotel Nikko Alivila is a luxurious resort located in front of Nirai Beach, offering spacious guest rooms, a spa salon, and indoor swimming pool, and 8 dining and bar options.

Click here for prices and book Hotel Nikko Alivila

Royal Hotel Okinawa Zanpamisaki
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Royal Hotel OKINAWA ZANPAMISAKI is on Zanpa Beach with 6 dining options, public bath with sauna, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TV in each room. It offers tennis court, karaoke bar, outdoor swimming pool (seasonal), and a massage salon.

Click here for prices and book Royal Hotel Okinawa Zanpamisaki

Condominium yuyuki
Budget Hotel8.8

Condominium・yuyuki in Yomitan, Okinawa offers free WiFi and parking. Each unit has a fully equipped kitchenette, flat-screen TV, and private bathroom with shower. Nearby beaches include Hanjapama Beach and Nakkolibama Beach.

Click here for prices and book Condominium yuyuki

Chatan – The best area for mix of American and Japanese culture

American village in Chatan Okinawa Japan

Chatan, is the best area to stay in Okinawa if you are after a unique blend of American and Japanese culture. With its proximity to the U.S. military bases on the island, Chatan has developed a diverse atmosphere that offers a distinctive cultural experience.

The most famous attraction in Chatan is The American Village, a colourful entertainment complex featuring shopping, dining, and entertainment suited to both American and Japanese tastes. You will find shops, restaurants, and bars, with a mix of American brands and traditional Japanese establishments. Don’t miss a ride on the large Ferris Wheel.

Head to the famed Mihama Sunset Beach, located near the American Village, for a popular spot to enjoy the sun and sand. Grab your American and Japanese snacks and visit Chatan Park for fun picnics and relaxing strolls.

Just 20 minutes drive away, you will find the stunning Southeast Botanical Gardens, which showcase the region’s rich heritage and natural beauty. It’s beautiful all year long, with abundant tropical plants and stunning night illuminations.

If you like a variety of food and restaurant options, then Chatan is the place for you. The town has many restaurants, from American-style diners and fast-food outlets to traditional Japanese izakayas and sushi bars. There are many western style restaurants as well as plenty of relaxed cafés.

There are many accommodations to pick from in Chatan. You will find stunning luxury hotels with brilliant reviews and crazy good views, but also affordable hotels and hostels. If you are after a longer stay in Okinawa, then Chatan is a great place as there are some great apartments with private kitchen and bathroom.

Best places to stay in Chatan

MB Gallery Chatan by The Terrace Hotels
Luxury Hotel8.8

MB Gallery Chatan by The Terrace Hotels is a hotel located in Chatan, featuring a restaurant, free private parking, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, and a fitness center. The hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and a private bathroom. There is also a bar and a 24-hour front desk with room service.

Click here for prices and book MB Gallery Chatan by The Terrace Hotels

LAPIN MIHAMA Residence Hotel
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

The 3-star LAPIN MIHAMA Residence Hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi, private bathroom, fridge, and microwave. The hotel is situated near Sunset Beach, Araha Beach, and Nakagusuku Castle.

Click here for prices and book LAPIN MIHAMA Residence Hotel

M´s Stay Okinawa
Budget Hotel8.8

M´s Stay Okinawa is an aparthotel with air-conditioned accommodations, free WiFi and private parking. The rooms come with a flat-screen TV, a balcony, and a private bathroom. The aparthotel is 0.8 miles from Sunset Beach and 1.6 miles from Araha Beach.

Click here for prices and book M´s Stay Okinawa

Nanjo – The best area to stay for relaxation and spiritual exploration

Okinawa park in Nanjo

Nanjo, is on the main Okinawa Island, and the best place to stay if you are looking for relaxation and spiritual exploration. This tranquil area is home to historical and spiritual sites, offering the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in Okinawa’s unique spiritual heritage.

One of the most significant spiritual attractions in Nanjo is the Sefa-Utaki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Okinawa’s most sacred places. This ancient Ryugushin Place of Worship features unique rock formations and has stunning views of the ocean, creating a serene and contemplative atmosphere.

Another notable spiritual site is the Tamagusuku Castle Ruins, which, along with its historical significance, provides a peaceful setting for reflection and meditation.

If you’re seeking relaxation, head to Hyakuna Beach and Mibaru Beach, or take a quick trip to the beautiful Ojima Island. To lift the spirits, head to Okinawa World, known for its stunning natural cave. Don’t miss the Valley of Gangala with its lush forest and cool cave café.

With its rich spiritual heritage and tranquil atmosphere, Nanjo is the perfect destination for travelers seeking a relaxing and spiritually enriching Okinawan experience. When it comes to food, you will also be spoilt for choice. Try mozuku tempura (a type of seaweed tempura), enjoy goat soup or Goya champuru (bitter melon stir-fried meat and veg) or try farm to table dishes from local restaurants.

Nanjo has plenty of accommodation on offer, including private and serene villas, stunning hotels with balconies overlooking the sea and comfortable hotel rooms. Nanjo, however, is not the place for many budget accommodation options.

Best places to stay in Nanjo

Luxury Hotel8.8

Hyakunagaran is a modern hotel located on a cape with ocean views and surrounded by mountains. It features spacious accommodations, free-use private cottages with an outdoor bath, and a garden with tropical plants and an open-air cave with a 8 yards stone Buddha statue. The hotel is an adult-only property.

Click here for prices and book Hyakunagaran

The Yuinchi Hotel Nanjo
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Hotel Nanjo offers a range of indoor and outdoor activities for guests including tennis, basketball, and swimming. The hotel has air-conditioned rooms with LCD TVs and sea views, featuring both Japanese and Western styles with private toilets and slippers. Ryukyu Golf Course is a 5-minute drive away.

Click here for prices and book The Yuinchi Hotel Nanjo

Glory island okinawa Yabusachi Resort
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Glory Island Okinawa Yabusachi Resort offers air-conditioned accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi, situated 1 mile from Mibaru Beach. It features a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, hot tub, well-fitted kitchenette, private bathroom with free toiletries and hairdryer, and a terrace with sea views.

Click here for prices and book Glory island okinawa Yabusachi Resort

Smaller Okinawa Islands

We have now introduced all the major areas on the main Okinawa island, and it’s time to show you where to stay in Okinawa on the smaller islands. These islands can be as far as an hour by plane from Naha airport. For example, Ishigaki island is closer to Taiwan than to Japan’s main land. Some islands have a ferry connection, but the fastest way to travel between them is by plane.

Ishigaki – The best area to stay for island-hopping

Ishigaki island beach in Okinawa Japan

Ishigaki is an island located in the Yaeyama Archipelago of Okinawa, and the perfect place to stay for travellers seeking island-hopping adventures. Ishigaki offers convenient regular ferry access to neighbouring islands such as Iriomote, Taketomi, and Kohamawith.

Ishigaki itself is home to stunning beaches like Yonehara Beach, Akashi Beach and Sukuji Beach, perfect for snorkelling and sunbathing, and Kabira Bay, known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and picturesque scenery. For even more incredible views, head to Mt. Nosoko and Tamatorizaki Observatory, offering panoramic views of the surrounding islands and ocean.

From Ishigaki, you can take unbelievable island-hopping excursions: Discover the dense jungles and mangroves of Iriomote Island, the traditional Ryukyuan architecture and laid-back atmosphere of Taketomi Island, or the serene beaches and charming local culture of Kohama Island.

Every island has something unique, from serene hiking trails to local cultural performances. When back on Ishigaki island, there are plenty of restaurants and eateries with local ingredients. Try Yaeyama Soba at Kutsunayu, or Ishigaki Beef from Ishigakiya. For a fancy dinner, head to Funagura no Sato for a traditional kaiseki.

Accommodation in Ishigaki is well varied with luxury five-star hotels but also beach front resorts, boutique hotels, guesthouses, and vacation rentals. You can find stays to suit your budget and style, too.

Best places to stay in Ishigaki

ANA InterContinental Ishigaki Resort
Luxury Hotel8.8

ANA InterContinental Ishigaki Resort is a hotel that offers a fitness center, spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, 9 dining options, and ocean and garden view rooms with free wired internet. The hotel’s tour desk offers marine activities such as snorkeling, diving, and kayaking.

Click here for prices and book ANA InterContinental Ishigaki Resort

Fusaki Beach Resort
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Fusaki Beach Resort is a hotel with pools, restaurants, spa treatments, yoga lessons, marine activities, and free WiFi. It offers an airport shuttle, free parking, and rooms with flat-screen TVs and en suite bathrooms. It’s located just a minute’s walk from Fusaki Beach.

Click here for prices and book Fusaki Beach Resort

Guesthouse Opuntia
Budget Hotel8.8

Guesthouse Opuntia is a 2-star guest house located in Ishigaki Island. The property offers non-smoking rooms, a shared lounge, free WiFi, and a terrace. A tour desk, shared kitchen, and luggage storage space are also available.

Click here for prices and book Guesthouse Opuntia

Miyakojima – The best area to stay for beach and water sports

Miyakojima the best area to stay for beach lovers

Miyakojima, is a separate island in the southern part of Okinawa Prefecture, is a paradise for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. Miyakojima has pristine white-sand beaches, and crystal-clear turquoise waters, offering an idyllic setting for a sun-soaked vacation filled with water-based activities.

Some of the island’s most famous beaches include Maehama Beach, known for its powdery white sand and calm waters, and Sunayama Beach, known for its iconic sand arch and stunning coral reefs. Both beaches are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

Miyakojima is also a haven for water sports, with excellent conditions for snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing, and paddleboarding. You will have such an incredible underwater world to explore, while its consistent winds make it a popular destination for kitesurfing and windsurfing.

If you’re serious about diving, then the nearby Irabu Island, connected to Miyakojima by the Irabu Bridge, has some spectacular dive sites with unique underwater landscapes, such as the famous “Blue Cave”.

While Miyakojima is all about the beaches, there are some cultural experiences here too, such as exploring the Ueno German Culture Village or learning about the island’s history at the Miyakojima City Museum.

The island is well-connected by public transport, and you can easily visit the many attractions and beaches scattered all around the island.

There are plenty of hotels in Miyakojima that range in price and amenities. You can easily book 4 star luxury hotels with deluxe rooms and breakfast included, but there are many budget friendly options too like vacation rentals and basic but clean guest houses.

Best places to stay in Miyakojima

Miyakojima Kurima Resort Seawood Hotel
Luxury Hotel8.8

The 4-star Miyakojima Kurima Resort Seawood Hotel in Miyako Island offers a fitness center, garden, terrace, and a restaurant. The rooms come with air conditioning, a seating area, flat-screen TV, private bathroom, and free WiFi.

Click here for prices and book Miyakojima Kurima Resort Seawood Hotel

Hotel 385
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Hotel 385 is a 3-star hotel with a restaurant, free WiFi, and free private parking. It is situated near several beaches, bridges, and other tourist attractions.

Click here for prices and book Hotel 385

Hotel Hibisicus
Budget Hotel8.8

Hotel Hibiscus is a 1-star guest house in Miyako Island, located 2.4 miles from Yonaha Maehama Beach. It offers air-conditioned rooms with a shared bathroom and free WiFi, along with free private parking, a shared lounge, garden, and terrace.

Click here for prices and book Hotel Hibisicus

Fantastic, you now know where to stay in Okinawa to suit your travel style and preference. Okinawa is a bucket list destination for most people with its pristine beaches, welcoming people and wonderful culture. Whether you are after a beach holiday or want to experience a unique culture in Japan, Okinawa is an incredible place to stay and a great destination for your upcoming holiday.

Tips for first time visitors

  • Stay connected with a pocket Wi-Fi device or prepaid SIM card. Renting or buying in advance will help you use navigation apps, translators, and do some extra research on the go. You can pick up the device at the airport, or have it delivered to your hotel reception.
  • While Japan’s public system can be overwhelming, using Google maps makes it super easy to get around. I do recommend renting a car in Okinawa to get around with ease.
  • While cards are widely accepted, many small establishments still prefer cash, particularly in older neighbourhoods. Major banks in Japan now accept international cards for cash withdrawals. Don’t forget to check how expensive is Japan to know what to expect.
  • Be aware of Japanese customs and manners, such as removing your shoes before entering someone’s home, bowing as a form of greeting, and not tipping at restaurants.
  • Knowing a few simple Japanese phrases can go a long way. For those serious about learning Japanese, check out Japanese with Aimee and use the code YCTRAVEL to get a 10% discount on the course.
  • For those on a budget, visit Japanese convenience stores, or “konbini,” for snacks, drinks, and meals at affordable prices. You can also grab a quick drink or bite from a vending machine.
Beautiful beach of Okinawa

Useful resources for first timers

Frequently Asked Questions

How many days in Okinawa is enough?

Okinawa has so much to offer and if you want to enjoy the main sights, see some of the prettiest beaches, try the local food and engage in some activities, 7-10 days is enough time in Okinawa. However, if you want to also visit some of the outer islands, go diving, hiking and partake in more involved cultural activities, then you will want to extend your stay considerably.

What is the prettiest place on Okinawa?

There are many beautiful places in Okinawa but some of the most beautiful spots are: Kabira Bay, Emerald Beach, Manzamo, Aragusuku Beach, Cape Zanpa, Southeast Botanical Gardens, Kouri Ohashi
Kabira Bay is known for its turquoise waters, white sand, and coral reefs.
Emerald Beach is a popular spot for snorkelling and swimming, with stunning ocean views.
Manzamo offers breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and the East China Sea.
Aragusuku Beach is another popular spot with its white sand beaches and turquoise waters.
Cape Zanpa is a popular sunset spot with a lighthouse and panoramic views of the ocean.
The Southeast Botanical Gardens are a must-visit for nature lovers.
Kouri Ohashi is a picturesque bridge that connects Kouri Island to the main Okinawa island.

What is the best month to visit Okinawa?

The best months to visit Okinawa are generally from April to June and from October to November, when the weather is mild and fewer crowds. The summer months of July to September can be very hot and humid, while the winter months of December to March can be chilly with occasional rain and strong winds.
Here’s a month-by-month rundown of the weather in Okinawa, along with some pros and cons for visiting during each month:
Weather: Average highs around 18°C (64°F) and lows around 14°C (57°F). Occasional rain.
Pros: Fewer tourists, lower accommodation prices, and New Year celebrations.
Cons: Cooler temperatures and limited beach activities.
Weather: Average highs around 18°C (64°F) and lows around 14°C (57°F). Occasional rain.
Pros: Cherry blossom season, mild temperatures. Okinawa’s whale watching season.
Cons: Cooler temperatures and limited beach activities.
Weather: Average highs around 21°C (70°F) and lows around 16°C (61°F). Moderate rain.
Pros: Beach season begins towards the end of March.
Cons: Rainy days and not the best time for beach activities.
Weather: Average highs around 24°C (75°F) and lows around 19°C (66°F). Moderate rain.
Pros: Great weather for outdoor activities and sightseeing, start of beach season. Swimming, diving, and snorkeling are all possible.
Cons: Increasing tourist numbers and Golden Week at the end of April, leading to higher prices and crowds. The water remains a little on the cooler side.
Weather: Average highs around 27°C (81°F) and lows around 22°C (72°F). Moderate rain.
Pros: Pleasant weather, beach activities, and several festivals. Evenings in May are comfortable.
Cons: Golden week at the beginning of May, which means crowds and higher prices.
Weather: Average highs around 30°C (86°F) and lows around 25°C (77°F). Heavy rain.
Pros: Fewer tourists and lower prices due to rainy season.
Cons: Typhoon season, high humidity, and limited outdoor activities. The rainy season reaches its peak in June.
Weather: Average highs around 32°C (90°F) and lows around 27°C (81°F). Occasional rain.
Pros: Beach activities, water sports, fireworks and summer festivals including Obon in Okinawa.
Cons: Hot and humid weather, potential typhoons and higher tourist numbers.
Weather: Average highs around 32°C (90°F) and lows around 27°C (81°F). Occasional rain.
Pros: Beach activities, water sports, and Obon Festival.
Cons: Hot and humid weather, typhoons likely and peak tourist season with higher prices and crowds.
Weather: Average highs around 30°C (86°F) and lows around 25°C (77°F). Moderate rain.
Pros: Fewer tourists and lower prices as the peak season ends.
Cons: Typhoon could still happen and unpredictable weather.
Weather: Average highs around 28°C (82°F) and lows around 22°C (72°F). Moderate rain.
Pros: Comfortable temperatures, perfect for outdoors, and fewer tourists.
Cons: Typhoons may occur.
Weather: Average highs around 24°C (75°F) and lows around 19°C (66°F). Occasional rain.
Pros: Comfortable weather, starry skies, perfect for outdoor activities.
Cons: Cooler temperatures and fewer beach activities. Not all beaches will be open.
Weather: Average highs around 20°C (68°F) and lows around 15°C (59°F). Occasional rain.
Pros: Fewer tourists, lower accommodation prices, and Christmas festivities.
Cons: Cooler temperatures and limited beach activities.

Is Okinawa worth going to?

Okinawa is such a beautiful and unique place with a blend of natural beauty, rich history, and cultural experiences that set it apart from mainland Japan:
Okinawa is known for its stunning beaches with crystal-clear waters and white sand, perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and diving. The temperatures are fantastic year around, perfect for a subtropical holiday.
If you love scuba diving and snorkelling head to sites like Kerama Islands, Ishigaki Island, and Miyako Island which are home to an array of marine life.
Okinawa has a unique history and culture influenced by its Ryukyuan heritage.
Okinawan cuisine is distinct from other Japanese cuisines, with a focus on local ingredients, including pork, vegetables, and tropical fruits. Taste local dishes like goya champuru, Okinawa soba, sea caviar and seaweed tempura.
Okinawa hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, and the cherry blossom festival starts as early as February.
Finally, Okinawa is an archipelago, with numerous smaller islands offering their own unique charm and attractions.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory is a published travel writer and award-winning photographer. She travels full time with her husband and is passionate about creating in-depth travel guides. Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan. She has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries. Cory is multilingual and an alumna from The University of Manchester.


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