Ancient Kyueimon Gate in wall of Shuri Castle in Okinawa, Japan
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shurijo Castle's bright red exterior is instantly striking. Destroyed and rebuilt many times over, this building offers you a sense of life during the Ryukyu Kingdom's golden years. Then, see the former residence of the Japanese king at the Shikinaen Gardens populated by tropical flora.
Beautiful Beach with resort in Okinawa, Japan
Explore the depths of the bay at Nami-no-ue Sea and Sky Park. With guided snorkeling tours and diving equipment, you can see 95 types of coral and 53 species of colorful fish. Finish up with a beach party and a barbeque under the golden sun.
At Ryukyu Mura village, you'll find a recreated village and practical demonstrations of old crafts. The vibrant village welcomes visitors with dances and celebrations of traditional festivals and arts. Complete your day of learning at the Okinawa Prefecture Museum, home to a massive 85,000 artifacts dating to the 12th century.
The food here is both distinctly Japanese and uniquely Okinawan, with Chinese and South Asian influences creating a cuisine all its own. Okinawa cruises allow you to try Okinawan soba (actually more reminiscent to udon noodles because they're so thick) served in a ramen-like pork broth and topped with slow-cooked pork spare ribs. Don't miss out on Agu, the Wagyu beef of pork, with its tender texture and sweet flavor.
Many craft techniques are unique to Okinawa. Head to Kokusai-Dori (International Street) to browse for Ryukyan glass and lacquerware or colorful Shuri-ori textiles. On Tsuboya Yachimun-Dori Street, you can pick up intricate Tsuboya-yaki pottery — choose between decorative traditional statues or plates, bowls and other home-use items.
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