Okinawa is a chain of sub-tropical islands off the south coast of Japan. Guaranteed warm weather all year round, the seas surrounding the islands are considered some of the most beautiful in the world. Given the thriving marine ecosystem in the islands seas, it’s not surprising that Okinawa is home to Japan’s best aquarium, the Churaumi Aquarium.
Okinawa’s history and culture is considerably different from mainland Japan, and the local dishes reflect this, with more pork and goya, a bitter type of gourd, being particularly prominent. If you’re interested in exploring the islands’ history, you can sample life back in the time of the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom at the Ryukyu Mura, or explore the islands’ more modern, tragic history as World War II battleground at a number of museums and memorial sites.