A pleasant stay in Okinawa
by Wojciech Fedoruk - 5 years ago
Ryukyu Archipelago, or Okinawa, is the least Japanese part of Japan. Until the beginning of XVII-th century the islands were governed by independent Kingdom of Ryukyu and were finally annexed by Japan not earlier than in 1879. Due to its location, Okinawa was the place where Japanese and Chinese cultures met and created a very interesting mix.
Okinawa is now easily and cheaply accessible from main Japanese islands, Seoul and Taiwan. There are direct flights to Naha operated by regular carriers and low cost ones, the latter frequently offering very good prices.
I spent only nearly two days in Okinawa, too few for this interesting place. Nonetheless, I managed to visit the most important of famous UNESCO-listed gusuku (fortified castles) – Shuri castle, being the heart of Kingdom of Ryukyu. Shuri is the only gusuku completely restored after huge bombing during WWII and is a lovely place to visit, where you can enjoy shows of traditional ryukyu dance. Connoisseurs of UNESCO sites claim that other gusuku castles in Okinawa, although in ruins, are even more interesting than Shuri, but I did not manage to visit them.
I really loved my stay in Naha, a picturesque city full with bright houses and friendly people. Okinawa is worth spending at least three full days or even a week, especially having in mind that it is much cheaper than other islands of Japan.