Okinawa is a Japanese prefecture comprising more than 150 islands in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland. It’s known for its tropical climate, broad beaches and coral reefs, as well as World War II sites. On the largest island (also named Okinawa) is Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, commemorating a massive 1945 Allied invasion, and Churaumi Aquarium, home to whale sharks and manta rays.
Elsewhere on the island is capital city Naha, with restaurants, lively bars and the Tsuboya pottery district, where traditional ceramics like shiisa (lion-dog figures) are sold. Karate is thought to have been invented on Okinawa during the Ryukyu Kingdom, and Shuri Castle was a training ground and important monument from the era. Elsewhere in the prefecture, Kume Island is renowned for remote beaches and sugarcane fields. Iriomote Island is famous for its vast wilderness and reef scuba diving. Snorkeling, diving and clear-water beaches are also major draws for the Kerama and Miyako islands, as well as Ishikaga Island.