Naha (那覇), Okinawa Prefecture‘s capital, is a city filled with various types of attractions. With a peerless public transportation network, getting around tourist posts in Naha is considered hassle-free. And because the Naha Airport is located close to the city center, you can still fully enjoy what Naha has to offer even on your last day in Okinawa without having to worry too much about the time!
To help you plan your visit to Naha, we have collated a list of attractions for you to consider. You can easily build a 2-day itinerary from the spots below (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
- Kokusai-dōri Street (国際通り)
- Okashigoten (御菓子御殿)
- Sakurazaka Theater (桜坂劇場)
- Ryūkyū Outfit Studio Chura Bijin (琉装スタジオ ちゅら美人)
- Fukushūen Garden (福州園)
- Naminoue Beach (波の上ビーチ)
- Naminoue Shrine (波上宮)
- Sueyoshi Park (末吉公園)
- Shuri Kannon-dō (首里観音堂)
- Shuri Ryūsen (首里琉染)
- Shurijō Castle Park (首里城公園)
- Binnuutaki (弁之御嶽)
- T Galleria Okinawa (T ギャラリア 沖縄)
- Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum (沖縄県立博物館・美術館 (おきみゅー)
- Okinogū Shrine (沖宮)
- Lake Man (漫湖)
- Shikinaen Garden (識名園)
- Yui Rail Museum (ゆいレール展示館)
☛ If you would like to explore Naha in a traditional Japanese Kimono, refer to HERE. Wearing the traditional Ryukyu costume is another way to explore Naha in style. Refer to HERE to book a dress-up session!
☛ Refer to HERE to book a pick-up and drop-off service from Naha Airport. You can also book a luggage delivery service HERE between Naha Airport and your hotel.
☛ You can explore Naha with an electric-assisted bicycle. Refer to HERE to book.
Enjoy Naha With a Guided Tour
If you prefer a guide to introduce you to the charms of Naha and the surrounding destinations, how about joining one of the below tours?
- Okinawa Hip Hop Bus Tour: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and More
- Naha Full-Day Private Tour with Government Licensed Guide
- Sakaemachi Market Bar Hopping Tour
- Karate History Tour in Okinawa
Participating in Interesting Activities in Naha
- Moby Dick Dinner Cruise in Naha
- Official Naha Street Go-Kart Tour
- Shuri Ryusen Coral Dyeing
- Kendo/Samurai Experience In Okinawa
- Parasailing Experience from Naha
- Full-Day Snorkeling Experience in the Kerama Islands (Naha Departure)
How to Get Around Naha City
If you only plan to stay in the city center, instead of renting a car, taking the Okinawa Urban Monorail, commonly known as Yui Rail (ゆいレール), is recommended.
Not only would you not be stuck in traffic, but if you purchase the 1-Day or 2-Day Free Pass, you will also get unlimited rides and a discount on the admission fee to many attractions in Naha City!
For more information about Yui Rail, please refer to the official website HERE. As the English website only contains limited details about the free passes, you can translate the Japanese webpage HERE using Google Chrome’s translation function on the right of the address bar.
Kokusai-dōri Street (国際通り)
Just a 15-minute drive from Naha Airport, Kokusai-dōri is the main street of Naha. Along the street, there are many Okinawan restaurants and souvenir shops. On Sundays, the entire street becomes a pedestrian zone. If you come at the right season, there might even be Eisa dance or street performances for you to enjoy when you stop by Kokusai-dōri!
For more information, refer to our Kokusai-dōri Street article!
Other Local Markets and Arcades in Naha
As you can imagine, Kokusai-dōri Street isn’t the only shopping street in Naha. There are plenty of nearby markets and arcades loved by the locals, including a street filled with pottery workshops and galleries! Not only are the price tags of the items sold in those markets friendly to your wallet, but you will also find Okinawa‘s most delicious Sata Andagi (Okinawa’s traditional dessert)!
For more information, please refer to our article on The Best Markets and Arcades to Visit in Naha.
A great spot to experience Okinawa is Okashigoten Kokusai-dōri Matsuo Shop (御菓子御殿 国際通り松尾店). You will definitely be thrilled by the confectionary shop’s appearance and the number of attractively packaged delicious snacks sold there. But before purchasing them, just remember to ask for samples so you know what to get for your family and friends!
Many items for sale are also served in the cafe in Okashigoten Matsuo Shop, making it a pleasant place for coffee sipping and pastries eating. If you are just around Kokusai-dōri during lunch hours, order a plate of their tofu burger and enjoy how the Okinawans turn plain tofu into a mouthwatering meal!
Also, remember to check out the sweet factory at the back of the store!
Tip: Make sure you try the Beni-Imo-related sweets (purple sweet potato), such as the Beni-Imo Tart or Beni-Ino soft serve.
Okashigoten Kokusai-dōri Matsuo Shop’s Business Hours and Access Information
- Okashigoten Kokusai-dōri Matsuo Shop is open from 9 am to 10 pm.
- The cafe/restaurant on the second floor is open from 11 am to 6 pm.
- The last order is taken at 5:30 pm.
- From Yui Rail’s Prefectural Office Station (県庁前駅), it is less than a 5-minute walk.
Sakurazaka Theater (桜坂劇場)
The area between Kokusai-dōri Street and Makishi Public Market (refer to below) is called Sakurazawa. While Sakurazawa is probably known for its bars and Izawaya, the landmark has to be Sakurazawa Theater.
The theater that was opened in 1953 has become Okinawa’s cultural spot. In addition to the movies and live performances, Sakurazawa Theater is also a place to discover local art cultures. From picture books, craftworks to potteries, you will be amazed by the rich artistic culture that Okinawa has in Fukura-Sha (ふくら舎 ) (located on the first and second floor)!
The theater’s cafe, Sangoza Kitchen (さんご座キッチン), is a trendy cafe that retains the Okinawan retro atmosphere. Whether you are at Sakurazawa Theater for a movie session or not, Sangoza Kitchen is a place for you to enjoy some relaxing time out of your busy itinerary. Plus, the drinks are served in gorgeous locally-made pottery!
How to Get to Sakurazaka Theater
Sakurazaka Theater is around a 5-minute walk from Yui Rail’s Makishi Station (牧志駅).
Tip: Show your Yui Rail 1-Day Pass for a discount on the movie ticket. Furthermore, Friday is Sakurazaka Theater Service Day. You can watch a movie for just 1,200 yen instead of 1,800 yen.
Yogi Park (與儀公園)
For cherry blossom hunting, Yogi Park, a popular spot in Naha, is around a 15-minute walk from Kokusai-dōri Street. The more than 400 cherry trees in the park usually blossom from mid-February.
Yogi Park is around a 10 to 15-minute walk from Yui Rail’s Asato Station (安里駅).
Ryūkyū Outfit Studio Chura Bijin (琉装スタジオ ちゅら美人)
If you love or want to try on traditional clothing, Okinawa has its own costume, which you can be dressed in before you explore the beauty of Naha. One of the few kimono rental shops we recommend is Ryūkyū Outfit Stadio Chura Bijin. The studio is relatively close to Kokusai-dōri Street, and the staffs are friendly, patient, and can speak English. Plus, their customer service is top-notch!
The best thing is that you are allowed to take as many photos in the studio as you want for 15 minutes. And the studio will pass on all the photos to you (digital version)!
All their packages are reasonably priced. The packages usually include simple hair setting too! They also have an excellent range of different kinds of Ryūkyū traditional outfits and normal Japanese kimonos. So whether you want to be in casual or formal attire, they can cater to all your needs!
If that all sounds exciting, make a reservation HERE!
Tip: If you explore around Naha while wearing the Ryūkyū outfit, the shops and restaurants might give you some freebies!
Ryūkyū Outfit Studio Chura Bijin’s Business Hours and Access Information
- Ryūkyū Outfit Stadio Chura Bijin is open daily from 10 am to 7 pm except for Wednesdays.
- Please return the costume by 6 pm.
- If Wednesday is a public holiday, the shop will close on Thursday.
- The studio is around a 10-minute walk from Kokusai-dōri Street and a 2-minute walk from Yui Rail’s Miebashi Station (美栄橋駅).
Fukushūen Garden (福州園)
The Japanese and Chinese cultures and architecture share many similarities, and Naha is probably the Japanese city that has received the most impact from China.
In fact, Naha’s sister city is Fuzhou in China. So if you would like to kill two birds with one stone by visiting a Chinese garden in Japan, Fukushūen in Naha’s city center would be your top choice.
Fukushūen was constructed in 1992 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the sister-city relationships between the two cities and the 70th anniversary of Naha’s municipalization. The garden was built to image the magnificent nature of China and Fuzhou’s scenic spots.
The Relationship Between Naha and Fuzhou City
But why Fuzhou and not other Chinese cities? It might surprise you, but the Kume (久米) area in Naha City was where the Chinese people from the Fujian Province first settled. Many departed for Okinawa from Fuzhou, the entrance to China at the time. The migrants in the Kume village played an important role in Ryūkyū’s international trading and diplomatic matters with China. It is said that many kingdom’s important figures in education and medical fields were derived from Kume village too!
Fuzhou City is in the Fujian Province.
When You Are at Fukushūen
Fukushūen isn’t all that big, so it will probably only take 20 to 30 minutes to explore.
If you want to know more about the garden, grab one of the English pamphlets at the entrance. Also, the garden has three touch panel guides for more information about Fukushūen. QR codes are also set up across the garden for you to scan for a more detailed introduction to various spots in Fukushūen.
One of the most exciting spots for young children is probably the waterfall at the far back of the garden. While a waterfall in a garden may sound ordinary, it is possible to get into the cave at the back of the water curtain.
Remember to head up to the observation pavilion too!
Fun fact: The Okinawan Bureau of Meteorology uses the plum trees in the garden to announce the blooming state of the plum blossom in Okinawa.
Tip: Remember to apply insect repellent!
Fukushūen Garden’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information
- Fukushūen Garden is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm except for Wednesdays.
- If Wednesday is a public holiday, the garden will close on the next business day.
- The admission fee between 9 am and 6 pm is
- 200 yen for adults
- 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students
- The admission fee will increase by 100 yen (50 yen for children) if you visit between 6 pm and 9 pm.
- Fukushūen is around an 8-minute walk from Yui Rail’s (県庁前駅).
Naminoue Beach (波の上ビーチ)
Speaking of Okinawa, it is the perfect destination to enjoy the stunning beaches scattered around the prefecture. While the most beautiful beach isn’t in Naha, you can still enjoy a last-minute swim in the warmer months or a wide range of water sports at Naminoue Beach. The beach in the city’s west is just a 20-minute walk from Kokusai-Dōri Street. Plus Naminoue Beach is only a 10-minute drive from Naha Airport!
For more information, please refer to our article on Naminoue Beach!
Naminoue Shrine (波上宮)
Just like its name, Naminoue Shrine is located right next to Naminuou Beach, atop a cliff that oversees the sea. While the shrine doesn’t have a large precinct, it was the highest-ranked shrine on the island when Okinawa was known as the Ryūkyū kingdom a few centuries ago.
For more information about this gorgeous shrine, please refer to our article on Naminoue Shrine!
Sueyoshi Park (末吉公園)
Did you know that there is a jungle-like area in Naha City? The area is also incredibly close to Yui Rail’s Shiritsubyōin-mae Station (市立病院前駅) and Gibo Station (儀保駅)!
Sueyoshi Park has a very spacious ground of around 19 hectares. Taking many by surprise, a large part of the park looks just like a tropical jungle! With many walking trails in the park, it is considered one of the top destinations for locals to enjoy light trekking and nature.
Furthermore, Sueyoshi Park is a famous spot to adore the fireflies from mid-May to July. When the little bugs start dancing to attract potential partners with their glowing rears, nighttime events are held for us humans to see this rare seasonal scene!
Tip: The best time to visit Sueyoshi Park for fireflies is around 8 pm.
Also, Sueyoshi Park’s cherry trees blossom the earliest in Japan from mid to late January. Other plants’ flowers will then bloom one after another until autumn.
Sueyoshi Shrine (末吉宮)
Moreover, at the highest point of Sueyoshi Park, you will encounter Sueyoshi Shrine (末吉宮), one of the Ryūkyū Hassha (琉球八社) in Okinawa. While the structure was destroyed in World War II, it was previously deemed a national treasure. It is now known to be one of the important national cultural properties.
Ryūkyū Hassha was one of the eight Shinto shrines that were deemed of great spiritual importance in the Ryūkyū Dynasty. The kings and high-ranked officials would perform rituals at these shrines for the kingdom’s prosperity.
Tip: To get to Sueyoshi Shrine, we recommend taking the trail from the park’s north exit, as it is much easier to get to than the trail from the park’s south exit. But if you love taking long walks, you will love the trail from the south exit, particularly since it has some steep mountain roads.
What to Bring/Wear to Sumiyoshi Park
- Insect repellent
- A pair of comfortable shoes as you will be walking on the earthen road and potentially slippery stone pavements
- Long pants and a long shirt to avoid insect bites
- Flashlight if you plan to head there at night, as the park will be completely dark after sunset.
How to Get to Sumiyoshi Park
- Sumiyoshi Park is around a 5-minute walk from Yui Rail’s Shiritsubyōin-mae Station (市立病院前駅) and a less than 10-minute walk from Gibo Station (儀保駅).
- The park has a few car parks, but they are usually pretty full!
Shuri Ryūsen (首里琉染)
If you are not in a hurry, an activity that you have to try is coral dyeing! While coral fossils seem to be something that can be easily obtained in Okinawa since the island is surrounded by ocean, picking up or buying natural coral is forbidden by law. So there is only one place you can do this unique activity in Japan: Shuri Ryūsen!
The workshop’s fossils were collected more than 40 years ago before the legislation came into place. And the owner has obtained special permission from the regulators to use their corals to make artwork. In other words, it is likely that coral dyeing activity won’t be available for tourists once the current corals in use at Shuri Ryūsen are completely worn out.
As the Okinawans believed that coral is a symbol of good luck, fertility and longevity, Shuri Ryūsen’s owner started using corals to create patterns on clothing. Because of the added auspicious element, many people would purchase her artwork as ceremonial gifts.
☛ Fertility: Because corals produce many eggs in one go
☛ Longevity: As corals take a long time to grow
So what is coral-dyeing? It is a dyeing method involving coral fossils. Instead of putting the entire clothing into the dye, cotton pads are used to absorb the dye, and the clothing is colored by rubbing the dye-attached cotton pads on the clothing against coral fossils.
Carol-Dyeing Experience at Shuri Ryūsen
While it goes without saying that you will get the best out of the activity if you can understand Japanese, Shuri Ryūsen sometimes does provide English instruction on the steps of coral dyeing. But even if this is unavailable on the day, the Japanese instructions are quite easy to watch and follow.
Note that reservation is essential. You can book online through klook HERE for a discount!
☛ To create different colors out of the four dyes given, mix them as you rub a different color onto another on the clothing.
☛ If you plan to mix colors, remember to apply the lightest color on the clothing first.
☛ You can wash the dyed clothing. Just ensure you have followed the steps to lock the colors in beforehand.
After the coral dyeing activity, remember to check out the workshop’s top floor. It is the working area for artisans. In addition to coral dyeing, they also perform Bingata (紅型) dyeing there.
Shuri Ryūsen’s Business Hours and Access Information
Bingata is Okinawan’s traditional dyeing technique that started as early as the 13th century. Compared to Japan’s mainland, the patterns and color of Bingata-dyeing are a lot more vivid and tropical-like.
- Shuri Ryūsen is open from 9 am to 6 pm.
- The workshop is around a 20-minute walk from Yui Rail’s Shuri Station (首里駅) and a 5-minute walk from Shurijō Castle Park (首里城).
- From Shuri Station, you can take bus routes 1, 14, or 46 and get off at either Shuri Kōkō-mae (首里高校前) or Yamakawa (山川).
Shuri Kannon-dō (首里観音堂)
A nice spot to stop by after your visit to the Shurijō Castle Park is the Shuri Kannon-dō (首里観音堂). The temple that is just a 10-minute walk from Tamaudun (玉陵) is one of the six temples around the castle that survived the turbulence in the last 400 years.
In addition, the temple that the Ryūkyū imperial family erected has a few living “miracles” that makes you believe that Buddha does exist!
For more information, please refer to our Shuri Kannon-dō article (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Shurijō Castle Park (首里城公園)
Shurijō Castle, the symbol of the Ryūkyū Kingdom (琉球王国), is a must-see attraction when you visit Okinawa. Not only is the castle the center of the island’s political, diplomatic, and cultural center for centuries, but it is also a scenic spot that offers a magnificent panoramic view of the city with the East China Sea as a backdrop!
For more information, please refer to our Shurijō Castle Park article.
About 1.3 km from Shurijō Castle Park, the Binnutaki is the sacred land that covers the entire Bengatake (弁ヶ嶽), Naha City’s tallest peak. When the Ryūkyū kingdom ruled Okinawa, Binnuutaki was where many important national rituals took place. On an auspicious day in January, May, and September, the king of Ryūkyū used to climb up the Bengatake and pray for his country. Therefore the remains of the places of worship scattered atop the 165.5-meter-tall mountain were built for the kings. Commoners like you and me wouldn’t be able to access it!
T Galleria Okinawa (T ギャラリア 沖縄)
T Galleria Okinawa is the best place for shopaholics! Directly connected with Yui Rail’s Omoromachi Station (おもろまち駅), the duty-free mall consists of many big high-end brands and premium snacks. The best thing? You can shop in downtown Naha and collect your purchases at Naha Airport!
- T Galleria Okinawa is open from 10 am to 8 pm.
Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum (沖縄県立博物館・美術館 (おきみゅー)
If you are interested in Okinawa’s history and culture, a must-visit attraction is the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum. From the five permanent exhibition sections, you will get a good understanding of Okinawa’s nature, archeology, crafts, history, and folklore.
In the museum’s Touch and Experience Room, various items are placed there for you to feel the Okinawan nature and crafts. The most exciting thing for English speakers is probably trying on the traditional Okinawan kimono!
☛ As only the name of the exhibits has an English translation, remember to rent an audio guide or download the museum’s app, ON THE TRIP.
☛ The cafe should have a vegetarian dish that you can order. Utilize the phrases in our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans to confirm when you get there!
Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information
- Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum is open from
- 9 am to 6 pm from Tuesday to Thursday and Sundays
- 9 am to 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays
- The last admission is 30 minutes before the closing time.
- The museum will close on the next business day if Monday is a public holiday.
- The museum shop and Touch and Experiment Room are closed at 6 pm.
- The museum’s permanent collection admission fee is
- 530 for adults
- 270 yen for senior high school and university students
- 150 yen for elementary and junior high school students
- The admission fee for the art museum is
- 400 for adults
- 220 yen for senior high school and university students
- 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students
- Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum is around a 10 to 15-minute walk from Yui Rail’s Omoromachi Station (おもろまち駅).
Okinogū Shrine (沖宮)
Okinogū Shrine is another shrine in Okinawa that isn’t related to the Okinawan-derived religion. This holy site is said to be where Amaterasu-Ōmikami (天照大御神) descended before she crossed the ocean to Ise (伊勢).
Unlike the shrines in most parts of Japan, Okigū will give a different impression of what a shrine’s ground would look like. Replacing the usual cherry blossoms or hydrangeas, the charms of Okinawa’s shrines are from the tropical flowers, as well as birds and insects chirping!
For more information, refer to our article on Okinogū Shrine!
Lake Man (漫湖)
A bit south of Okigū Shrine, Lake Man is a spot loved by many birdwatching lovers. Although the waterfowl habitat has the word “lake” in its name, it is actually a wetland.
For information about the creatures that have called Lake Man their home since its formation, visit Manko Waterbird and Wetland Center (漫湖水鳥・湿地センター). A surprising fact is that Lake Man is partially manmade to give waterfowl a better living environment.
Moreover, there is also an observation zone for the tidal flat.
Tip: Lake Man is also a great spot to adore the beautiful sunset!
Shikina-en Garden (識名園)
In addition to the buildings in the Shurijō Castle Park, Shikina-en Garden (識名園) was another spot that was registered as a part of the World Heritage, Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryūkyū (琉球王国のグスク及び関連遺産群) in 2000. The villa complex, also a designated Special National Place of Scenery Beauty, has architecture and gardens that fuses the Chinese, Japanese, and Ryūkyū cultures.
For more information, please refer to our article on Shikina-en Garden!
Yui Rail Museum (ゆいレール展示館)
Just a 10-minute walk from the Yui Rail’s Naha Aiport Station (那覇空港駅), Yui Rail Museum is Japan’s southmost rail museum. While there aren’t many English notations in the museum, just seeing so many Japanese rail-related items and short films from the past is just amazing.
One of the highlights of the Yui Rail Museum is listening to the folk music broadcasted when the monorail arrives at each station. So the museum is probably the most convenient place to understand the old music culture in Okinawa (´▽｀*).
In addition, sightseeing spots at each of Yui Rail’s stations are introduced in the museum. It can be a great place to stop by after you get off the plane.
Besides Yui Rail’s history, the museum also covers old Okinawa’s narrow-gauge railways.
Tip: If you visit Yui Rail Museum with children, head to the interactive computer to design and print your monorail! The resulting product can be cut and folded into a 3D monorail!
Yui Rail Museum’s Opening Hours, Admission Fee, and Access Information
- Yui Rail Museum is temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
- The museum is within a 10 to 15-minute walk from Naha Aiport Station (那覇空港駅).
Umikaji Terrace Senagajima (瀬長島 ウミカジテラス)
Umikaji Terrace Senagajima is an island resort that opened in 2015. While the resort isn’t located in Naha City, we thought to throw it in anyways because it is only a 10-minute drive from Naha Airport. It is definitely a nice destination to visit before flying home.
Unlike Naminoue Beach, which is artificial and has a bridge blocking the ocean view, the more than 100-meter-long Senaga Beach (瀬長ビーチ) is natural. You can also see airplanes taking off from Naha Airport across the water!
In addition, there is a free hot spring tub for your tired feet! Apparently, the onsen is gushing out from 1,000 meters underground!
One thing to keep in mind is that the food at Umikaji Terrace Senagajima isn’t the best and not exactly cheap either. But each of the shops and restaurants in the European-style resort has its charm, and it won’t hurt to just window shop (^_-)-☆.
☛ The sunset from Umikaji Terrace Senagajima is really stunning.
☛ The lighting show, Senaga Starry Night (Senaga Starry Night 陽が沈む島の星物語), occurs five times a day from 7:30 pm at a 30-minute interval.
How to Get to Umikaji Terrace Senagajima
- From Yui Rail’s Akamine Station (赤嶺駅), Naha Airport (那覇空港), or Kokusai-dōri Iriguchi (国際通り入口), you can take the Umigaji Liner (ウミカジライナー) to get to Umikaji Terrace Sengajima.
- Refer to HERE for the price table and timetable.
- From Naha Airport, it takes around 20 to 30 minutes by bus.
Discover the Islands in the Keruma Islands National Park
If you would like to enjoy Okinawa’s breathtaking beaches, take a ferry to the Kerama Islands. The subtropical island group comprises more than 20 islands and has some of the prefecture’s most stunning beaches and coral reefs!
For more information, refer to our article on Keruma Islands!
Discover the Stunning Beaches in Miyakojima City
If you love visiting beaches and watersports, the six islands in Miyakojima City, south of Okinawa’s main island, should be on the top of your bucket list when you head to Japan next time. Not only is the city filled with tons of stunning beaches, but it also has some unique historical and cultural spots.
Plus, the tropical fruits on the islands are cheap and delicious!
For more information, refer to our Top 12 Attractions in Miyakojima City!