Indulge in blue sky and clear blue water in Okinawa. A deluxe itinerary with a bonus visit to a World Heritage site.

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Written by  YUKA

Okinawa is one of the hottest destinations for tourists, but there are still some hidden hotels and secret spots that many people have never heard of. In this article, we will tell you about these hidden gems in Okinawa. Moving around in Okinawa is easier if you rent a car since train service is limited on the island. Being a big tourist destination, there are multiple car rental companies in Okinawa and many of them have staff who can assist you in foreign languages other than Japanese. If you have an international driver’s license, check out what you need to rent a car in Japan before departure.

Though don’t worry if you don’t have an international license because you can also take a bus from Naha City. You may think that it is confusing to take a bus, but check out the “Okinawa Tourist Attractions Bus Map” that you can download from the website. With colorful illustrations, this map explains precisely how to get on and off the bus.

The first recommended attraction is “Katsuren-Jo site”. This castle site with beautiful stone walls is full of tales and spirits from the ancient Ryukyu era and excavations are still in progress. If you are going to drive here, there will be no problem finding the place with a GPS. If you have trouble using the GPS in your car, ask the rental car company staff to set it up for you.

On the other hand, if you are going to take a bus, remember that they are limited.
A recommended time schedule is to take the #52 bus (bound for Yakena bus terminal) at 8:26am from Naha bus terminal. From there, enjoy a ride for about 1 hour and 33 minutes, and, at around 10:01 am, you will arrive at Katsuren-jo bus stop. If you are not sure about where to get off, ask the bus driver if it is near Katsuren-jo.

Though this spot is not widely popular even among Japanese tourists, it was designated as a World Heritage and it is truly a worthwhile spot to visit. Go up the hill at the site and you will get a spectacular 360 degree view without any mountains obstructing your sight. This is a spot to take advantage of the panoramic feature of your smart phone or camera.

Ahead of Katsuren-jo site is the famous “Kaichu-doro (an inter-island causeway between the main island of Okinawa and Henza Island)” with a breathtaking view, but don’t turn around and go back here. If you go a little further, there are some of the best beaches in Okinawa awaiting you. If you are taking a bus, try “Ikei beach (with marine resort)” and if you are driving, try “Oodomari beach (almost like a private beach)”.

If you are driving, go further to astonishing Oodomari beach with 600 meters of white sand. Even in the busiest season, it does not get overly crowded here and you will feel like you are on a private beach. Under the right conditions, the water is even as clear as that around remote islands.

Given that this is not a resort area, it is better if you do not expect top-class services or facilities at this beach. Also, be careful about where you park; between two parking lots in Oodomari, the one that you will see first charges 500 JPY to park. On the other hand, the other lot charges 500 JPY per person as an entrance fee on top of the parking fee. (Probably no services in foreign languages.)

After having lots of fun at the beach, go relax in a dreamy suite at Zanpa Misaki Royal Hotel and soak in the luxurious resort atmosphere.

By the way, according to information from some sources, if you book 2 standard rooms, there may be a chance that your rooms will be upgraded to a suite room though it is not guaranteed. If you are going to stay at the hotel for any special occasion, such as for someone’s birthday, it may be a good idea to notify the hotel about it.