Singapore to Okinawa Itinerary: New Attractions and Activities in Okinawa

What’s New in Okinawa: Explore a Different Side of the Oasis of Japan

Have a tropical getaway with these newest attractions and experiences in Okinawa!

When you need a refreshing change of scenery, there’s no better time to fall in love with the tropical paradise that is Okinawa Prefecture. Filled with amazing things to do and places to visit, Okinawa offers the perfect escape — a sun-soaked archipelago of stunning beaches, coral reefs, and natural wonders. Plus, it happens to be the closest Japanese prefecture from Singapore! If you’re travelling from Singapore to Okinawa, we’ve prepared an itinerary to help you explore this amazing prefecture in Japan once it’s safe for all of us to travel again.

For this Singapore to Okinawa travel guide, we’ve rounded up all the newest attractions and must-do activities for an unforgettable journey in Okinawa. Here are all the latest attractions and experiences that await you in Japan’s hidden paradise!

Also read: Why Okinawa is on Our List of Destinations When It’s Safe to Travel Again

What’s new and exciting in Okinawa

New attractions and places to visit in Okinawa

1. Parco City shopping mall

Singapore to Okinawa Itinerary: Parco City mall

Parco City mall | Image credit: SAN-A PARCO, Inc.

Interested in shopping until you drop? If you’re a shopaholic, you’ll have the time of your life at Parco City, a giant megastore that opened its second branch in Urasoe City. Take your pick from mid-range clothing stores to designer brands like ZARA, Muji, Levi’s, NYX, Coach, Lacoste, Dior, Swarovski, Chanel, and even the Swiss chocolate brand Lindt. 

Anytime you feel like taking a break from shopping, you can grab a bite to eat and relax at the food court. Even better, it happens to have an excellent view of the seafront.

2. IIAS Okinawa Toyosaki

IIAS Okinawa Toyosaki | Image credit: IIAS Okinawa Toyosaki

What if you want to do some shopping in Okinawa on the day before you leave? Situated about seven kilometres from Naha Airport, IIAS Okinawa Toyosaki is the answer to all your shopping needs. It’s a brand-new shopping mall with restaurants, cafés, fashion shops, jewellery stores, fitness and sports speciality stores, electronics retailers, souvenir stores, and other various outlets. Moreover, it’s a shiny newcomer to Okinawa’s mall scene, having recently opened in Tomigusuku City in May 2020. 

IIAS Okinawa Toyosaki | Image credit: IIAS Okinawa Toyosaki

Aside from providing enjoyable shopping and dining experiences, IIAS Okinawa Toyosaki is also located in front of Orion ECO Churasan Beach, one of the longest beaches in Okinawa.

3. DMM Kariyushi Aquarium

DMM Kariyushi Aquarium | Image credit: DMM Kariyushi Aquarium

Inside the IIAS Okinawa Toyosaki shopping mall, you can also find the newly opened DMM Kariyushi Aquarium. Step inside this fascinating attraction, where you’ll encounter a different kind of aquarium experience that will blow you away! 

Open to visitors since May 2020, the DMM Kariyushi Aquarium is a 3D digital aquarium that combines art installations with the latest projection technology. With this unique concept, you can observe a diverse array of sea creatures at the Ocean Beauty exhibit on the first floor. Marvel at this incredible underwater world filled with green turtles, snappers, sea horses, angelfish, manta rays, sharks, and other colourful aquatic species. 

Meanwhile, the Emerald Forest on the second floor takes you through a verdant forest and the animal species of Okinawa that reside there. Get ready to spot adorable creatures such as penguins, armadillos, toucans, sloths, and tortoises!

4. Manzamo Tourism Facility at Cape Manzamo

Singapore to Okinawa Itinerary: Manzamo Tourism Facility

Manzamo Tourism Facility | Image credit: Manzamo Tourism Facility

One of the most breathtaking places in Okinawa is Cape Manzamo, whose naturally trunk-shaped cliff hovers over the East China Sea. If you’re heading here, we know just the place where you can bide your time!

At the newly built Manzamo Tourism Facility in Onna Village, you can explore a shopping area, taste Okinawan delicacies, or wind down at the observation deck with a panoramic outlook of the wide blue sea. These are just some of the exciting activities at this new facility, which opened to visitors in Oct 2020.

Singapore to Okinawa Itinerary: Manzamo Tourism Facility

Manzamo Tourism Facility | Image credit: Manzamo Co., Ltd. Official Instagram Page

Not only does this tourism facility provide helpful information about Cape Manzamo and its surroundings, but it’s also a tourist attraction with a peaceful outdoor atmosphere. Stick around until sunset to see the most magical views! 

5. Hotel Collective

Hotel Collective | Image credit: Hotel Collective 

Looking for a hotel that will put you right in the heart of Naha, the capital of Okinawa Prefecture? For an elegant base in Okinawa that’s worth the splurge, Hotel Collective comes with a classy restaurant, a bar, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre, and a wellness area with a sauna for guests. Located right on Kokusai Street, the hotel places you just a few minutes away from prime shopping destinations. Other popular attractions nearby include Yachimun Street and Naminoue Beach.

Hotel Collective | Image credit: Hotel Collective 

You’ll feel right at home at Hotel Collective’s luxurious rooms, which come with irresistible city views, a flat-screen TV, a coffee maker, a minibar, air purifiers, and free Wi-Fi. Furthermore, the hotel rooms are regularly cleaned while disinfectants and hand sanitisers are provided for guests.

6. Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort

Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort | Image credit: Vessel Hotels

Another Okinawa hotel for your itinerary is the Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort in Chatan, the central area of Okinawa. It’s known for its stylish rooms and a pool that comes with dreamy ocean views. The hotel offers a breakfast buffet each day, but a variety of restaurants and cafés are also available within walking distance from the hotel if you’d like to eat outside. 

Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort | Image credit: Vessel Hotels

A full-service spa and an outdoor pool are just some of the special touches this hotel has to offer its guests. For nearby sightseeing destinations, the Mihama American Village and Sunset Beach are only a few minutes away from the hotel. 

Have a new kind of trip in Okinawa

Must-do activities in Okinawa

1. Explore the Kerama Islands: Zamami, Tokashiki, and Aka

Singapore to Okinawa Itinerary: Kerama Islands

Furuzamami Beach on Zamami Island | Image credit: Visit Okinawa Japan Official Facebook Page

Since Okinawa Prefecture is an archipelago, it’s only fair that you leave room in your itinerary for island-hopping getaways. Head to the Kerama Islands, where the sea is often called “Kerama Blue” due to its striking blue colour. For this Okinawa travel guide, we’ll introduce you to three outer islands: Zamami Island, Tokashiki Island, and Aka Island

Begin your adventure by taking a high-speed ferry from Naha to Zamami Island. In about 50 minutes, you’ll arrive at this popular remote island for snorkelling and swimming. Dip your toes into the white sands and azure waters of Furuzamami Beach, one of the best beaches on the island! 

From Zamami Island, you can also ride a 15-minute ferry to Aka Island, the smallest of the Kerama Islands. Seek out the calming shore of Nishibama Beach, a pristine one-kilometre stretch of sand with few people in sight. 

Singapore to Okinawa Itinerary: Kerama Islands

Nishibama Beach on Aka Island | Image credit: Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau

Another remote island to visit is Tokashiki Island. Here, you can go snorkelling or hop on banana boat rides at Aharen Beach. Or, you can swim with sea turtles at Tokashiku Beach and even spot humpback whales during the winter. Getting to Tokashiki Island is easy — a high-speed ferry from the Tomari Port in Naha brings you to Tokashiki Island in around 35 minutes. 

More than postcard-perfect destinations, the Kerama Islands are ideal day trips or weekend getaway from mainland Okinawa. Anytime you want to slow down and reconnect with nature, they’re all within one hour away from Naha! 

2. Discover nature’s wonders on the Ishigaki and Miyako Islands

Glass-bottom boats on Ishigaki Island | Image credit: Visit Okinawa Japan Official Facebook Page

If you’re looking for privacy and an opportunity to breathe in the fresh air, you won’t find a better tropical escape than Okinawa’s offshore islands. Ishigaki Island and Miyako Island offer excellent snorkelling and scuba-diving experiences, scenic coastal drives, and relaxing nature getaways — all without the crowds. 

For natural attractions, Ishigaki Island is most famous for its turquoise waters and glass-bottom boat tours on Kabira Bay. For picturesque drives around the coast, you can enjoy magnificent views on Nosoko Forest Road and the scenery leading up to Yonehara Beach, Fusaki Beach, and Sukuji Beach

Snorkelling in Okinawa | Image credit: Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau

On the other hand, Miyako Island is every diver’s dream destination with its beautiful coral and tropical fishes in Yonaha Maehama Beach and Yoshino Beach. On a sunny day, nothing beats getting into your car and making your way across Irabu Bridge, one of the longest bridges in Japan where nothing blocks your view of the sea. Driving up to Cape Higashi-Hennazaki is also worth it for a visit to a pristine lighthouse. 

Between these two remote islands in Okinawa, you’ll have plenty of beach-hopping and outdoor adventures to keep you busy! 

Sugarcane-filled road on Miyako Island | Image credit: Visit Okinawa Japan Official Facebook Page

Take note that there aren’t any ferries making the journey from mainland Okinawa to Ishigaki Island or Miyako Island. Instead, you can reach these islands by taking a direct flight from Naha Airport. A flight to Ishigaki Island takes approximately one hour, while a flight to Miyako Island takes around 50 minutes. 

Feliz Villa Suite Miyakojima Ueno | Image credit: Feliz Villa Suite Miyakojima Ueno

Thinking of staying in these remote islands? For a peaceful vacation on Ishigaki Island, consider staying at villa-type resorts such as Fusaki Beach Resort Hotel & Villa and ANA InterContinental Ishigaki Resort

Meanwhile, Feliz Villa Suite Miyakojima Ueno, Miyakojima Kurima Resort Seawood Hotel, and RuGu Glamping Resort are soothing retreats for anyone searching for peace and healing. All of these accommodations happen to be strategically located for sightseeing as well. 

3. Meet unique terrestrial wildlife on Iriomote Island

Kayaking through a mangrove forest | Image credit: Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau

Want to check wildlife-spotting off your bucket list? Then you’re in the right place, as Okinawa is often referred to as the “Oasis of Japan” for its abundant wildlife and biological diversity. 

Keep an eye out for the Iriomote Cat, a rare wild cat that is critically endangered and lives exclusively on Iriomote Island. Exploring the mangrove forests, jungle cruising through the river, and trekking to Kanbire Waterfall are also some of the thrilling activities you can also enjoy on this Okinawan island. 

4. Dine in an Okinawan-style izakaya 

Singapore to Okinawa Itinerary: Norengai

Norengai in Kokusai Street | Image credit: Kokusaidori Norengai Official Facebook Page

Have you ever tried eating at an izakaya before? In Japan, an izakaya refers to a Japanese-style pub serving a wide range of food and alcoholic beverages. When in Okinawa, you can level up your food trip by dining in an establishment filled with bars, restaurants, and izakayas called Norengai. Eating at an authentic Japanese eatery is the best way to treat yourself to Okinawan cuisine! 

From the freshest seafood plucked from the ocean to local produce, Okinawan cuisine is nutritious and mouth-watering. You must try the Okinawa soba, which consists of thick wheat noodles and a flavourful broth made from seaweed, bonito flakes, and pork.

Norengai in Kokusai Street | Image credit: Visit Okinawa Japan Official Facebook Page

Another dish to indulge in is rafute, a pork belly dish that has been slow-cooked to juicy, mouth-watering flavour in awamori or Okinawan distilled liquor. More importantly, don’t deny yourself Ishigaki beef — an Okinawan speciality that is so tender, it will melt in your mouth and leave you craving for more. When it comes to dessert, you’ll also want to sink your teeth into beni-imo tarts, a purple sweet potato and a famous souvenir in Okinawa. 

Wondering where to grab a delicious meal? For the best of local food in Okinawa, Norengai and Yataimura are must-try gourmet dining spots that will give you the authentic izakaya experience you crave for. From the variety of food selections available, you can try everything from Okinawa soba to charcoal-grilled chicken on skewers. Luckily, these establishments are quite easy to locate, as they’re both conveniently located on Kokusai Street in Naha. 

Also read: 15 Interesting Souvenirs You Can Only Get in Okinawa, Japan

How to travel from Singapore to Okinawa

When should you travel to Okinawa?

Singapore to Okinawa Itinerary

Ocean views in Okinawa | Image credit: Visit Okinawa Japan Official Facebook Page

Thanks to its sub-tropical climate that stays pleasant all year round, the Okinawan archipelago presents the ideal getaway for travellers. You might want to travel to Okinawa when the weather is warmer from May to October, for example, so that you can pack light and enjoy the balmy temperatures from 23°C to 32°C

Or, you might want to embark on a colder getaway from Singapore. Fly to the Okinawa islands anytime from December to March, and you’ll be greeted by temperatures that can fall from 20°C to 17 °C. It’s still not too chilly, especially compared to the winter season in the rest of Japan. No matter when you choose to travel, we believe visiting Okinawa is a great idea for any season! 

Getting to Okinawa

Water buffalo carriage ride in Okinawa | Image credit: Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau

Right now, Japan’s borders are closed to foreign tourists. But when the country opens to leisure travel in the future, you can easily book direct flights from Singapore’s Changi Airport and land smoothly in Okinawa’s Naha Airport in approximately five hours. Another option allows you to fly from Singapore into other major cities in Japan such as Tokyo and Osaka. From here, there are frequent daily flights to Okinawa.

How to get around and explore Okinawa

Driving near the coast on Nirai Kanai Bridge

When it comes to getting around Okinawa, you’re going to need to get behind the wheels. Driving isn’t just the most time-efficient way to witness this prefecture, it’s also the most scenic one. For Singaporeans, you’ll first need to get an international drivers license to drive here, as in other parts of Japan. Many routes will allow you to drive along the coastline and admire the natural sights that are best explored by car. Don’t worry about getting stuck in traffic, as the roads in Okinawa are wide and well-maintained. Rental cars will cost you around ¥5,000 (S$64) each day.

Health and safety measures in Okinawa

All of the tourist attractions and establishments mentioned in this Okinawa travel guide have implemented health and precautionary measures to keep visitors safe in Okinawa. Rest assured that these facilities are following strict guidelines and working very hard to stop the spread of COVID-19. All of the airports in Okinawa Prefecture, especially Naha Airport, even use thermal imaging cameras to check the temperatures of passengers!

Due to the lack of medical facilities on some remote islands in Okinawa, travellers need to be extra careful and diligent about following prevention measures against COVID-19. Passengers who are feeling unwell are discouraged from travelling across the islands. Furthermore, all travellers must abide by the strict COVID-19 safety measures in Japan, such as wearing face masks at all times, observing social distancing, and sanitising hands regularly.

Explore Okinawa from Singapore!

Singapore to Okinawa Itinerary

White-sand beach in Okinawa | Image credit: Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau

With these new attractions and experiences to discover in Okinawa, you have everything you need in your itinerary to make your Singapore to Okinawa trip happen! Set foot on these enchanting islands, and you’ll encounter so many different surprises along the way — maybe even a side of Japan you’ve never seen before. 

We wish you good luck on your journey once it’s safe to travel again, and we hope you enjoyed this round-up of places to visit and exciting things to do in Okinawa!

For more information, please visit Okinawa tourism’s official website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Brought to you by the Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau.

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany wrote articles on travel, food, and pop culture for TripZilla. As she plans her next adventure, she enjoys writing about the coolest places to stay around the world and where to find them.