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Top Rated Attractions in Okinawa

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Reef Encounters

Though their headquarters are in Chatan Village in Central Okinawa, Reef Encounters operates marine excursions all over Okinawa prefecture, from the northern tip of the island at Cape Hedo all the way down to Yongauni Island in the Yaeyama Region. Both experienced and novice divers can choose between snorkeling, diving and fishing, and can even become certified scuba divers. The staff is fluent in both English and Japanese, and the company also offers all-inclusive tour packages. Visit the website to make reservations.

Cape Maeda

This little strip of land jutting out into the azure waters is one of the most picturesque sights in Onna. The area round Cape Maeda is a popular diving spot in the region and attracts adventure enthusiasts. For those who simply want to enjoy the scenery, the plateau-like features of the cape offer sweeping views and leisurely hikes. Don't miss the spectacular sunset from here.

Bios on the Hill

In Ishikawa near Uruma, visitors can walk through the fern-filled park, kayak, ride in a water buffalo cart, or go on a 25-minute jungle cruise, though tickets for the rides are not included in the entrance fee. The beautiful wild orchids growing in the park and the adjacent Bios on the Hill Garden Center, the largest orchid greenhouse in Japan, provide a perfect backdrop for a romantic outing as well. Wheelchairs and strollers can be rented at the front desk.

Ginowan Seaside Park

This one-of-a-kind, multi-purpose park in Ginowan makes for an excellent outing for the whole family. With the cerulean waters of the ocean bordering the park, one can indulge in as much relaxation as they want, or live it up with a ton of outdoor activities. The park has trails for running and strolling, besides also having an expansive playground where your little ones can frolic around. Monkey bars, swings and slides add to the fun.

Busena Resort Underwater Observatory

At the Busena Resort Underwater Observatory on the southern outskirts of Nago City, tourists and locals alike can go underwater without getting anything wet. The observatory looks like a tube perched off the coast of the island, and takes visitors down to the ocean floor for a panoramic view of Okinawa's marine life. Glass-bottom boats that go further out are on the beach. Tickets for the boat cost JPY1500 for adults, JPY1200 for high school and college students, and JPY750 for children. Tickets for the observatory and the boat ride can be bought together at a discount. The observatory closes half an hour earlier from March to November, and last admission is half an hour before closing.

Shikina-En Garden

Near Shurijo, Shikina-En Garden served as a second home to the Shuri kings as well as the reception area for Chinese envoys. This idyllic pond-garden was first completed in 1799, before it was sadly destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa. An expensive reconstruction was carried out from 1975, and it took all of 20 years to restore the garden back to its original glory. Today, the gardens feature traditional Chinese bridges that connect small ponds, with beautiful seasonal trees such as plum, wisteria and bellflowers surrounding them. The confulence of Japanese and Chinese landscaping has led the gardens to become a part of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.

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