Photo of Okinawa

About Okinawa

Starting with the literal translation of a place name is only really inspiring if it’s interesting, but Okinawa, or ‘the rope in the open sea’ is both literal and romantic. This stretch of 150-odd islands is long and thin: a rope bobbing up and down in the sunny subtropical sea between Japan and Taiwan. It’s probably the subtropical seas that appeal to many potential visitors to these islands, but the translation of the name will definitely tickle those with a romantic heart. And there are plenty of romantic spots in Okinawa.

Some of the other reasons you might favour Okinawa over one of the other groups of peaceful, coral-fringed islands off the coast of Japan’s main islands include the frequency of its appearance in magazines mentioning idyllic tropical honeymoons. And shopping. And Okinawa has the best museums. But there’s a lot else going for our recommendations for the best places to stay in Okinawa too.

What not to Miss

  • If you thought we’d start with beaches and parasailing you’re mistaken, the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum is a fantastic way to begin to appreciate Okinawa’s history and the importance of its earliest inhabitants, the citizens of the Ryūkyū Kingdom. And the effect WW2 had on this region.
  • The Okinawa Peace Memorial Park and Museum are also worth a visit, the former being lighter than the Prefectural Museum, and the latter being heavier. And if your interest has really been piqued then the Himeyuri Peace Museum, above a cave that served as an emergency field hospital, will also leave you with plenty to think about.
  • If you’re more interested in the relics of the Ryūkyū Kingdom then you can see one of its royal residences, the 14thCentury Shuri-jō, which is also quite romantic.
  • Before you head out towards those gorgeous beaches and coastline stop by Naha’s covered food market, the Daichi Makishi Kōsetsu Ichiba and try some of the local delicacies. And Tsuboya Pottery Street, which has been a centre for ceramics since before 1680.
  • Nago, on Okinawa Island, has a famous aquarium known for its whale sharks and huge manta rays;
  • and if you’re here to dive or snorkel then some of the best places to stay in Okinawa will be in Tokashiki on Kerama, or on Ishigaki in the Yaeyama Island group.
  • Now head for the beach… It’s why most people come here, and for a sunny beach at that.

Where to Stay - which city/island?

  • Okinawa Island is the largest island in the group and the region’s travel hub. It has many of the largest resorts, and the region’s most famous and popular visitor sites, plus beautiful tracts of sub-tropical rainforest and some gorgeous beaches.
  • Naha, the regional capital is on Okinawa Island, and is an ancient city, it was the commercial centre during the Ryūkyū Kingdom, but it’s still a great commercial hub now, with great shopping - in markets, malls and on the city’s main street, Kokusai-dōri or International Avenue.
  • If you’re here to dive or snorkel then we'd recommend staying in Zamami or Tokashiki in the Kerama Island group, all known for their beautiful corals. Akajima is nice too, or on Ishigaki in the Yaeyama Island group, which is known for its manta rays and beautiful beaches.
  • Ishigaki in the Yaeyama group is dripping in tradition, and has its own preserved Ryūkyū village. It also has some amazing beaches with special star sand, but it’s tiny - perfect if you want an unusual escape, though.
  • Miyako is another less developed option, with a big city and then tiny towns, so it feels pretty peaceful. It also has fantastically clear waters with excellent beaches and incredible diving and snorkelling opportunities. Miyako is really popular with Japanese travellers but little known of internationally.
  • As a Post Script, one of Okinawa’s most famous exports is karate, so if you’ve never tried it but fancy having a go then this is the place to do it.

Don't forget that if you're planning a beach break, the best places to stay in Okinawa get extremely busy during peak holiday season. So get organised and book well ahead to avoid disappointment.

The Best Places to Stay in Okinawa

The Most Romantic Places to Stay in Okinawa

  • The Terrace Club at Busena is in a wonderful position right on the coast with fantastic sea views and its own private stretch of beach. The Club also has an extensive spa with thalassotherapy treatments, a great pool with ocean views and a chic bar and a peaceful atmosphere. Expect sunset views to accompany your sundowners.

For a room with a view

  • Many of Okinawa’s best hotels boast about their fantastic ocean views, but not all of them offer great views from such a large number of rooms - in the case of the Kafuu Resot Fuchahu Condo Hotel there are more than a hundred rooms with a view. There’s also a great spa and a big outdoor pool, so this is a good choice for families too.
  • The Okinawa Spa Resort Exes is about five minutes from the beach, but the way the hotel heads upwards in its design means that the sea views from the rooms are really something. The food is great and decor is stylish, but not to everyone’s taste.

For a beach resort

  • The Hotel Nikkō Alivila Yomitan Resort is a big five star hotel right on Nirai Beach. The views are excellent, and there are the luxuriously idyllic pool facilities big hotels are fantastic at imagining. There’s also a large spa and plenty of choice when it comes to eating and drinking.

For great value

  • The Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa isn’t what you’d call cheap, but it is excellent value, with 157 chic and spacious rooms, top notch cuisine onsite, a fantastic location with spectacular sunset views and a really helpful team.

Prefer an Apartment or Villa?

  • If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private villa we recommend you visit our online partner, booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Most people arrive in Okinawa via Naha Okinawa Airport from a Japanese international airport.
  • If you’re thinking about hiring a car we recommend checking what our online partners, Rentalcars have to offer.
  • Even in January and February the average daily top temperature in Okinawa hovers around 20°C - though there’s a lot less sun in winter - come spring and it’s glorious. Avoid the rainy season between May and June, come back for summer, which is hot and humid, cross out September because of the typhoon risk, then come back for October and November.

Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Okinawa for you?

Best Hotels in Okinawa

  • Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa Okinawa-ken, Okinawa 157 rooms from £132

    Located in the heart of Naha, Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa provides chic and spacious contemporary accommodation. Relax with an evening drink in their Bar Aiju at sunset and marvel in the glorious views! Top-notch cuisine. Car rental can also be arranged. A splendid spot for romance or local exploring!

    Diving  -  The hotel can arrange for you to go scuba-diving if you fancy trying something a little different
    Great walks  -  Take a stroll around Onoyama Park or head to the beautiful Fukushu-en Garden
    Sights nearby  -  The historic Shuri-jo Castle is definitely worth a visit!
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Check Availability
  • Island Terrace Neela Ikema Island, Miyakojima 5 rooms from £137

    Boasting a beachfront location in Ikema Island, Island Terrace Neela offers five boutique and chic villas with magnificent views. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast each morning to set you up for the day and superb kaiseki cuisine is served at dinner. A private and peaceful option for group trips!

    Sights nearby  -  Soak up the wonderful views as you walk across Ikema Ohashi Bridge
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
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  • Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo Hotel Okinawa 137 rooms from £142

    Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo Hotel enjoys an oceanfront location in Okinawa. The property offers chic and contemporary accommodation boasting terrific sea views! Unwind in the spa or soak up the sun by the outdoor pool. A fantastic all-round spot whether it be for families, romance or relaxation!

    Sights nearby  -  Head off in their sightseeing taxi for a 6 hour long World Heritage site tour!
    Fishing  -  If you fancy a relaxing afternoon then head out to sea for a spot of fishing
    Great walks  -  Wander along the coast at sunset and take in the incredible views
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Check Availability
  • Hotel Nikkō Alivila Yomitan Resort Nakagami-gun, Okinawa 397 rooms from £147

    Enjoying a beachfront location, the 5* Hotel Nikko Alivila offers spacious and contemporary accommodation boasting wonderful sea views. Soak up the sun by the pool or pamper yourself in their wonderful spa! Make the most out of the splendid cuisine on offer. A truly first-rate coastal escape.

    Total relaxation  -  Feel utterly rejuvenated at this peaceful spot and treat yourself to a massage to fully unwind
    Romantic Break  -  Great accommodation, beautiful views and long romantic walks on the beach
    Beach Life  -  Hotel Nikkō Alivila Yomitan Resort is situated right on Nirai Beach
    Foodies  -  With a total of 8 restaurants there is something for everyone
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  • Okinawa Spa Resort Exes Okinawa 90 rooms from £164

    Okinawa Spa Resort Exes enjoys a lovely coastal location just a short distance from the beach. Stay in chic and luxurious accommodation boasting splendid ocean views. Spend your days soaking up the sun by the pool or even go parasailing for something completely different! A truly wonderful stay.

    Beach Life  -  Spa Resort Exes is located just 5 minutes from the beach so you can easily spend your days lounging by the seaside
    Foodies  -  Enjoy wonderful international cuisine in their Restaurant Ten
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Check Availability
  • The Terrace Club at Busena Okinawa-ken, Okinawa 8 rooms from £428

    The Terrace Club at Busena enjoys a stunning location right on the coast of Okinawa. Offering chic and spacious accommodation with glorious sea views, their thalassotherapy treatments will have you feeling the best you've felt in years! Head to the beach or grab a drink by the pool. A peaceful stay.

    Foodies  -  Enjoy lovely cuisine created merging French, Italian and Okinawan influences
    Beach Life  -  The Terrace Club at Busena boasts its own private beach area!
    Total relaxation  -  Unwind in their extensive spa facilities
    Great walks  -  Take a romantic stroll along the coast at sunset and marvel in the gorgeous ocean views
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels
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