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?


Monthly Weather in Okinawa

Best Hotels in Okinawa

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

    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!
    Short break  -  Naha Airport is just a ten minute drive away
    Air conditioningRestaurantParkingNo pets

    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! See More

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  • Island Terrace Neela Ikema Island, Miyakojima 5 rooms from £137

    Sights nearby  -  Soak up the wonderful views as you walk across Ikema Ohashi Bridge
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    On the beach  -  In front of the hotel.

    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! See More

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  • Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo Hotel Okinawa 137 rooms from £142

    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.
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolViewsParkingNo pets

    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! See More

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  • Hotel Nikkō Alivila Yomitan Resort Nakagami-gun, Okinawa 397 rooms from £147

    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
    TennisSpaRestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    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. See More

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  • Okinawa Spa Resort Exes Okinawa 90 rooms from £164

    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
    Tennis  -  Make use of the on site tennis court
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Air conditioningTennisRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    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. See More

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  • Hotel Collective Naha, Okinawa 260 rooms from £172

    City Style  -  A stylish stay in the heart of the city complete with a trendy bar, rooftop pool and chic restaurant
    Sights nearby  -  Visit Shuri Castle which is built in the traditional Okiwanan style
    Swimming Pool  -  Rooftop pool
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolDisabled accessNo pets

    A sleek contemporary hotel offering five-star accommodation in Naha. Spacious rooms lend epic city views from the floor to ceiling windows while the interiors are simple and modern. Boasting a rooftop pool, spa and excellent dining options. A luxury choice. See More

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  • The Terrace Club at Busena Okinawa-ken, Okinawa 8 rooms from £428

    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
    SpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Small Luxury Hotels

    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. See More

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  • Ritz-Carlton Okinawa Nago, Okinawa 97 rooms from £407

    Families  -  Families are welcome at this resort, with family suites available and dedicated children's tours and activities
    Beach Life  -  Set moments away from the charming Kise Beach, book this resort for a relaxing seaside getaway
    Foodies  -  Offering three, stylish, full-service restaurants, this hotel is a great choice for foodies
    Cooking classes  -  Take an Okinawa cooking class through the hotel and learn how to make popular dishes such as 'Fu Champuru' and 'Jushi'
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    This luxury resort is located steps from Japan's Kise Beach, surrounded by the beautiful hills of Okinawa. The hotel offers modern guestrooms and suites dressed in a neutral palette with Western-style beds. Dine in one of three romantic restaurants before indulging in a treatment at the spa. See More

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  • Hoshinoya Taketomijima Okinawa 48 rooms from £659

    Local exploring  -  This hotel offers lots of packages to help you explore the island, from sea and land tours to cultural experiences
    Beach Life  -  Set on the charming Japanese island of Taketomi, book this resort for a relaxing seaside holiday
    Romantic Break  -  With romantic soaking tubs in each room, book this hotel for a stylish couples' getaway
    Sights nearby  -  Enjoy a leisurely water buffalo ride through the only village on the island
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    This resort is nestled on the Japanese island of Taketomi. Inspired by local custom, bungalow suites have red-tiled roofs and tatami-style flooring. White-sand paths and coral stone walls connect the suites with the outdoor pool and sun terrace at this idyllic, rustic-chic retreat. See More

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  • Hyakunagaran Okinawa 15 rooms from £864

    Romantic Break  -  With sea views from most suites, attentive staff and a laid-back atmosphere, this hotel is great for a couples' getaway
    Hideaway  -  With hermitage hot baths and an excellent restaurant onsite, book this hotel for a tranquil hideaway holiday
    Beach Life  -  Set on the coast of Okinawa, this luxury bolt-hole is perfect for a relaxing beach break
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the ruins of Tamagusuku Castle, the oldest castle on Okinawa
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    This stylish hotel is located in a seafront mansion in Okinawa. Guests can choose from Japanese-style suites with tatami areas or cosy Western rooms, both with sea view terraces. Enjoy complimentary use of the open-air baths in the hotel's traditional Houjo-an cottages. See More

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  • The Uza Terrace Beach Club Villas Okinawa 48 rooms from £884

    Families  -  The private villa accommodation is ideal for family groups and each has its own private pool
    Beach Life  -  The villas are set right on a beatiful stretch of coast on the East China Sea
    Romantic Break  -  Pick a villa complete with a private pool for a romantic break
    Spa  -  Tailor made treatments use natural sea salts and therapeutic botanicals from the Okinawan Islands
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Relais & Chateaux

    A collection of luxury villas offering a prime location on the East China Sea. Spacious accommodations (some of which have private pools) have all the luxury trimmings including round-the-clock butler services. Completed by a spoiling spa and superb fine-dining restaurant. See More

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