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Exploring Japan - Okinawa

By Staff Writer
August 17, 2022
This article series will provide an informational foundation about the prefectures of Japan. For this installment, we are looking at Okinawa.
Aone of the main highways in Okinawa, with ocean on either side
Okinawa consists of 160 islands of various sizes; 47 inhabited and 113 uninhabited
Okinawa Prefecture consists of 160 islands of various sizes and has a vast area of approximately 1,000 km from east to west and 400 km from north to south. Of those, 47 islands are inhabited, while the other 113 islands are uninhabited.

Even though other prefectures have extremely hot summers with temperatures exceeding 35°C, Okinawa has few days with maximum temperatures exceeding 32°C. In addition, the temperature rarely drops below 10°C in winter, making the climate comfortable and mild along the year.
The clear blue ocean of Okinawa
Okinawa has a spectacular view of rich nature, including blue seas and blue skies
The ocean is always ranked high in popular images of Okinawa Prefecture.
Okinawa's ocean is crystal clear due to the lack of microorganisms, plankton, and other small creatures.
In addition, hundreds of species of corals live in the sea, and colorful tropical fish swim in swarms.
The bright red Shuri Castle in Okinawa
Shuri Castle is a symbol of Okinawan history and culture, and the history of Shuri Castle is the history of the Ryukyu Kingdom itself.
Today, Okinawa is a part of Japan, but in the past, Okinawa Prefecture was one country called the Kingdom of Ryukyu. The Ryukyu Kingdom was a monarchy that existed for 450 years, from 1429 to 1879, and its thriving trade with China, Japan, and Southeast Asia fostered a unique Ryukyuan culture. Shuri Castle was the thriving political, diplomatic, and cultural center of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
A white shisa lion statue by the beach in Okinawa
An ancient guardian deity in Okinawa: Shisa
Shisa have been made since the time of the Kingdom of Ryukyu and are the guardian gods of Okinawa and a familiar symbol of Okinawan culture.
It was modeled after the lion, a symbol of authority and strength in the ancient Orient and India.
In Okinawa, shisa of various sizes can be seen on roofs and gateposts. Shisa goods such as ornaments, key chains, and stickers are also standard Okinawa souvenirs.
Kokusai-dori, a popular shopping street in Okinawa
Kokusai Shopping Street in Naha City
Okinawa attracts many tourists and in particular the Kokusai Shopping Street receives many visitors.
Kokusai-dori is a 1.6-kilometer street that serves as the center of Naha City, the largest city in Okinawa Prefecture. The street is lined with approximately 600 stores and businesses. There are souvenir stores selling chinsuko, awamori, and Ryukyu glassware, as well as restaurants serving Okinawan soba noodles and Taco Rice.
Kokusai-dori is truly a key point for sightseeing in Okinawa.
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