Naha is the largest city in Okinawa Prefecture. Located in the southern part of Okinawa Main Island, it is the political, economic, and transportation center of the prefecture. If you are journeying to Okinawa, this city will probably be your first introduction to Okinawa.
What to Do in Naha
Kokusai-Dori Avenue is a tourist hub in Naha, a long street lined with all kinds of shops and department stores, plenty of restaurants serving all kinds of cuisine, cafes, banks, and many souvenir shops where you can buy all kinds of edible and non-edible souvenirs.
If you are looking for something local to eat, near Kokusai-Dori you can find the Makishi Public Market which is nicknamed Naha’s Kitchen. It’s a lively place with many local elderly ladies working alongside fast-paces vendors. For those who are wondering what is typical Okinawa cuisine, one dish in particular that you should try while on a holiday in Okinawa is Taco Rice, which is exactly what it sounds like: a fusion dish with American and Japanese influences.
Many local families enjoy shopping at the large DFS Galleria Okinawa, where tax-free overseas brand items are sold, as well as to visit the nearby movie theaters and restaurants.
If you like ceramics and other artisanal products, make sure to head to Yachimun street during your visit to Naha. It is a great place to shop for a unique souvenir while supporting local artisans.
Other attractions in Naha include the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum where the nature, culture, and art of Okinawa can truly be appreciated, and the Shrikinjocho Stone-Path Road if you want to take a scenic stroll through the historic part of town.
Naha once prospered as the outer port of Shuri when there was plenty of trade going on with China and Southeast Asia. Shuri flourished as the capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom until Japan annexed the archipelago in 1879. The political and cultural center of the Ryukyu Kingdom was the Shurijo Castle, which stood there for many centuries until it was completely destroyed in WW2.
The castle got partly rebuilt in the 20th century but was unfortunately destroyed once more in a fire in 2019. They are currently rebuilding the castle again.