If Okinawa is one of your dream destinations in Japan, then why don’t you think of visiting it next year in early February? Okinawa in February has so much to offer you. I don’t think there is any area in Japan that is better for enjoying a perfect beach holiday than Okinawa. No, you are not going to have a beach holiday this time, but something unique and inspiring. And one big reason about visiting the island during this time of year is to witness pink sakura (cherry blossom).

Mt. Yaedake’s impressive sakura. Photo Credit: Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau.

February is a great time to visit Okinawa, especially if you want to experience mind-boggling display of pink sakura on the island. You can spend a week there and make your dream come true. What you may expect to get during the time of your stay on the island is full of surprises. You will never forget your Okinawa travel experiences.

There are a lot of great things to do in Okinawa prefecture in between late January and early February, from viewing cherry blossom to walking on the beautiful beaches, and exploring historic landmarks. If you are going to visit Okinawa for the first time in your life, you may be thinking about how to organize your trip properly and how to get the most out of it. I will show how to do that by sharing a 6-day itinerary with you here in this post.

Like many others, I would say that a car is needed to get around the island to explore its famous sightseeing attractions. But to follow this itinerary, you don’t need to pick up a rental car. So there is no point of searching for rental cars in Okinawa.

Day 1 – Night 1: Airport to Naha City

Aircraft at Naha Airport, Okinawa. Photo Credit: Hideyuki KAMON at Flickr.

Welcome to Okinawa!

I would highly suggest you to check out some flights that land at Naha Airport in the morning. It ensures that you will have enough time to have some fun walking around Naha city, especially along the Kokusaidori (Kokusai Street). And don’t you forget that Naha is an obvious staring point of your Okinawa trip.

How to get to Naha city from Naha Airport? The easiest way to get there is by monorail. This is how you will avoid the traffic. Get to Naha Airport Station and then purchase a one-way monorail (yui rail) ticket at ticket vending machines. Check out the fare chart here.

Kokusaidori (Kokusai street) in downtown Naha. Photo Credit: Richard at Flickr.

One way ride from Naha Airport Station to Prefectural Office Station (Kencho-mae station) costs 300 yen. Please note you will have to get off at Prefectural Office Station. From there, take a little walk to your hotel.

Check in at Hotel Abest Naha Kokusaidori.

Packed with many shops, bars and restaurants, Kokusaidori (International Street) is a perfect place to spend your evening. The stores located along the street on the both sides sell beautiful souvenirs either imported and locally produced handicrafts. Find a perfect restaurant there to eat some delicious Okinawa soba.

Let’s call it a day!

Day 2 – Night 2: Naha City

The main hall of Shuri Castle, Naha. Photo Credit: 663highland at Flickr.

Today you will explore the interesting attractions of the city of Naha! Buy a 1-day monorail ticket which is valid for 24 hours after it’s purchased. It saves you some money and lets you enjoy unlimited use of monorail within the given period of time.

Start your day with a visit to Naha City Historical Museum. It’s a few minutes’ walk from Kencho-mae station (Prefectural Office Station). In search of the history of the Ryukyu Kingdom and Naha city, fine arts and crafts, including national treasures, you must explore the museum.

You can rent a pocket wifi here to locate the places easily on Google Maps. I would highly recommend any travelers to use Pupuru pocket wifi. It’s very handy and helpful accessory whenever you travel throughout Japan.

After spending few hours at the museum, you get to Kencho-mae station, and then transfer to Makishi Station. Once you get off at Makishi station, you directly head over to Makishi Public Market. This is where you will find a lot of seafood and local produce.

Next you go to The Tsuboya Pottery Museum. It’s a short walk from the market. After that you take a walk along the Tsuboya Pottery Street. It’s a stone-paved road lined with a number of stores to buy different kinds of wares.

Tamaudun mausoleums of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Photo Credit: 663highland at Wikimedia Commons.

Yogi Park is not an ideal destination to see cherry blossom in early February. Every year, sakura bloom there in late February. So, there is no need to visit the park. The Naha Cherry Blossom Festival is held here in this park in late February (around the third week of February). With this in mind, you should not miss visiting the park when you come to Okinawa in between mid February and late February. You will certainly be overwhelmed then.

Feeling awfully hungry? You will find some restaurants nearby Asato Station. Just search on Google Maps, they will pop-up instantly. After lunchtime, you head to Shuri Castle. To reach there, you will have to get on a monorail from Asato Station to Shuri Station. Explore the castle and if you have time then visit the Tamaudun Mausoleum.

One of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Shuri Castle is considered the most popular attraction and it can steal your heart with its amazing display of interior designs and stylish structures of the Seiden (main hall), South and North Hall, Shureimon Gate, and Una Plaza. The whole castle ground is kind of a place of wonder as everything you will encounter there will amuse you very much.

Day 3 – Night 3: A day trip by Bus

A giant whale and other marine animals in the tank of Churaumi Aquarium! Photo Credit: bryan at Flickr.

For day three, interesting places to visit on Okinawa are Ocean Expo Park, Warumi Bridge, Okashigoten Onna, Cape Manza, Nago Pineapple Park, and Kouri Island. These are located outside Naha city, and they can be reached by bus.

JUMBO TOURS CO. LTD., a local tour operator offers six 1-day bus tours for tourists and locals alike. Out of the six courses available, I would like you to enjoy this bus tour, check it out here.

A view of Kouri_Bridge. Photo Credit: Takuya ASADA at Flickr.

Seemingly this 1-day bus tour is the best way to explore those well known attractions. You no longer need to wait for local buses to get to those places. Just hop on the bus that JUMBO Tours provides and enjoy every ride you experience and of course the beautiful ocean views from bus. This tour costs 6,000 yen, which I think is affordable. On the other hand, the cost of the tour also includes the admission fee to Churaumi Aquarium. It means you won’t have to buy one!

No Okinawa trip is complete without a visit to Ocean Expo Park. The main attraction of the park is the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (Kuroshio tank). Not only is it the largest aquarium in Japan, it’s also one of the best must-see aquariums in the world, where giant sharks, whales, Manta rays and a wide variety of species swim in the massive tank.

Day 4 – Night 4: Sightseeing in Nago, Motobu, and Nakijin

Pink sakura at Mt. Yaedake. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Mount Yaedake, Nago Central Park, Nakijin Castle Park are the main attractions to visit for the day. These are all located outside Naha City. These three interesting areas are the perfect places to see stunning cherry blossom. I bet, if you visit one of these or even all in the first week of February, you will surely spot spectacular scenery of pink cherry blossom.

There are endless options of places to enjoy incredible ocean views on Okinawa Island. One of the best places to see ocean view there is definitely the Busena Marine Park. You can pay a visit to this attraction before returning to Naha. So, along with visiting those three popular hanami spots on Okinawa for the day, you must get to Busena Marine Park and enjoy your time there as it’s considered Okinawa’s only one under-water observatory.

Busena Marine Park and beach, Okinawa. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

If you don’t want to worry about transportation, parking or navigating yourself while driving then just hire a sightseeing car with an English speaking driver. This is also a great idea to save your time and make your day trip comfortable, especially when you travel with a group of people. This travel tip is not suitable for solo travelers, instead they can use buses. If you are a solo traveler, please check out the list of bus routes.

Feel free to hire a care here. Just make sure you inform them the time of pick up and the route (the places you want to visit). Good luck to you!

Alternatively, if hiring a sightseeing car is expensive for you then think of exploring the places by highway and local buses.

Day 5 – Night 5: Enjoy Whale Watching and Know the History of the Battle of Okinawa

A whale! Photo Credit: Cerulean-Blue Okinawa.

Today you’ll make your a day great adventure by watching gigantic whales from a boat. It can be done by a unique whale watching tour provided by Cerulean-Blue Okinawa. There are two courses, one is in the morning and the other one is in the afternoon. It’s possible for you to reserve a booking online for the tour. I highly recommend you to go for the morning course as you will have free time to roam around somewhere on the island later in the day.

Book your whale watching tour here.

Whale watching is always a fun outdoor activity for me. I absolutely enjoy it and when you are in Naha, you can’t leave it alone. So if you want to experience something unique on this Okinawa trip, then you should take part in it. For you and your family, it will be the experience of a lifetime! And I think, there is no pain spending three hours or more for this whale watching adventure.

Okinawa Peace Memorial Park. Photo Credit: 663highland at Wikimedia Commons.

If you don’t see any whales, you will get 100% refund. Surprised?! That’s a promise made by Cerulean Blue Okinawa. You are not going to waste your money!

What to do after lunchtime? This is a great question indeed. I would like you to visit one place called the Peace Memorial Park. In the park, you will find a museum, which gives you overview of the Battle of Okinawa that took place during the World War 2.

In the evening, wander along Kokusaidori Street for shopping and have dinner at one of restaurants there.

Day 6 – Departure

ANA aircraft at Naha Airport, Okinawa. Photo Credit: tataquax at Flickr.

It’s time to say Goodbye to Okinawa!

Pack your all belongings in your luggage and then check out. After that, you head over to Naha Airport by Monorail.

Okinawa is a paradise for beach lovers. When you visit Okinawa in early February, make sure you put a jacket on to protect yourself from cold weather. Please note often breezes are strong enough to make you feel cold. And you can’t swim in the ocean during winter. If you insist to swim, that will be a bad idea.

However, the places that this suggested itinerary features are perfect for making your trip unforgettable.