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Sea, shore, seascape, Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa and the Southern Islands

For travellers wishing to relax at the end of their holiday to Japan, Okinawa and the Southern Islands are a group of subtropical islands offering a temperate year-round climate, white sandy beaches, rural solitude and some magnificent coral reefs. At certain times of the year, off the coast of islands such as Ishigaki-Jima, it is possible to swim with manta rays.

Aerial view of Kerama Island, Okinawa, Japan
Aerial view of Okinawa Islands

More about Okinawa

Okinawa is located 1,200 kilometres from the mainland and has an island culture distinct from the rest of Japan with a unique language and cuisine. The warm, clear waters surrounding the islands are a haven for marine life and as such the snorkelling and diving is excellent.


What do you really love doing? We can curate your itinerary especially for you. Below are a few suggested experiences for a holiday to Okinawa and the Southern Islands.

Okinawa traditional dance

Eisa Drum Dances

Witness the vibrant Eisa drum dances on the Okinawa islands between July and September; colourful celebrations with dancing, drumming, singing and clowns.

Okinawa whale watching

Whale Watching

See Humpback Whales around the Okinawa Islands between December and April.

Karate Lesson, Japan

Learn Karate

Take a karate lesson in Okinawa, the birthplace of karate.

Green turtle on a coral reef, Kerama islands, Okinawa, Japan

Diving Experience

Dive with turtle, manta ray and hammerhead sharks around some of the many island archipelagos.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Okinawa Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom in Okinawa

Be the first to see the cherry blossom when the trees in Okinawa bloom as early as mid-January due to the mild climate.

Aharen Beach, Tokashiki Island, Okinawa, Japan

Island Hopping

Discover some of the 160 islands off southern Japan.

Naha okinawa city skyline at night

Tug of War Festival

Travel to Okinawa in October and see the worlds largest tug of war festival; listed in the Guinness Book of Records the team of people can often reach over 15,000.

Naha okinawa city skyline at night

Where to stay in Okinawa and the Southern Islands

The main town of Naha where the airport is located is very busy but travelling north more beaches appear with fine white sand and clear blue seas. Accommodation isn’t too plentiful, however, standards are getting better all the time. There are a couple of very nice, 5-star hotels with good beaches and a few smaller hotels located in the hills with fine views of the sea. There are smaller more charming hotels located on some of the other islands.

Speak to our experts for more details

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.

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  • 01285 880 980

Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

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Exceptional organisation. Absolutely nothing was left to chance and help was always a quick email away. I have no areas of complaint at all. I thought it was superb throughout.


Ours was rather a last minute holiday for 5 adults wanting slightly different experiences and needing to fit in two Rugby World Cup matches. Steppes absolutely nailed it in terms of helping us put the itinerary together and dealing with last minute changes of plan.


From our very first call to Steppes and speaking to Clare, everything went like clockwork. Clare arranged a fantastic itinerary for our trip to Japan and we were extremely impressed with every aspect of our holiday.


Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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