Most of us are familiar with Japanese cities like Tokyo and Osaka since they have tons of quality restaurants, historical sites, and amusement parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan! But if you’d like to experience Japan in a whole new way, consider making a trip over to Okinawa instead, which is a prefecture home to plenty of tropical weather and nature spots.
There are also tons of things to do with kids so they won’t ever be bored! From snorkeling to family-friendly museums and restaurants, your itinerary will be stacked with plans. Read on for a guide on exploring Okinawa with kids in tow – tons of fun awaits!
Want more? Check out our Ultimate Guide To Japan With Kids!
Since Okinawa is filled with nature sites, you’ll be outdoors most of the time on your visit, which means it’s important to plan the season of your visit. It’s recommended to visit Okinawa during the Spring months of March to May, or the Autumn months of September to December.
Besides avoiding the extremely hot and wet seasons of Summer and Winter, make sure to also plan your vacation away from July and August, which could risk the occurrence of typhoons. If you enjoy cooling weather, December to March brings just that with a bit of warmth, alongside seasonal food like grapes and sweet potato.
For more information on when to visit Okinawa, visit visitokinawajapan.com/plan-your-trip/when-to-visit-climate-seasons
Okinawa is a tropical location that promises the sun, sand, and sea. July and August can get busy due to the school holidays, but other months are pretty quiet and serene so you can relax.
You’ll never run out of options for where to spend a relaxing day together with this list of the best beaches in Okinawa. Pack the sunscreen and beach towels, we’re headed for paradise!
Sunset Beach: Popular with locals and tourists alike, Sunset Beach is famous for well, its sunsets. Swing by during evenings for romantic strolls along the 250-meter stretch with your family. There are also barbeque facilities, a shopping mall, and a Ferris wheel to tide by hours here.
Sunset Beach, Okinawa, Nakagami, Chatanchoumihama 2, www.oki-islandguide.com/attractions/chatan-park-sunset-beach
Mibaru Beach: Located southwest of the main island of Okinawa, Mibaru Beach is a secluded hidden gem with stunning rock formations you can admire during your visit. While this beach is relatively quiet, it still has plenty of activity options like a glass boat tour and snorkeling to get up close to the coral reef.
Mibaru Beach, Hyakuna-1599-6 Tamagusuku, Nanjo, Okinawa 901-0603, Japan, www.oki-islandguide.com/attractions/mibaru-beach
Manza Beach: Active kids and adults will fall in love with Manza beach! The 300-meter-long beach is free for all to access and has tons of activities you can make a splash with, such as kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, snorkeling and banana boating. Keep your eyes peeled for the popular spot Cape Manzamo from the shore as well!
Manza Beach, Kunigami, Onna-son, Serakaki 2260, www.oki-islandguide.com/attractions/manza-beach-ana-intercontinental-manza-beach-resort
Furuzamami Beach: For a taste of Okinawa wildlife, make a trip to the Kerama islands. You’ll be able to spot sea creatures like sea snacks, anemones, and clownfish, although parts of the coral reef area have been closed off. Take a dip in the clear waters, before considering making your way to Ama Beach which is just a stone’s throw away.
Furuzamami Beach, 1743 Zamami, Shimajiri District, Okinawa 901-3402, Japan, www.okinawatraveler.net/en/shop/206
Kouri Beach: For unblocked views of the sky and sea, Kouri Beach at Kouri Island is your best bet. It is connected by the 2 km-long Kouri Bridge so you can enjoy a leisurely stroll on the way there. What’s special about this beach is also the rock formation that forms 2 heart shapes.
Kouri Beach, 904-0406 Okinawa Nakijin Village Kouri, visitokinawajapan.com/destinations/okinawa-main-island/northern-okinawa-main-island/kouri-island/
Sunayama Beach: The journey to Sunayama Beach is magical in itself since you will need to go through sandy paths and greenery to reach the destination. Once you arrive, be greeted by crystal clear waters and fine sandy beaches where you can dive in and snorkel or swim. Take note that there aren’t many shelters or restaurants in the area.
Sunayama Beach, 906-0008 Okinawa Miyakojima City Hirara Nikawadori, www.oki-islandguide.com/attractions/sunayama-beach
Zanpa Beach: One of the most kid-friendly beaches in Okinawa is Zanpa Beach, due to how the coastline is sloped so both low and high tides will still be safe for playtime. Although snorkeling isn’t allowed at this beach, you can still swim, kayak and rent water scooters. At the end of the beach lies a lighthouse too.
Zanpa Beach, Okinawa, Nakagami, Yomitanson, Uza 1933, okinawatravelinfo.com/beach/zanpabeach
Onna Village Beach: Why go for one beach when you can have multiple? Onna Village is home to Moon Beach which has a long but narrow stretch of soft sand, as well as coral-filled Tiger Beach and Diamond Beach. Your views only get better with Manzamo, a cliff facing the sea!
Onna Village, Maeganeku, Onna-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa, www.oki-islandguide.com/areaguide/onna-village-2
One thing you can bet about Japan is that you’ll never get bored. Bustling with activities for both adults and kids, your schedule will be jam-packed with everything from aquarium visits to making your own ice cream. Check out some of the top family-friendly activities and attractions in Okinawa!
Urasoe Park: For a nature-filled activity that will also excite the little ones, head to Urasoe Park. You’ll find one of the longest slides in Okinawa at the playground, which has rollers so you can slide down easily. Surrounding the spot are plots of greenery and hills, you can also have a hike or picnic!
Urasoe Park, 115-1 Iso, Urasoe, Okinawa 901-2132, Japan, www.okinawatraveler.net/en/shop/478
Aeon Mall Okinawa Rycom: What’s a holiday without some shopping? For the best deals and plenty of shopping options, Aeon Mall Okinawa Rycom is a popular mall among both locals and tourists. Not only do they have many famous international brands like H&M and The Body Shop, but they also have local stores selling handmade products that would be perfect as souvenirs to take home.
Aeon Mall Okinawa Rycom, Raikamu, Kitanakagusuku, Nakagami District, Okinawa 901-2306, Japan, en.aeonmall.global/mall/okinawarycom-aeonmall
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium: Fish are friends, not food! Get acquainted with some new fishes at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world. There, both adults and kids can learn about marine life and spot rare species of sea creatures. After you’re done exploring the exhibits, head outside to jump on the outdoor playground trampolines!
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, 424 Ishikawa, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-0206, Japan, churaumi.okinawa/en
Blue Seal Ice Park: Blue Seal is a popular ice cream brand that you’ll undoubtedly spot all over Okinawa, and you can create your very own ice cream at their Blue Seal Ice Park! From the design to the flavor and topping, you and the little ones can have plenty of laughs while making your creation which you can take home after.
Blue Seal Ice Park, 5 Chome-5-6 Makiminato, Urasoe, Okinawa 901-2131, Japan, www.blueseal.co.jp/icepark
Shurijo Castle: No visit is complete with some cultural and history lessons. Whiz down to Shurijo Castle, where parts of it were unfortunately burnt down before being reconstructed. Attempt the stamp treasure hunt activity together with the kids while wandering around the castle grounds and soaking in the rich heritage of the site.
Shurijo Castle, 1 Chome-2 Shurikinjocho, Naha, Okinawa 903-0815, Japan www.japan-guide.com/e/e7103
Nakijin Castle Ruins: One of the hidden gems of Okinawa is the Nakijin Castle Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its natural state. Entry fees apply for kids and adults, while little ones below 6 years old enter for free. Roam freely around the museum and the outdoor grounds and learn a little more about their daily village life.
Nakijin Castle Ruins, 5101 Imadomari, Nakijin, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-0428, Japan, www.japan-guide.com/e/e7110
Nago Pineapple Park: Japan is home to many quirky themed parks, and one such example is Nago Pineapple Park. As pineapples are an agricultural product of the island, the park pays homage to the fruit. Venture around the botanic gardens and pineapple fields in the pineapple-themed cart ride. Make sure to check out the dinosaur adventure area and gift shop on the way out too.
Nago Pineapple Park, 1195 Biimata, Nago, Okinawa 905-0005, Japan, www.nagopine.com/en
Motobu Genki Village: Animal lovers of all ages will absolutely enjoy Motobu Genki Village. From swimming with dolphins to pony rides and playing with sea turtles, the possibilities with nature are endless here. Those with a thirst for high adrenaline can also go water skiing or fishing. With so many things to do, your best bet you can spend a full day here.
Motobu Genki Village, 410 Hamamoto, 本部町 Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-0216, Japan, owf.jp/english/
Southeast Botanical Gardens: Tons of flora and fauna await at Southeast Botanical Gardens. There are over 1300 tropical plant varieties to admire, like the Alexander Palm, Dragon Blood Trees and Lotus. Kiddos will be marveled by the champaru petting zoo, bird shows, squirrel monkeys and goat island.
Southeast Botanical Gardens, 2146 Chibana, Okinawa, 904-2143, Japan, www.southeast-botanical.jp
Neo Park Okinawa: Unwind at the relaxing Neo Park Okinawa. Home to over 100 species of mammals, birds and fishes, the naturistic space is a gorgeous escape away from city life. It’s also where the largest flamingo population resides! The entire space is separated into 3 main zones – Central and South America, Africa and Oceania, so little ones can also form a better understanding of the origins of different animals.
Neo Park Okinawa, 4607-41 Nago, Okinawa 905-0012, Japan, www.oki-islandguide.com/attractions/neo-park-2
Being a quaint and unique part of Japan, Okinawa also has its fair share of specialties and delicacies you need to try during your visit. Treats like purple yam tart, Sata Andagi (a deep-fried dough snack) and Kakikori (shaved ice) are commonly found in many food stalls and restaurants. For the best gastronomical adventure, we’ve shortlisted some of the best family-friendly restaurants in Okinawa to visit.
Akamichi Ramen: Nothing warms you up like a comforting bowl of ramen. A family-friendly chain in Okinawa, Akamichi Ramen has various outlets where you can easily get your fix. Pick from a variety of flavor options, and the chef will also offer tips on how to properly enjoy each bowl. There is one location near Shuri Castle so you can drop by if you’re within the vicinity!
Akamichi Ramen, multiple locations, www.akamichi-ramen.com
Ocean’s Pizza: Pizzas are the perfect sharing food with the family. Elevate that experience with stunning views of the sea at Ocean’s Pizza, located within Gala Aoiumi theme park, in Yomitani Village. Those with big appetites can go for the buffet that has all-you-can-eat pizza, Okinawa-style taco rice, and a salad bar. Kids pay different prices according to their age group!
Ocean’s Pizza, Japan, 904-0323 Okinawa, Nakagami District, Yomitan, Takashiho, www.oceanspizza.com
Hamaya Soba: Okinawa Soba is a special dish that needs to be tasted to be believed, and Hamaya Soba serves up some of the most delicious ones. A must-try is their specialty Nankotsu Soki, a soba with spare ribs and soft cartilage. Kids will also love slurping up their yummy broth.
Hamaya Soba, 2-99 Miyagi, Chatan, Nakagami District, Okinawa 904-0113, Japan, www.oki-islandguide.com/food_and_drink/hamaya-soba
Sam’s By-The-Sea Awase: Dine with the gorgeous view of Nakagusuku bay by your side at Sam’s By-The-Sea Awase, a boat-themed restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating. Dig into Western fare like steaks, shrimp, crabs and lobsters, while adults can toast with booze for a fantastic meal together.
Sam’s By-The-Sea Awase, 1 Chome-41-15 Awase, Okinawa 904-2172, Japan, www.sams-okinawa.jp/by_the_sea/en_index
Jack’s Steak House: One of the longest-running restaurants in Okinawa since the end of World War II, Jack’s Steak House is well-known among both locals and tourists. Modeled after an American diner, the restaurant serves up delicious steaks at affordable prices and is located at the heart of the city, making it a convenient dining spot.
Jack’s Steak House, 1 Chome-7-3 Nishi, Naha, Okinawa 900-0036, Japan, tabelog.com/en/okinawa/A4701/A470101/47000054
Resorts, villas, hotels. With so many accommodation options in Okinawa for you and the family, what should you pick? Not to worry – here are some family-friendly hotels in Okinawa for your consideration, with kid-friendly amenities and facilities so you’ll never have to worry about anything.
Novotel Okinawa Naha: Featuring the only infinity pool in the Naha area, Novotel Okinawa Naha also has a kids pool so all ages can make a splash during downtime. On top of a kids club that will help look after the young ones, the hotel is also a top choice due to its proximity to heritage sites, and transportation hubs.
Novotel Okinawa Naha, 902-0062 Okinawa, Okinawa 40 Matsugawa Naha, novotelokinawanaha.com
Hotel Orion Motobu Resort And Spa: If you want to stay near the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, settle for Hotel Orion Motobu Resort And Spa, which is just a 7-minute stroll from the tourist attraction. Kids will get excited at the kid's pool, kids menu items at their restaurant, and complimentary stroller and crib rental services. Adults and older folks can also relax in the hot spring onsen in the hotel.
Hotel Orion Motobu Resort And Spa, 148-1, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-0207, Japan, www.okinawaresort-orion.com/english
ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort: Everything you could possibly look for in a hotel will be found at ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort. The indoor Kids Play Land ensures your little ones have fun-filled activities no matter rain or shine, and you can also rent strollers, pajamas, and crib bumpers if needed. Even the restaurant Aqua Belle is catered for kids with a playroom within.
ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort, 2260 Serakaki, Onna, Kunigami District, Okinawa 904-0493, Japan, www.anaintercontinental-manza.jp/en
Vessel Hotel Campana Okinawa: Rooms at Vessel Hotel Campana Okinawa have balconies facing the sea, so you’re treated to wonderful views of the ocean at sunrise and sunset. Kids below 18 years old can also stay at the hotel for free, and those aged below 12 years old dine for free! During summer months, chill at the kid's pool and jacuzzi on the top floor.
Vessel Hotel Campana Okinawa, 904-0115 Okinawa, Nakagami District, Chatan, Mihama,９−22, www.vesselhotelcampanaokinawa.com
Oriental Hotel Okinawa Resort & Spa: Traveling with kids requires space, and Oriental Hotel Okinawa Resort & Spa has spacious family rooms that fit up to 6 people. You can also choose your room theme between Western and Japanese styles. The highlight will definitely be the outdoor pool that boasts a long water slide 47.5 meters long. Time to make a splash!
Oriental Hotel Okinawa Resort & Spa, 1490-1 Kise, Nago, Okinawa 905-0026, Japan, www.oriental-hotels.com/en/hotellist/22