The cultural center of Okinawa, featuring an outer port of Shuri and the capital of Ryukyu Kingdom.
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. Kokusai Street is surely the most crowded place in Naha. This approximately 1.6-kilometer-long street is lined with department stores, restaurants, coffee shops, general shops, clothing shops, travel agencies, banks, and of course souvenir shops which account for about 40% of the businesses and facilities on the high traffic street. The Makishi Public Market is located on Main Market Street, running south from a halfway point on Kokusai Street. The market, known as the "kitchen of Naha," is always full of energy and excitement with old women called "Obaa" working actively amongst the brisk talking venders.
Naha once prospered as the outer port of Shuri, which flourished as the capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom. In those days, Naha had much trade with China and Southeast Asia. Among the major remains of the Ryukyu Kingdom are Shuri Castle, the ruins of the Castle of the Ryukyu Kingdom, Shikina-en, which was a second residence and garden of the Royal Family built in order to entertain 'sakuhoshi' (ambassadors from China), the ruins of Enkaku-ji Temple, the head temple of the Okinawa Rinzai sect, and Tama-udon, the Royal Mausoleum.
Placed in a cave built directly into natural rock, these tombs are of a grand scale and in a style unique to Okinawa. Shurei-mon, the grand gate, is also a sight to behold. It is depicted on the face of the 2,000-yen bank note. Tsuboya, a pottery village with a history dating back more than 300 years, is always crowded with pottery enthusiasts. Fukushu-en, an authentic Chinese garden, was designed to reflect the vast nature and places of scenic beauty in China, such as Fuzhen, and is a symbol of the exchanges between Okinawa and Fuzhen during the era of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
The New Center is a new area for business and shopping in Naha. Many local families go there to 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. Other attractions include the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum where the nature, culture and art of Okinawa can truly be appreciated.
From Tokyo :
[Air] 2h 35 min from Haneda to Naha Airport.
From Osaka :
[Air] 2h from Kansai International Airport to Naha Airport.
From Nagoya :
[Air] 2h 15 min from Chubu International Airport to Naha Airport.
From Kyushu :
[Air] 1h 35 min from Fukuoka Airport to Naha Airport.
A monorail runs from Naha Airport to Shuri via Naha city (12.9 km/27 min).