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Southern Okinawa南部沖縄

Okinawa沖縄県

Numerous sacred places and castle ruins. A limestone cave that boasts the most beautiful scenery in Asia.

The southern part of Okinawa Main Island is a hilly area with no mountains, and its major industry is agriculture, particularly the growing of sugarcane, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants. In addition, the area is a part of the course for the Naha Marathon race held every December.
The area is famous as the origin of a myth about the beginning of the Ryukyu Kingdom, and for the abundance of historical settlements including Chinen in Nanjo with its Seifa Utaki (Okinawan religion facility), the most sacred place in the Ryukyu Kingdom. It played an important role as a national site of worship, representing its unique religious style. Other points of interest include Tamagusuku in Nanjo where a number of cultural assets can be found, such as castle remains called "Gusuku," shell mounds and stone pavements, Utaki (a place enshrining the gods) and Hija (wells).

Furthermore, this area was the site of a hard-fought battle at the end of the WWII where a number of Japanese soldiers, residents and student soldiers lost their lives. The area on and around Mabuni Hills in Itoman is designated as Okinawa War Memorial Quasi-National Park, with an aim of consoling the souls of the over 200, 000 people who lost their lives in the battle. Monuments for the dead of each prefecture and troop have been built there. In Peace Memorial Park there are the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum which exhibits the information on the battle of Okinawa, and the Cornerstone of Peace on which the names of those who lost their lives in battle, regardless of nationality, are carved.

Itoman at the southernmost end of Okinawa Main Island is well known for the Itoman Hari, a dragon boat race held in early summer. In the city, there is an industrial art village for Ryukyu glass and lacquerware, where you can experience the processes by which they are made.

At Okinawa World in Tamagusuku of Nanjo, the largest theme park in the prefecture, you can experience Okinawa's history, culture and nature, such as Shonyu-do and Gyokusen-do caves. At the Okinawa Outlet Mall Ashibinaa near the airport in Tomigusuku, you can go shopping and choose from over 70 popular brands at prices reduced by from 30 to 80 percent.

Directions

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 35min from Fukuoka to Naha Airport.
11 min from Naha Airport to Asahi-bashi (next to Naha Bus Terminal) by monorail. 30 min by bus from Naha Bus Terminal to Itoman Bus Terminal. 40 min to Tamagusuku of Nanjo City.

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