Tropical Naha is the capital and main city on Okinawa, an exotic Japanese island that's closer to Taiwan than it is Tokyo. With its distinctive energy, Naha is a fitting tribute to the corals and coasts of the islands, making it an endearing destination and an idyllic base for travel in Okinawa.
Naha is a modern city, rapidly expanding skywards with glass-fronted buildings that overlook the coast. Influences come from far and wide and the ambience feels very different from the rest of Japan. Exotic beaches bring most visitors to Okinawa and Naminoue is Naha's broad strip of sand, uniquely backdropped by skyscrapers. Travelling out to other island beaches make a popular day trip, as does scuba diving around the nearby Kerama Islands. In recent years, Naha has become a major kiteboarding and big-game fishing destination.The city streets are a hotchpotch of styles, reflected in the huge diversity of shops and restaurants. There's something from just about everywhere, notably on International Boulevard, the major street through the heart of the city. Just beyond the urban boundary is Shuri-jo, a carefully restored castle that evokes a rich sense of Okinawa's regal past. Okinawa Peace Park and Naha Shikinaen Garden are other major tourist attractions.
Naha Airport is the main hub for Okinawa, bringing visitors from domestic and international destinations. It's connected to Naha's city centre by a monorail, which also travels out to Shuri-jo Castle. The monorail is the easiest way to get to these three different parts of the city, which are compact enough to be explored on foot.
Naha's rich history was at its most flamboyant during the time of the Sho family of the Ryukyu kings. Many relics from this time are on show at the Naha City Museum of History.