Recently I travelled to Okinawa, a string of tiny islands off the coast of Japan with a friend, and had the most amazing time. I guess it was made all the better because I really didn’t know what to expect. There is pretty much zero info available on this part of the world (in english anyway) and everyone I asked in Hong Kong descibed it as… ‘random’. After being there I know what they mean, but for me it was random in a good way as opposed to being random in a bad way. First things first, the culture pretty much defies definition – Japanese but with a more relaxed vibe than bigger cities like Tokyo and with a hint of Hawaiian culture owing to the fact that many Okinawans moved out to the US in the early 1900s to work as labourers and brought the culture back post WW11. Every also feel very 70’s in terms of decor, it’s like time stood still. And those beaches! Worth going for those alone.
My friends over at Seek the Uniq sent me a few pretty pieces to wear on my trip, I recommend you checking them out if you’re looking for a few travel inspired items to freshen up your suitcase – currently loving this bucket bag, this simple beach dress, this one shoulder top and this retro swimsuit (doubles as a top!).
Rock formations at Aharen Bay on Tokishiki Island (wearing Seek the Uniq)
Quick Guide to Okinawa
We went at the busiest time of year, so found accom both expensive and hard to get hold of. Avoid August if you can! We wanted to stay on the island of Tokashiki (a ferry ride from main city of Naha) but couldn’t find any accommodation, so for the first night we bunked down at the Mercure in Naha and then took a day trip the next day. We then headed up the island and managed to stay at Moon Beach, which was pricey at that time of the year but lovely.
Eat & Drink
We became addicted to the food in Okinawa, particularly the tofu and also taco rice while we were there, this weird mix of chilli con carne on sushi rice which is a bit of a staple around Oki. These are a few of the places we liked:
We loved our trip to Udonyama, best udon I’ve had since Kyoto and in the cutest house.
Borrachos for the best Taco Rice in Naha. It’s Mexican so great for an evening mojito.
Café Doka Doka in Onna is a cute cafe with a lovely view and little gallery/pottery shop.
Pizza in the Sky is similar to Cafe Doka Doka with yummy pizzas and a great view of the sunset.
We had a traditional meal at
Paanilani Hawaiian Pancake House is so cute and serves the most amazing pancakes (that’s all it serves). We loved the recommend the ‘nut’ pancakes which are actually coconut.
Ball Donut Park is the cutest place for a sweet treat in Naha.
C&C in Naha is great if you’re lovers of breakfast like we are.
We also visited a number of small bars on Paradise-dori in Naha, most not much bigger than a front lounge room where we met some lovely locals. The owner pulled out her Sanshin (like a guitar) and we all sang along (we didn’t know the words!). They forced us to drink so much sake and we ate all these yummy Okinawan pancakes and tofu. Delish!
See & Do
Okinawa is absolutely huge and there’s so much to do, these are a few of the things we liked while we were there:
A day trip to the Kerama Islands by ferry from Naha is a MUST DO. We chose Tokishiki because I’d read about gorgeous Aharen Beach. Book a public fast ferry in advance (you’ll have to call them up) and then on the island get a bus to the beach. In true Japanese style it’s all so efficient! You can rent umbrellas, chairs and eat taco rice, sashimi, snow cones, have a cocktail, go exploring.
Highway 58 between Naha and Chantan has the most amazing array of vintage stores – furniture, brick a black and all sorts of amazing retro pieces. I would go back for these alone.
A visit to Ikei Beach is the perfect day.
The Pineapple Park looks so twee if that’s your jam.
We loved our quick trip to Cape Manzamo (the elephant rock).
We popped into the Yomitan Pottery Village and could have bought everything!
We popped into the aquarium which we liked. You only need about 30 mins there.
Good to Know
If you’re staying on the main Okinawa Island you need o get a car, there’s zero way to get around otherwise.
Make sure you have the internet on your phone or GPS as the signs are so hard to work out.
The only street signs that matter…
Seek the Uniq bag (so appropriate for Okinawa!), DIY Shorts, Karen Walker Sunglasses, Sportsgirl hat
Aharen Bay didn’t disappoint.
Soaking up the rays in this pretty mixed print playsuit.
How good is travelling with your bestie?
The view from the plane was gorgeous!
Hotel Moon Beach
Snow cones and beach, is there anything better?
Fitting in with the decor and making friends in Tokashiki (wearing this).
We found this little secluded cove (and yeah, insta-gasamed)
Love an off the shoulder number on holidays!
Lunch at Pizza in the Sky (ca-uuutttteee)
Yomitan Pottery Village had me heart eyes.
Pulling up a lounger on Aharen Beach.
It’s not a holiday without two ridiculously decorated drinks.
Japanese treats as far as the eye can see.