As we carefully plan our post-pandemic travels, personal health and safety remain among our top priorities. Okinawa’s subtropical climate makes it an ideal place at any time of year to take a peacefully insular “workation.” Stay focused and relax with family in a secluded villa, then enjoy socially distanced outdoor activities such as trekking through the forest, exploring ancient castle ruins, or cycling along quiet coastal roads in northern Okinawa.
Ideal villa for ‘workations’
For a safe and productive working retreat, Okinawa has a wide range of private accommodations in secluded locations where you can set up to work, while remaining close to nature. On the Motobu Peninsula, you can rent an entire villa with its own private garden surrounded by trees from Shinminka Villa. Each villa is fully furnished with a deluxe kitchen and even an outdoor barbecue, so you can shop for fresh produce at local food markets and enjoy the slow life within the village community. The newly built wooden buildings are modeled after traditional Okinawan minka houses, but redesigned with contemporary architecture — the outer walls are transparent to give you a 360-degree view of your immediate surroundings, and by extension, an intimate connection with the natural environment.
Castle ruins of Nakijin
The site of the late 13th century Nakijin Castle is one of the nine Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu, which are collectively designated as a World Cultural Heritage Site, representing 500 years of Ryukyuan culture and history. The sprawling fortress in the village of Nakijin is a prime example of Nozura-zumi, an ancient construction technique that piles rocks according to their natural shape in order to build strong walls. You can easily spend a half a day exploring the ruins, walking across the undulating walls as you admire sweeping views of the surrounding forest and sea beyond, while reflecting upon the deep history of Ryukyu culture.
Primeval forests of Yanbaru
Yanbaru is northern Okinawa’s mountainous region of primeval forests and rare endemic wildlife. Among its native subtropical flora are epiphytic ferns and orchids, living fossil cycads, giant banyan and evergreen Itajii trees, and the famous towering Okinawa Urajirogashi tree on Mount Ibudake. Endemic species of fauna include the iconic Yanbaru kuina (Okinawa rail), Noguchi gera (Okinawa woodpecker), Ryukyu yamagame (Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle). Hike up to cloud forests on Mount Yonahadake, admire spectacular views from limestone cliffs overlooking Shioya Bay, or follow a scenic trail leading to the 26-meter drop of Hiji Falls.
Romance on Kouri Island
If limiting interaction with others while traveling remains a concern, consider renting a bicycle in Nago and going for a refreshing ride along the coast. Kouri Island is a highly charismatic destination for lovers, featuring the timeless attraction of a coralline rock formation in the shape of a heart, which is also the setting of Okinawa’s own Adam and Eve legend. From Nago, turn off Route 58 onto Yagaji Island, then continue across to Kouri Bridge, savoring each scenic minute of its 1,960-meter span over clear turquoise water. On the other side, enjoy touring the coastline with more luscious sea views around Kouri Island’s 8-kilometer circumference.
Wherever and however you choose to travel through the islands, keep in mind that the less populated, more wild region of northern Okinawa offers a variety of secluded retreats and safe activities for both a socially distanced workspace and a splendid vacation. It is advisable to check with local governments about any travel restrictions that may be in place.
Sponsored by the Okinawa Prefectural Government and the Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau
We are running two campaigns to win round-trip plane tickets from Tokyo to Okinawa! Two pairs of tickets as well as other great prizes will be awarded in each campaign. Feel free to participate in both if you can.
Campaign #1: If you are a foreign resident of Japan who has been to Okinawa in the past, post your memories on SNS to enter the campaign.
Campaign #2: Foreign residents of Japan can also fill out our questionnaire on Okinawa to enter the campaign.
The agencies below are some of the experts on trips to Okinawa.
*Visitors are advised to check with local governments about any travel restrictions that may be in place.