Plan A Post-Pandemic Retreat In Northern Okinawa

A Well Deserved Getaway with Luscious Sea Views

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.

As we dream about our post-pandemic travels, personal health and safety remains a top priority. No matter what time of year travel does resume, Okinawa’s subtropical climate makes it an ideal place to take a peaceful and low-risk vacation.

Take an undisturbed ‘workation’ in a private villa

For a safe and productive working retreat, Okinawa has a wide range of private accommodations in secluded locations where you can set up an office 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.

Shinminka Villa has fully furnished lodgings based on traditional Okinawa folk houses.

Shinminka Villa has fully furnished lodgings based on traditional Okinawa folk houses.

Each villa is fully furnished with a deluxe kitchen and an outdoor barbecue, so you can shop for fresh produce at local food markets and cook to your heart’s content. Enjoy sharing the slow life with the local village community.

The newly built wooden buildings are modeled after traditional Okinawan minka (folk houses). These have been redesigned with contemporary architecture — the outer walls are completely transparent to give you a 360° view of your immediate surroundings, and by extension, an intimate connection with the natural environment.

Explore deep Ryukyu culture in 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 a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, representing 500 years of Ryukyuan culture and history.

Nakijin Castle site.

Nakijin Castle site.

The sprawling fortress of Nakijin Castle 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 the sweeping views of the surrounding forest and the sea beyond.

Hike through the 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 banyans, evergreen Itajii trees and the famous towering Okinawa Urajirogashi tree on Mount Ibudake.

The Yanbaru region has primeval forests and rare endemic wildlife.

The Yanbaru region has primeval forests and rare endemic wildlife.

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 Otaki Falls.

Discover the romance of Kouri Island

If limiting interaction with others while slow traveling remains a concern, consider renting a bicycle in Nago and going for a refreshing ride along the coast. Kouri Island is a charming  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.

Kouri Island is a charming destination for lovers.

Kouri Island is a charming destination for lovers.

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 waters. On the other side, enjoy touring the coastline with more luscious sea views around Kouri Island’s 8-kilometer circumference.

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.

Want to lend a hand? Here’s how…

For help planning your trip to Okinawa, here are some travel agencies to consult.

Note: Before traveling, please always check the latest government advice about your destination.

Okinawa Convention & Vistors Bureau logo

This is a condensed article based on information published on the official Visit Okinawa travel guide.

The Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau is running two campaigns for a chance to win round-trip tickets from Tokyo to Okinawa — feel free to apply for both!
  1. If you are a foreign resident in Japan who has been to Okinawa in the past, you can post your memories on your social media and have a chance to win 2 pairs of round-trip tickets from Tokyo to Okinawa or other great prizes!
    Learn more…
  2. We are now conducting a questionnaire about Okinawa for foreign residents in Japan. If you answer the questionnaire, you will be entered in a drawing to win 2 pairs of round-trip air tickets from Tokyo to Okinawa and other prizes.
    Learn more…