Japan has held a special place in my heart for a long time. Not only was it the first country in Asia I ever travelled to, it is also the place where I got engaged. Ever since I first stepped foot in Japan, I knew that it was be a destination I would want to keep returning to again and again. There is just so much to discover! With so many varied regions waiting to be explored, I know I’ve only just scratched the surface. Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost prefecture, is one such region that has been on my travel wish list for a while now – it’s that achingly beautiful.

Okinawa: Japan but not as you know it

If you’re not quite sure where Okinawa is, you’re not alone. It’s the most isolated region in Japan and is made up of a string of 160 islands, stretching over 1,000 km from Kyushu towards Taiwan. Home to tropical jungles, unspoilt beaches and epic dive sites, Okinawa is a nature-lover’s paradise. Its geography is much more reminiscent of Hawaii or somewhere in Southeast Asia than Japan.

Adding to its allure, many describe this prefecture as being particularly ‘un-Japanese’, which is understandable given its long and independent history. Because of its location, the islands were an important trading hub between Japan and the rest of East and Southeast Asia. This gave rise to a unique culture, distinct from anywhere else in Japan. And while it’s a popular getaway destination for Japanese holiday-makers, Okinawa is still yet to be discovered by a lot of international travellers. As a region this beautiful, it won’t be a secret for long!

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Disclosure: this post is in collaboration with Be.Okinawa. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tell me, is Okinawa on your bucket list?