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6 things to look out for in Okinawa in 2022

Japan’s southernmost prefecture, Okinawa, comprises 160 subtropical islands boasting a year-round warm climate comparable to Hawaii, Miami and Cancun. Just 3 hours by air from Tokyo and blessed with incredible natural beauty, from lush forests to crystal blue waters with abundant coral and golden sands, Okinawa is perfect for beach lovers and sport enthusiasts alike whilst still appealing to culture seekers thanks to its unique history and heritage. Here’s what’s new for 2022 in this Japanese prefecture: New openings Shinminka Villa Iriomote opens Opened in November 2021, SHINMINKA Villa is one of the newest holiday properties in Iriomote Island, which has recently been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List for its ‘outstanding universal value’. The new Ryukyu-style private villa is designed with a 360-degree glass wall, offering stunning views of the surrounding area. With a fully equipped kitchen, the villa can accommodate up to four people with four futon sets available. A hammock and yoga mats are also available to guests. Okinawa Prince Hotel Ocean View Ginowan Overlooking one of Okiwana’s largest yacht harbours, Ginowan Marina, Okinawa Prince Hotel Ocean View Ginowan is set to open in April 2022. With a splendid location, within walking distance from the beachfront Ginowan Seaside Park and Tropical Beach (a lively spot for marine sports), the new hotel is perfect for both leisure and business travellers looking to make the most of Okinawa’s warm tropical weather. All 340 guest rooms will boast a terrace with ocean views, meaning that golden hour is set to be extra special for those staying at the property. Additionally, the hotel will also boast two infinity pools on the second and fourteenth floors, ideal for those looking to relax while taking in uninterrupted sea and sky vistas. Other facilities and services will include an indoor bade pool, sauna, hot stone spa, fitness gym, spa and a large communal bath. With capital Naha 20 minutes by car and the exotic resort town Mihama American Village ten minutes away, Okinawa Prince Hotel Ocean View Ginowan will also be a great base for shopping and sightseeing. Further information is available here. Ryukyu Hotel & Resort Nashiro Beach Located in the southern tip of the Okinawa Island, 20 minutes from Naha airport, is the fisherman city of Itoman, set to welcome the opening of Ryukyu Hotel & Resort Nashiro Beach in 2022. The new luxury resort will be located on a 50,000 square metre plot facing a dreamy sandy beach and emerald-green seas. With two 11-storey towers and 443 guest rooms all with ocean views and Ryukyu-inspired interiors and artwork, the resort will offer a wide range of facilities and services such as nine restaurants and bars, six swimming pools, including a flowing water pool and a kids’ pool, a chapel, a gym and a beauty treatment salon. The resort will be a great option especially for MICE travellers looking to combine business and incentives, with three banquet halls boasting the latest technology, foyer and garden – the ideal setting for events accommodating up to 2,000 people. Upcoming events Okinawa to celebrate 50 years of reinversion to Japan Okinawa is set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of reinversion to Japan in 2022. A ceremony is set to take place on May 15th 2022 with commemorative events, performances and exhibitions of Okinawan arts and artefacts also due to happen. The list of events is to be confirmed; look out for more details in our subsequent newsletters. 7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival The 7th edition of the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival, held roughly every five years, is scheduled to take place from October 30th to November 3rd 2022. The festival is one of Okinawa’s largest events and aims to honour the achievements of Okinawan people from all over the world, deepen understanding of Okinawa’s unique history and culture and bring people together to reaffirm their roots and identity to pass on to the next generation. In addition, a variety of cultural events will be held in parallel with this unique five-day event that will strengthen the bonds between participants from all over the world. Okinawa’s whale watching season from January to March From January to March, the oceans around Okinawa are home to an array of stunning wildlife including humpback whales which can be spotted off the coast of Zamami Island. Tourist boats run daily from Okinawa and Kerama Island, offering visitors the truly unforgettable experience of glimpsing these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Whale watching tour operators include the Zamami Whale Watching Association, Cerulean Blue Okinawa, Joy Create Okinawa Tea-Da and Marine House SEASIR.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. I would think that the Uchinanchu Festival is a great way of getting a handle on the Okinawa region and people. Pity that it only happens very 5 years.

  2. As Okinawa’s got all of those sub-tropical islands I’m surprised that it’s not a better known getaway.

  3. Okinawa is clearly going places. I’d have to do a fair bit of research to see which resort will be best for us. Thanks for the steer so far.

  4. These things could be a clincher for some of us. I’ve always felt that I ought to visit Japan, the trouble is that it’s such a long way and such a different culture. Now that Okinawa is opening up a bit of luxury in the warm makes it a lot more tempting.

  5. I’ve heard a lot about Okinawa lately, it seems that their tourist organisation are keen to increase visitors. From what I’ve read so far I think they’re onto a winner. For me whale-watching would be the ace in the pack.

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