Springtime in Okinawa provides plenty of temperate weather, perfect for getting outside and exploring. The northern side of Okinawa offers much to see and do, from outdoor parks to cute cafés and restaurants. Check out our list of favorite places to visit on the northside, including must-see tourist spots and off-the-beaten-path places to tell your friends about.
Every guide to northern Okinawa would be incomplete without the Churaumi Aquarium. Home to a dolphin show with Okinawa touches, plus manatees, turtles, sharks, sting rays and whale sharks, it’s no wonder the aquarium is Okinawa’s most famous attraction. There’s also a huge playground of nets for kids and large topiary animals. We recommend bringing lunch and grabbing it from the car when you get hungry, as the food vendors are limited. Google Map
Bios on the Hill
Part botanical garden, part cultural center, this park features stunning flowers and plants grown in subtropical Okinawa, plus goats and water buffalo. Play on the wooden swings, jungle gyms, or try out traditional Japanese toys, including stilts. Unless your Japanese comprehension is good, skip the boat tour, which is an additional fee. Bring yen for admission, lunch or snacks, and any purchases in the gift shop or nursery, which includes gorgeous orchids, vanilla and more. Google Map
If you’d rather explore while indoors, enjoy a mostly-indoor park dedicated to Okinawa’s favorite fruit–the pineapple. The entrance fee includes an educational tour via pineapple car of the compound’s crops and gardens (in English), a large seashell exhibit, and lots of gift shops and samples, including pineapple-flavored wine, chocolate, cakes and fresh fruit. Google Map
Mt. Yae is famous for the cherry blossom or “Sakura” that appears every spring time on the trees that line the winding road taking you higher and higher to the summit.
When it’s not cherry blossom season Mt. Yae is still worth a trip both for the views across to the sea from the top as well as to see a wilder part of Okinawa and get a good lungful of clean air. Work up an appetite then check out Yaedake bakery! Google Map
If you’re tired of the artificial white breads that are common in most of the central Okinawan supermarkets then on your trip up North you must stop in at Yaedake bakery to sample their wholemeal breads. With no added junk, up to 80% wheat flour and natural ingredients such as olive oil, nuts and dried fruits it makes a delicious, healthy stop on your journey. The view’s not bad as well! Google Map
Sesoko Island Cafe
Nestled amongst the lush greenery on the tiny island of Sesoko is Fuu Cafe.
A popular choice with both locals and tourists the cafe serves up simple tasty dishes, often using locally grown ingredients in a beautiful natural setting. If it’s not too hot there’s a covered veranda with chairs and tables as well as a children’s play area. The coffee’s really the star here as they roast their own beans making it a good excuse for coffee lovers. Google Map