Okinawa is a group of islands located south of the main Japanese archipelago and gives a taste of the tropics in Japan. Hot springs, turquoise waters and warm temperatures year-round is what you can expect from a trip to Okinawa. Tempting, isn’t it?

However, knowing the best area to stay in Okinawa can get tricky. In addition, accommodation in Japan can quickly become an expensive affair.

This is exactly why I have put together this guide on where to stay in Okinawa.

After reading this guide, you will be an expert on where to stay in Okinawa and will know all the tips and tricks to turn your stay in Okinawa into a dream vacation.

Whether you are travelling on a budget, with kids or your significant other, there is a place for you in Okinawa! Let’s dive in a look at precisely where to stay in Okinawa.

Where to Stay in Okinawa

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Okinawa.

Best Airbnb in Okinawa – Chic Room for the Nightowls

Chic Room for the Nightowls

While there’s chaos in the city, you’ll love this little getaway gem in the heart of it. Travelers who want to spend most of the time exploring will benefit from staying here, fully furnished to give you the home sweet home feeling while away from the real thing. Take a few footsteps down the road, and you’ll hit Kokusai Street and the ASTO station!

Best Hostel in Okinawa – Seawall Hostel

Seawall Hostel

Seawall Hostel is located on Okinawa main island and offers budget accommodation next to the beautiful sea. The hostel offers both private rooms with a shared bathroom and bunk beds in dorm rooms. The beds have their own reading light and a dark curtain for privacy. Free wifi and a free parking are available for guests.

If you love hostels, you should check out our list of the coolest hostels in Okinawa!

Best Budget Hotel in Okinawa – Almont Hotel Naha Kenchomae

Almont Hotel Naha Kenchomae

Almont Hotel Naha Kenchomae offers comfortable and spacious rooms in Naha. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom with a bathtub and a bidet, a flat screen TV and a sofa. Guest can also enjoy a good buffet breakfast in the morning. The hotel is centrally located and close to Naha’s main attractions.

Okinawa Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN OKINAWA
Nago, Okinawa
FIRST TIME IN OKINAWA

Nago

Nago is a city located in the northern part of the main Okinawa island. It is a popular destination for visitors to the archipelago and a great place to stay for your first visit to Okinawa.

ON A BUDGET
Iriomote, Okinawa
ON A BUDGET

Iriomote

Iriomote is an island located in the Okinawa archipelago. It is the second largest island in the archipelago by size. Iriomote is home to the southernmost National Park in Japan and is almost fully covered by dense jungle and tropical forest.

NIGHTLIFE
Naha, Okinawa
NIGHTLIFE

Naha

Naha is the city where the main Okinawa airport is located, and thus where most visitors first stop when coming to Okinawa. There is a small white sand beach in the city, where locals like to come to take a dip in the morning.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Ishigaki, Okinawa
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Ishigaki

Ishigaki is an island located in the south of the Okinawa archipelago. It is the most popular destination for people looking to spend a holiday at the beach. Several spots are popular with visitors around the island, such as Yonehara Beach, Sukuji Beach or Sunset Beach.

FOR FAMILIES
Kerama Islands, Okinawa
FOR FAMILIES

Kerama Islands

Kerama designates a small group of islands within the Okinawa archipelago, located around 30 kilometres away from Naha, the biggest city of the main Okinawa island.

Okinawa is a group of islands located south of the main Japan archipelago, in the East China Sea.  With the development of budget airlines in the region, Okinawa is becoming more and more popular with visitors all year round. There are some really cool things to do in Okinawa, however, people usually come to experience the Japanese spirit in a tropical setting, with lots of snorkelling available.

The main Okinawa island is also the biggest, and where most people stop when they come to Okinawa. Naha is the capital of the prefecture of Okinawa and the biggest city around. It is also where the main airport is located. Visitors will find shopping, gardens, old temples and well-restored castles.

Nature and jungle lovers will head straight to Iriomote, where deep forests and mangroves have taken over. There is no landing strip on the island, so the only way to come there is by boat. You can then take cruises along the Urauchi River, trek in the jungle and go waterfall chasing.

Diving is one of the most popular activities in the Okinawa islands. Underwater, it is possible to see beautiful coral reefs, and animals such as tropical fish, manta rays, hammerhead sharks and turtles. Kerama, Ishigaki and Miyako are among the best diving spots.

Some people also come to Okinawa to surf, although the spots here are not recommended for beginners. Indeed, the waves can be challenging as they break over the shallow waters filled with rocks and coral reefs. The best surfing spots are located around the main island.

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5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Okinawa

It is time to take a closer look at the best neighbourhoods in Okinawa. Check out which one is your favourite!

1. Nago – Where to stay in Okinawa your first time

Nago is a city located in the northern part of the main Okinawa island. It is a popular destination for visitors to the archipelago and a great place to stay for your first visit to Okinawa. Many resorts have popped up in Nago, allowing tourists to just come, unpack their bags and enjoy all the activities around them.

The beach remains the main attraction in Nago, since it’s one of the best beaches in Okinawa, but several other activities are available for those who are looking for something a little bit different. The Busena Marine Park boasts an underwater structure which lets you get a glimpse of what marine life looks like without getting wet.

The quirky Pineapple Park educates visitors about the cultivation of pineapples, with an entertaining twist. Pineapple carts, food tasting, sculptures and funny souvenirs will be on the programme!

Nago, Okinawa

Best Airbnb in Nago – Small Room with Stunning Views

Small Room with Stunning Views

If you’re a fan of the ocean and stunning views, then this place is the right one for you. It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with the waterfront location of this private home. You can enjoy an unrestricted view of the water from your bedroom and bathroom, thanks to the massive glass front. We have to mention that the room is pretty small and the next supermarket is a 10min drive away. However, if you come prepared, you can have a super unique stay at this Airbnb.

Best Hostel in Nago – All Friends Guesthouse

All Friends Guesthouse

All Friends Guesthouse is a very nice hostel in Nago, Okinawa. It offers individual beds in female or mixed dorm rooms fitted with air conditioning. Each guest is provided with a security locker and can enjoy a hot shower, an outdoor terrace and a free wifi connection.

Best Budget Hotel in Nago – Hotel Yugaf Inn Okinawa

Hotel Yugaf Inn Okinawa

The hotel Yugaf Inn Okinawa offers modernly decorated rooms in Nago. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning and a flat screen TV. In the morning, a very good breakfast is served. At the hotel, guests can enjoy a free wifi connection and an airport shuttle service.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Nago – Centurion Hotel Resort Okinawa Nago City

Centurion Hotel Resort Okinawa Nago City

The Centurion Hotel offers spacious rooms featuring a private bathroom, air conditioning, a flat screen TV and a work desk. Family rooms accommodation up to 6 people are available. In the morning, a good buffet breakfast is served for guests in the restaurant and free wifi is offered.

Things to see and do in Nago

  • Encounter tropical marine life at the Busena Marine Park
  • Take the kids out to see wildlife at the Neo Park Zoo
  • Discover pineapples under a new angle at the Pineapple Park
  • Enjoy the beach and the clear waters on a sunny day
  • Learn about the culture and history of Okinawa at the Nago Museum

2. Iriomote – Where to stay in Okinawa on a budget

Iriomote is an island located in the Okinawa archipelago. It is the second largest island in the archipelago by size. Iriomote is home to the southernmost National Park in Japan and is almost fully covered by dense jungle and tropical forest.

As a consequence, activities on Iriomote somehow differ from the traditional beach-centred one on the other islands and is a real heaven for nature lovers. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Iriomote should not be missing on your Okinawa itinerary.

While numerous trail paths are present all around the island, the most challenging one goes through the interior of the island for 20 kilometres. This should be attempted by experienced hikers only.

River cruises are also a popular activity in Iriomote. It is a way to comfortably explore the jungle scenery of the island. Some cruises also include a small hike to some beautiful waterfalls or even a kayak guided tour.

Iriomote, Okinawa

Best Airbnb in Iriomote – Entire Log Style House

Entire Log Style House

While this incredibly charming cottage doesn’t have the fastest wifi, you’ll be loving your stay even more when you get the chance to have a clear mind and forget about social media for a second. Chill in your patio hammock while reading a book, or walk a couple of steps to the sea – you’ll have plenty of time on your hands to explore the area. If you need to get some work done on your laptop, this is definitely not the right place for you, but if you’re looking for a peaceful and private place in a super small village, this is your go-to!

Best Hostel in Iriomote – Ishigaki Guesthouse Hive

Ishigaki Guesthouse Hive

Ishigaki Guesthouse Hive is located on the Ishigaki island, just a short boat ride away from Iriomote. It offers beds in dormitory rooms, either mixed or female only. In addition, the hostel provides a free wifi connection as well as fresh linen and towels. The reception is open around the clock and can store your luggage.

Best Budget Hotel in Iriomote – Villa Hirugi

Villa Hirugi

Villa Hirugi is a budget hotel located on the island of Iriomote, on top of a hill in the middle of the jungle. Rooms include a shared bathroom and toilet, a balcony with a sea view and air conditioning. Free wifi and a TV are available for guest use in the common dining room.

Another Great Airbnb in Iriomote – Comfy Beach Condo

Comfy Beach Condo

Who doesn’t want to live with two pet goats, right? Jokes aside, this Airbnb is one of the most unique Airbnbs in Okinawa and one of the best experience you can have. Located in a small village, you can learn all about the local life without having to book any tours. Simply walk around and enjoy the peaceful athmosphere. Unlike the Airbnb we showed before, this condo has high-speed Wifi, so if you need to get work done on your laptop, nothing will stop you here! The house is surrounded by jungle, so you might come across one or the other spider or gecko, but neither of them will do you any harm.

Things to see and do in Iriomote

  • Rent a kayak and paddle away in the sea or the river
  • Hike the 20 kilometre-long trail path across the island
  • Dive in Manta Way and swim among the manta ray schools
  • Hop on a river cruise on the Urauchi river
Klook.com

3. Naha – Best area to stay in Okinawa for nightlife

Naha is the city where the main Okinawa airport is located, and thus where most visitors first stop when coming to Okinawa. There is a small white sand beach in the city, where locals like to come to take a dip in the morning.

The most popular sight in Naha, however, is the Shuri castle, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although the original castle has been almost completely destroyed during World Word II, it has been rebuilt during the 1990s. Gaming fans may recognise the site as it appears in Call of Duty: World at War.

A visit to Naha can also be the occasion to bring some local souvenirs back. For that, head to the Tsubaya Pottery District, where you can see artists at work, buy some pottery and even take some classes if you want to learn how to make it yourself.

Naha, Okinawa

Best Airbnb in Naha – Chic Room for the Nightowls

Chic Room for the Nightowls

While there’s chaos in the city, you’ll love this little getaway gem in the heart of it. Travelers who want to spend most of the time exploring will benefit from staying here, fully furnished to give you the home sweet home feeling while away from the real thing. Take a few footsteps down the road, and you’ll hit Kokusai Street and the ASTO station!

Best Hostel in Naha – My Place Guesthouse

My Place Guesthouse

My Place Guesthouse is a hostel in Naha offering private rooms and beds in dormitories. Upon arrival, guests are given fresh linen and a free wifi connection is available. Rooms are fitted with air conditioning or a fan and security lockers. The reception provides tour desk services and luggage storage.

Best Budget Hotel in Naha – Almont Hotel Naha Kenchomae

Almont Hotel Naha Kenchomae

Almont Hotel Naha Kenchomae offers comfortable and spacious rooms in Naha. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom with a bathtub and a bidet, a flat screen TV and a sofa. Guest can also enjoy a good buffet breakfast in the morning. The hotel is centrally located and close to Naha’s main attractions.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Naha – Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa

Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa

Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa offers spacious Western-style accommodation in the heart of Naha city. Each room is fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom with a bathtub, a flat screen TV and a refrigerator. A very good buffet breakfast is served in the morning and guests can relax with a drink at the bar.

Things to see and do in Naha

  • Visit the Shuri castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Try some local soba noodles at the Shuri Soba restaurant
  • Walk around and shop for souvenirs in Kokusai Dori
  • Look for some traditional local pottery in the Tsubaya Pottery District
  • Get a tan at Naminoue Beach

4. Ishigaki – Coolest place to stay in Okinawa

Ishigaki is an island located in the south of the Okinawa archipelago. It is the most popular destination for people looking to spend a holiday at the beach. Several spots are popular with visitors around the island, such as Yonehara Beach, Sukuji Beach or Sunset Beach.

Ishigaki is also a popular snorkelling and diving spot in Okinawa. Equipment can be rented easily, and visitors can then admire the beauty of the coral reefs bordering the island as well as the diverse marine life living in it.

For those who are into culinary discoveries, trying the famous Ishigaki beef is a must-do. The beef in Ishigaki is famous for its wagyu-like quality and its tenderness. You can try it in various forms, including as sushi or sashimi! Of course, if you are more into raw fish, traditional sushi is also available everywhere and utterly delicious.

Finally, history lovers will love learning more about the island at the Yaeyama museum.

Ishigaki, Okinawa

Best Airbnb in Ishigaki – Colorful and Bright Apartment

Colorful and Bright Apartment

Lay back in the indoor hammock and cure that feeling caused by the night before in this unique apartment in the best best of party area of Naha. Its a brand new place, so you know what that means – Brand new mattress to float away and dream on! This place is just minutes from the monorail and Kokusai Dori street, which is THE place to be if you want some nightlife!

Best Hostel in Ishigaki – Ishigaki Guesthouse Hive

Ishigaki Guesthouse Hive

Ishigaki Guesthouse HIVE is a hostel located in Ishigaki’s main town. It offers beds in dormitory rooms, either mixed or female only. In addition, the hostel provides a free wifi connection as well as fresh linen and towels. The reception is open around the clock and can store your luggage.

Best Budget Hotel in Ishigaki – Ishigakijima Hotel Cucule

Ishigakijima Hotel Cucule

The Hotel Cucule offers comfortable rooms decorated with wooden furniture in Ishigaki’s main town. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom with a bathtub, a flat screen TV, and is hypoallergenic. The hotel has a nice rooftop terrace boasting views over the city and the sea. The in-house restaurant serves local Okinawa cuisine.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Ishigaki – Hotel WBF Ishigakijima

Hotel WBF Ishigakijima

Hotel WBF Ishigakijima is one of the most popular hotels on Ishigaki island. Guests will love the rooms with raw concrete walls, modern design and features a private bathroom with a bathtub. Some rooms also have a kitchenette and a microwave. A free wifi connection and free parking are available at the hotel.

Things to see and do in Ishigaki

  • Laze the day away on the beach
  • Go snorkelling in the coral reefs around Yonehara Beach
  • Learn about the history of the island at the Yaeyama Museum
  • Try a local speciality: sushi with raw Ishigaki beef

5. Kerama Islands – Best neighbourhood in Okinawa for families

Kerama designates a small group of islands within the Okinawa archipelago, located around 30 kilometres away from Naha, the biggest city of the main Okinawa island.

The Kerama islands enjoy some of the clearest ocean waters in the world, and as such are a prime spot to dive and snorkel. Underwater, visitors can expect stunning coral reefs, thousands of tropical fish, and loads of sea turtles. Tokashiki and Zamami are the two most popular islands for diving.

During the winter season, the area around the Kerama islands is used for migration by humpback whales. Whales come to the warm waters of Okinawa to reproduce and raise their children. Between January and March, it is easy to find a cruise which will take you out to the sea with a guarantee to see whales or your money back!

Kerama Islands, Okinawa

Best Airbnb in Kerama Islands – HUGE Home with the Best Hospitality

HUGE Home with the Best Hospitality

If you are looking for a getaway spot with the family, look no further. This is the ideal destination home. The owners provide an incredible breakfast in the morning and have a shuttle bus to take you snorkeling or sight-seeing all over the island. The BIGGEST reason to stay in this home is the family and how accommodating they genuinely are.

Best Hostel in Kerama Islands – Guesthouse Iyonshi

Guesthouse Iyonshi

The Guesthouse Iyonshi is located on Zamami, one of the main Kerama islands. It offers standard rooms with bunk beds and Japanese style rooms with tatami flooring and futon beds. Each room includes air conditioning and a seating area. The bathrooms are shared between guests.

Best Budget Hotel in Kerama Islands – Minshuku Yadokari

Minshuku Yadokari

Minshuku Yoadakari is a budget hotel located in Zamami. It offers Japanese style bedrooms with tatami flooring and futon bedding, with a shared bathroom and air conditioning. In the morning, a traditional, home-cooked Japanese breakfast is served to guests. Free wifi is available around the property.

Best Mid-Range Hotel un Kerama Islands – Shima Stay holoholo

Shima Stay holoholo

Shima Stay offers spacious and comfortable rooms fitted with wooden floors, for conditioning, a flat screen TV and a private bathroom. The hotel is located on Zamami island and is close to all the main attractions and diving spots. The hotel is non-smoking and provides a free wifi connection.

Things to see and do in Kerama Islands

  • Snorkel among the sea turtles
  • Take a tour to observe humpback whales migrating in the winter
  • Learn to dive in the amazingly clear waters
  • Get some rest in the sun on one of the beautiful white sand beaches

Our Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Okinawa…

Okinawa offers a tropical experience in Japan. Traditional and yet so different from the main archipelago, a visit to Okinawa is a real must-do while visiting the land of the rising sun. From marvellous diving spots to dream-like white sand beaches, Okinawa has a lot to offer to its visitors and is as a consequence becoming increasingly popular.

The Hotel Sunset Zanpa, located on the main Okinawa island, is my favourite spot to stay in Okinawa. It offers comfortable rooms with a private bathroom, a few steps away from the beach.

For those travelling on a backpacker’s budget, the Seawall Hostel on the Okinawa main island is my number one pick for where to stay in Okinawa. There, you will be able to choose between dorm beds or private rooms with a shared bathroom.

If you still need some more isnpiration, check out our list of 17 Unique Activities in Okinawa.

Have I missed your favourite place in Okinawa? Let me know in the comments below! Happy travels!

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Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

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