fbpx

Getting to Okinawa – Ultimate Guide to Japan’s Top Summer Destination

I am sure that everyone dreamed of spending their summer on a sandy beach in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. But what about spending it on a Japanese island? So you get to visit Japan and enjoy the ocean at the same time!

If this is something you’d like to do, Okinawa is the perfect place for you.

Okinawa is the southernmost prefecture of Japan and a place famous for its summer vibe. It consists of an archipelago of five major islands and more than 150 smaller ones scattered around.

The islands are a beautiful part of Japan that travelers often overlook. In addition, the rich, independent culture of the islands almost makes them feel like a different country. All in all, it is a place you won’t regret visiting.

Okinawa is probably the most challenging part of Japan to reach since it is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and so far away from mainland Japan.

In this article I will tell you all about the best ways of getting to Okinawa, such as by plane or boat, and what you need to do in order to prepare for this trip.

Table of Contents

Airplane and ferry arrive to Okinawa

Kyoo nite mo
Kyoo natsukashi ya
hototogisu

Even in Kyoto
Longing for Kyoto
Hearing the Cuckoo

Matsuo Basho,
17th century haiku poet

How Far is Okinawa From Japan?

Okinawa is located 330 miles from mainland Japan in the south, southeast direction. In kilometers, that is 530 km.

The nearest major Japanese island is Kyushu, making Okinawa prefecture a part of the Kyushu region. The closest major city is Kagoshima on the south coast of Kyushu.

If you want to know the distance from Okinawa to Shikoku, another major Japanese island, it is almost 500 miles or 800 kilometers. Quite a long distance, I am sure you’ll agree.

Red bridge on Okinawa

Okinawa to Tokyo Distance

If you are arriving in Japan, you will probably be visiting Tokyo and, from there, other places. If Okinawa is on your list, I am sure you would like to learn the distance from Okinawa to Tokyo in miles by plane. Here is your answer.

The distance from Okinawa to Tokyo by plane is 900 miles or almost 1500 kilometers.

As you can see, the best way to cross such a significant distance would be by plane. So if you want to visit Okinawa from Japan’s capital, you better start looking for some plane tickets!

Jal Japan Airlines Airplane Flying to Okinawa

Getting to Okinawa

As I said, there are two main ways of getting to Okinawa. By plane and by boat. Let’s go over each of them in detail and see your available options.

By Plane

For many, arriving by plane in Okinawa is the best way to reach the island. Multiple Domestic and International flights operate to airports across the prefecture.

But the central hub for most flights to Okinawa Prefecture is the Naha Airport, located on the main island.

Getting to Okinawa By Plane over Beach

Why should you travel to Okinawa by plane?

There are a few key advantages to getting to Okinawa by plane.

  • You can find some really cheap tickets that make the trip worth it.
  • It is the quickest option to get there, and as we all know, time is precious, especially when visiting another country.
  • Okinawa is well connected to most of Japan and surrounding countries by planes. So you can use it as a stopping point. Arrive from one city, and after sightseeing, depart for another.

 

What is the best time to fly to Okinawa?

The best time to visit is in spring or autumn since the summer is both hot and rainy, with occasional typhoons possible up to the end of September.

You have to consider that some flights are only available during the peak season. At that time as well, you can expect some flights to be more expensive.

The worst time to fly would be during the golden week (The first week of May), spring vacation in March, and New Year.

Plane Ticket Prices

The prices depend on which city you depart from. But in general, you can find tickets from major Japanese airports for about $100. You need to buy tickets in advance and use any discount you may find, such as Japan Air Pass.

As for international flights, you can find tickets for as low as $200 from Taiwan or $350 from Korea or Hong Kong.

Remember that tickets will be more expensive in peak season, as I already mentioned.

Domestic Flights to Okinawa

There are several airports on islands that are connected to domestic airports across Japan. 

Ana Airplanes in Airport
Naha Airport

Naha Airport is well connected to most parts of Japan and the surrounding East Asian countries.

Flights between Okinawa and Kyushu

If you are going on a trip to Okinawa from Tokyo, there are flights from Haneda and Narita international airports that take about 2 and a half hours. They are operated by ANA, JAL, and Skymark Airlines.

Flights between Chubu and Okinawa

If you are traveling from Chubu, there are many great flights to choose from. One such is a flight from Aichi’s Chubu Centrair International Airport that takes about 2 hr. In addition to JAL and ANA, it is also operated by Solaseed Air, Jetstar, and Skymark Airlines.

Flights between Kansai and Okinawa

Travelers departing from the Kansai region have to option of flying from Kansai International Airport, among others. The flights are operated by JAL, ANA, Jetstar, and Peach and take slightly less than 2 hours.

Flights between Hokkaido and Okinawa

If you want to fly directly from the north of Japan to Okinawa, the best option is the flight from Hokkaido’s New Chitose Airport operated by ANA. Since it is on the opposite side of the country, it takes over 3 hours to get there.

Flights between Okinawa and Tohoku

Sendai International Airport in Miyagi has a direct route to Naha. The route is operated by ANA and takes about 2 and a half hours.

Flights between Okinawa and Shikoku

From Shikoku, the best way to reach Naha would be from Takamatsu Airport in Kagawa. The route is operated by ANA and takes about 2 hours.

Flights between Okinawa and Chugoku

If you are flying from the Chugoku region, your best bet is to depart from Hiroshima Airport. The flight takes 1h 45min and is operated by ANA.

Flights between Kanto and Okinawa

Since Kyushu is the closest part of Japan to Okinawa, there are plenty of flights to Naha to choose from. Fukuoka Airport has flights that take about one hour and 40 minutes and are operated by ANA, JAL, Skymark, and Jetstar. There are also flights from Nagasaki and Kumamoto that take 1 and a half hours, both operated by ANA.

Ishigaki Airport

Ishigaki Airport is another important airport in the Okinawa Prefecture. It is located in the extreme south of the prefecture, almost 400 km from Okinawa. You can reach it with a direct flight from multiple cities in mainland Japan.

Flights between Ishigaki and Kanto

From the Tokyo area, you can reach it with flights by ANA and JAL that take just over 3 hours and depart from Haneda. There is also an option to depart from Narita, but it is a 20-minute longer flight.

Flights between Ishigaki and Kansai

From the Kansai Area, you can reach it with ANA, JAL, or Peach flights from the Kansai International Airport. The flight takes around 2 h and 20 min.

Flights between Ishigaki and Kyushu

If you want to reach it from Kyushu, there is a flight from Fukuoka Airport operated by Peach which takes two hours.

Miyako Airport

Miyako Airport is located on Miyakojima, an island located roughly between Okinawa and Ishigaki Islands.

Flights between Miyako and Kanto

The island is connected to the Tokyo area with ANA and JAL operated flights from Haneda Airport that take 3 hours.

Flights between Miyako and Kansai

If you are departing from Osaka, you can use the ANA flight from Kansai International Airport. It takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to Miyako Airport.

Flights between Miyako and Kyushu

From Kyusu, you will need to depart from Fukuoka International airport on a 2 h flight operated by ANA.

JAL Airplane on runway

International Flights to Okinawa

Naha Airport

Naha Airport is well connected to many countries in East Asia. You can reach it from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, etc.

Flights between China and Okinawa

From China, you can reach Naha with many flights. You can take the China Eastern flight from Shanghai, which takes about 2 hours. While from Beijing, you can find tickets for the three and a half hour long flight by Air China.

Flights between South Korea and Okinawa

South Korea is also well connected to Naha. You can take flights from Seoul, Busan, and Daegu, among others. They take 2 to 2 and a half hours and are operated by multiple airlines like Jeju Air, Korean Air, and Asiana Airlines.

Flights between Taiwan and Okinawa

Taiwan is the closest foreign territory to Okinawa, and it is well connected with several flights. One example is the flight from Taipei, which takes about one and a half hours. This line is operated by several companies, including China Airlines and Tigerair Taiwan.

Flights between Hong Kong and Okinawa

You can catch a flight to Naha from the Hong Kong International Airport, which takes about 2 hr 30 min. It is operated by Hongkong Airlines or Cathay Pacific.

Flights between Thailand and Okinawa

Flight from Bangkok, Thailand, will take about four and a half hours and is operated by Peach.

Flights between Singapore and Okinawa

Jetstar flight is available from Singapore, and it takes about 5 hours.

By Ferry

The main island of Okinawa Prefecture, also known as Okinawa Honto, is connected to mainland Japan with regular ferry lines. So those of you who want to travel to Okinawa by boat can do that!

However, you have to take into consideration that the trip takes about 25 hours if you are departing from Kyushu‘s southern port in Kagoshima City. This ferry is the most common ferry most visitors will take. It operates daily and departs at 18:00. The return journey departs from Naha at 7:00.

During the journey, the ferry will make port at several smaller islands along the way. This is great if you want to spend more time in the archipelago and explore these less-known islands.

Ferry sails with mountains in background

Two main companies that operate the ferry lines are A-Line and Marix.

The prices will depend on whether you have a car with you or if you want to have a first-class or second-class sleeping quarter. The cheapest option is about $110.

Keep in mind that the prices for some ferry tickets can change depending on the season.

Is there a direct boat from Okinawa to Tokyo?

Unfortunately, there is no direct boat from Okinawa to Tokyo. If you are in Tokyo and want to visit Okinawa by boat, your best bet is to fly or take the shinkansen to Kyushu, get to Kagoshima city, and take the ferry from there.

Sailing across the Sea near Okinawa

Why should you travel to Okinawa by boat?

There are a few key advantages to getting to Okinawa by boat:

  • It is a relaxing way of traveling for some people, just enjoying the boat and the sea
  • Since it is a ferry, you can bring your own car or the car you rented on the mainland
  • It is a great way to visit less-known islands along the way to Okinawa.

Conclusion

The two best ways of getting to Okinawa are by plane or by ferry.

The plane gives you more options and departing points, is faster and, in some cases, cheaper.

On the other hand, the ferry is a more relaxing way to travel to Okinawa and is great for visiting smaller islands.

Whatever you pick, I am sure you will love your trip to Japan’s premier summer destination.

Where is Okinawa?

Getting to Okinawa - Key Points

  • Okinawa is a beautiful part of Japan worth visiting for its culture and summer getaways
  • Okinawa is 330 miles from mainland Japan
  • Kyushu is the closest main Japanese island
  • The best ways of getting to Okinawa are by plane or by ferry
  • You can find affordable plane tickets
  • The quickest way of getting to the island is by plane
  • Okinawa is well connected by plane routes with the rest of Japan and surrounding East Asian nations
  • A ferry is a good option if you want a long relaxing trip or you want to bring a car

If you want to learn about some other off-the-beaten-path locations in Japan, check out this great article: Japan Off The Beaten Path

Mate Mikulandra
Latest posts by Mate Mikulandra (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *