Okinawa, the group of Japan's most southerly islands, lies to the south of Kyushu and stretch nearly as far as the Tropic of Cancer. The islands are best known for white subtropical beaches, lush wilderness, and coral reefs.

The islands that make up Okinawa were once an autonomous kingdom known as the Ryukyu Islands, and the culture that exists there today is an exotic mix of Ryukyu and Japanese. Okinawan architecture, art, and cuisine are all unique to the islands, and are strong evidence that the area was once a crossroads of Chinese and Japanese trade.

To complement Japan's best scuba-diving and beaches, a number of world-class resorts dot Okinawa's coastlines. Away from the coral reefs and untouched wilderness of the more remote islands, the prefectural capital of Naha is famous for pottery and markets, and the main island is renowned for its pineapple crops.

A visit to Okinawa offers a change from the traditional temple tours of the mainland, while the subtropical islands are wonderful destination in their own right - particularly when the cold weather sets in on Japan's main islands. Into Japan Specialist Tours would be delighted to include a visit to Okinawa in your tailor made tour.