Japan's southernmost prefecture, Okinawa is a chain of islands with its own history as an independent kingdom and a distinctly subtropical climate, as well as the birthplace of karate. Explore the ruins and restored castles of the Ryukyu kings, and visit magnificent beaches and coastlines with an amazing array of coral and undersea life. Come for whale watching and dragon boat races, rare flora and fauna, and an island mindset that makes you forget the clock and follow the sun.
The main island of Okinawa is a popular starting point for tourists wanting to explore this sub-tropical part of Japan. The city of Naha boasts an ancient castle, a vibrant shopping street, and many other attractions that make it well worth a visit. Naha is by far the biggest city in Okinawa, home to 60 percent of the main island's residents. It is also home to Okinawa's only public rail system, and the Okinawa monorail provides an easy route through the city to the old capital of Shuri.
Shuri Castle was the palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom from the 15th century until it came under Japanese rule in the 19th century.The castle has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, most recently in 1992, after its destruction in World War II. As you walk among its many buildings and courtyards, you will find yourself transported back to the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is part of Ocean Expo Park and is considered one of the biggest and best aquariums in the world. Its tanks are massive enough to accommodate a whale shark. Located on the coast of Motobu Peninsula, the aquarium was rebuilt in 2002 and is now home to 740 different species of underwater life. As you enter the aquarium, you will discover a pool where you can touch living starfish with your hands and a tank containing a breathtaking display of living coral, the first large-scale exhibit of this type in the world. One of the most popular exhibits is the main tank. Known as the Kuroshio Sea, the tank is so large that it provides a home for the whale shark, which can measure up to 12 meters in length. The tank also accommodates manta rays and many species of rare fish.
Ishigaki-jima is an island paradise, with crystal waters and colorful coral and fish just beneath the surface. About 200 miles off of the Okinawan mainland, Ishigaki-jima ia covered in lush green mountains, including Mt. Omoto-dake, the highest mountain in Okinawa. This makes for incredible views of the island, its coastline, and the surrounding ocean. The coral reefs in Ishigaki-jima are some of the most scenic in the world, noted especially for the variety of coral beneath the clear water. Notable spots include Shiraho, for its many types of colored coral, and Kabira Bay, with some of the bluest waters in Okinawa. In Kabira Bay, swimming, snorkeling and diving are prohibited, but glass bottom boat rides allow visitors to see beneath the water. Black pearls are also cultivated in the bay, one of only two spots in Japan.
Tokashiki-jima, the largest of the Kerama Islands, only has a circumference of about 10 square miles. Tropical vegitation covers the island, which is also surrounded by hills. Long, sandy beaches spotted with dried coral surround the island. Diving and fishing are some of the most popular activities on the islands, as is humpback whale watching in winter and early spring.
IECC 2019 conference secretary
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Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate
University (OIST), Okinawa, Japan