Cultural Excursion

Tropical Japan: The Okinawan Islands

Tokyo, Japan

We customize every trip

Prices From: $3,890 per person

A fascinating cultural adventure, this custom itinerary will allow you to fully experience Japan's most laid-back destination, the remote islands of Okinawa. Okinawa offers a magical combination of island culture - as the ancestral home of the proud Ryukyu culture - with Japanese culture. In addition to turquoise waters and pristine beaches you'll find a rich history and vibrant living culture plus marine sports and some of Japan's best food.

Until recently, Okinawa was best known for its role in the second world war and strong American military presence. It has remained a hidden gem, almost untouched by western travelers and is the true hidden treasure of Japan. Naha, the archipelago's major city, is home to the UNESCO-recognized Shuri Castle, colorful markets, traditional pottery, and a lively nightlife. The idyllic Yaeyama Island chain - comprised of Okinawa's most remote islands - offer the quintessential Okinawan experience; Ishigaki Island, with its clear waters and world-class marine underworld, Taketomi Island, seemingly untouched by time, and the untouched jungles of Iriomote Island.

A trip to Okinawa offers the best of both worlds: the relaxed pace of traditional Ryukyu island life and all the wonders of Japan. It's perfect for travelers seeking a revitalizing and inspiring adventure.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival In Tokyo

Arrive in Tokyo (Kyoto start also available). Rest this evening or venture out to begin exploration.

Shinjuku Sunroute Plaza is located on the south side of Shinjuku Station. The Shinjuku Sunroute Plaza is a very new hotel, opened in late 2007. The building has a sleek and modern design throughout, from the spacious lobby area to the well-appointed guestrooms, which offer flat screen TV with video-on-demand and spacious bathrooms. The hotel has its own restaurant and bar and also a guest lounge providing internet access and complimentary hot drinks.

The hotel is in a fantastic location in the lively Shinjuku district of Tokyo, with an endless choice of shopping, dining and entertainment options within a few minutes' walk. The hotel is also just two minutes on foot from Shinjuku Station, offering easy access to other areas of the city.

Overnight: Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku

Day 2 - Tokyo: Half Day Private Tour

Enjoy a free morning at leisure.

This afternoon you will have the services of a private guide for four hours. You will be travelling by public transport, as Tokyoites do, in order to help you to get a real feel for the Japan's capital. This will be a fantastic introduction to the city and you can ask your guide any questions you may have about Tokyo and life in Japan. Your guide will come to the Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku at around 1:00 PM (or any time you choose) to meet you and your guiding will proceed from there.

Overnight: Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku (Breakfast included)

Day 3 - Tokyo - Naha, Okinawa Island

This morning take the short flight to Naha, gateway to Okinawa and home to Shuri-jo Castle, a UNESCO world heritage site. This afternoon go on a private tour for an introduction to Okinawa's unique history and Ryukyu culture.

Overnight: Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa (Breakfast included)

Day 4 - Naha - Ishigaki Island

Today you will take the short flight to Ishigaki Island, gateway to the remote Yaeyama Islands group, at the edge of Japanese territory and near to Taiwan. This afternoon visit Kabira Bay for a glass-bottom boat tour of the magnificent marine underworld - Kabira Bay has received 3 stars from Michelin's Green Guide.

Overnight: Hotel Patina Ishigakijima (Breakfast included)

Day 5 - Ishigaki - Iriomote Island & Yubu Island Visit

This morning board the ferry for the short trip to remote Iriomote Island, 80% of which is covered by dense subtropical jungle. Iriomote is home to the Iriomote Wildcat (Yamaneko), a rare cat native to this island. Today enjoy a canoe trip, with an optional hike/swim at one of the island's many waterfalls. As the tides fall and rise throughout the day, Iriomote's coastal landscape transforms dramatically. This afternoon enjoy a short ride across the shallow water in a traditional water buffalo carriage to tiny Yubu Island, a living botanical garden.

Overnight: Hoshino Resort Nirakanai Iriomotejima (Breakfast included)

Day 6 - Iriomote Island - Ishigaki Island

Morning free to relax or cycle around at leisure. After lunch return to Ishigaki via a short ferry ride. Evening free to stroll in Ishigaki.

Overnight: Hotel Patina Ishigakijima (Breakfast included)

Day 7 - Ishigaki: Excursion to Taketomi Island

This morning take the short, 10-minute ferry ride to Taketomi Island, a small protected island renowned for its beautifully-preserved traditional houses and streets, and stunning beaches with turquoise waters. Day free to explore the small sland by foot or bicycle. In the afternoon return by ferry to Ishigaki.

Overnight: Hotel Patina Ishigakijima (Breakfast included)

Day 8 - Ishigaki - Naha

Morning free. After lunch board the short flight back to Naha. Enjoy the day walking Naha's colorful Makishi public market and neon-lit Kokusai-dori street.

Overnight: Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa (Breakfast included)

Day 9 - Departure From Naha

Depart for mainland Japan or next destination. Extensions available throughout Japan.

Accommodation Information

Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku

Shinjuku Sunroute Plaza is located on the south side of Shinjuku Station. The Shinjuku Sunroute Plaza is a very new hotel, opened in late 2007. The building has a sleek and modern design throughout, from the spacious lobby area to the well-appointed guestrooms, which offer flat screen TV with video-on-demand and spacious bathrooms. The hotel has its own restaurant and bar and also a guest lounge providing internet access and complimentary hot drinks.

The hotel is in a fantastic location in the lively Shinjuku district of Tokyo, with an endless choice of shopping, dining and entertainment options within a few minutes' walk. The hotel is also just two minutes on foot from Shinjuku Station, offering easy access to other areas of the city.

Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa

Conveniently located in Okinawa, RIHGA Royal Gran Okinawa Hotel is a great base from which to explore this vibrant city. Only 1.0 Km from the city center, the hotel's strategic location ensures that guests can quickly and easily reach many local points of interest. For those of you who want to venture out, Asahibashi Station, Naha Port, Kenchou-Mae Station are just some of the attractions available to visitors.

Hotel Patina Ishigakijima

Nestled in the heart of Ishigaki Island, Hotel Patina Ishigakijima is an ideal spot from which to discover Okinawa. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. This modern hotel is in the vicinity of popular city attractions such as Ishigaki Airport.

Hoshino Resort Nirakanai Iriomotejima

Located at beautiful beach Tsukigahama, Hoshino Resort Nirakanai Iriomotejima has concept to keep and protect the nature of Iriomote-jima. Mind 'eco recycle' and kind to environment is the motto. Please enjoy and spend the time in natural as it goes by.

Following great activities are provided at additional charges and subject to weather/sea condition and availability. Guided jungle adventures (canoeing, hiking, trekking, night tour etc.), snorkeling to a nearby inhabited island, kayaking, ecotour, cruising, sunset tours, buffalo ride to Yufu Island, star watching, etc.

Iriomotejima is the second largest of the Okinawa Islands and the largest of the Yaeyama Islands. There are many visitors from other parts of Okinawa, Japan and all over the world to discover the natural beauty and wild life. It is little known tropical island (ranked 4th in the best places in Japan in Lonely Planet) with jungles, rivers, waterfalls and mangroves, adventurous, full of marine and jungle activities for active guests.

Location

Region: Asia - North and East

Address:
Tokyo
Japan

Amenities/Activities

Breakfast Breakfast

Day Tours Day Tours

GBC Staffpick GBC Staffpick

General Information

Price Includes

  • Accommodation based on double occupancy
  • Daily breakfast
  • Domestic flights (Subject to change): Tokyo - Naha; Naha - Ishigaki; Ishigaki - Naha; Naha - Tokyo
  • 4 Hours private guide service in Tokyo
  • 4 Hours private guide service in Naha
  • Kabira Bay glass-bottom boat tour
  • Iriomote Island canoe trip & Yubu Island visit
  • Comprehensive tailor-made informational packet
  • Full telephone support from English-speaking staff in Japan office, including 24/7 emergency line

Price Excludes

  • International flights, unless otherwise mentioned
  • Meals other than those detailed
  • Local transport except where specified
  • Ferry trips (tickets are cheap and must be purchased on the day we will provide all essential information)
  • Entrance fees unless otherwise stated
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Baggage handling is not included in our trips, but that doesn't mean you need carry heavy bags around with you. Japan has a great luggage forwarding service known as ‘takkuhaibin . For around 1,500 yen (a little over $20) you can forward a bag next day between pretty much any two points in Japan. Nearly all hotels will be happy to help and your Info-Pack will tell you when we suggest making use of this service.