The tropical paradise of Okinawa is well known for its snorkeling and diving spots surrounding its southern isles, but the prefecture has plenty more to offer both on land and in the sea for adventurous outdoorsy types.
1. Go Kayaking in Yanbaru National Park
One of the newest national parks to be registered in Japan, Yanbaru National Park is a lush green expanse of thick forests and shore-hugging mangroves. The best way to explore the latter is by boat — taking a trip on a kayak gets you close to both trees and the creatures that live in them without disturbing them. It’s also a family-friendly way to explore — kids from ages three and up are allowed to join. Go on a short tour of the wetlands or on a half-day adventure that gives you the best of both worlds, taking you from mangrove forest to the open waters of the ocean.
More info: Yanbaru Club
2. Experience Extreme Marine Sports
Located in Nago City, Kanucha Resort Okinawa is an expansive complex with state-of-the-art facilities and stunning views. It boasts a 2.64 million meter-squared golf course, multiple gourmet restaurants, and a beach to die for. It also has an impressive selection of marine sports all in one place — flyboarding, water jet packs, and hoverboarding for the thrill seekers; parasailing, jet-skiing, and banana boat rides for the lover of classic marine activities. The nearby ocean water park with floating slides is great for kids and for those looking for something a less wet, there are glass-boat rides for coral and tropical fish viewing.
Bonus: rent a golf cart for the day or just a few hours to drive from place to place on resort grounds — it’s a ton of fun and a great way to shuttle the kids around.
More info: Kanucha Resort Okinawa
3. Explore Okinawa’s Beauty With Off-Road Quad Bike Rides and Beach Cycling
Find yourself on an off-road quad bike adventure through the deep forests of Yanbaru — just a seven-minute drive from Nago City, and a five-minute trip from the Orion Beer Factory. (We recommend visiting the factory after your ride.) It’s beginner-friendly, as on-site staff will guide you on the basics of controlling your quad bike before heading out. Gain a unique perspective on Yanbaru forest’s rare plants and creatures. For an added thrill, check out the night tours in winter.
Or, hit the beach on a fat-tired bicycle for beautiful ocean views and a guided tour around the Fukugi Namiki District, a designated cultural heritage area with traditional Okinawan-style houses.
More info: Yanbaruture Okinawa
4. Get into Beast Mode on an Obstacle Course and Archery Tag®
Unleash your inner endurance athlete by testing your limits at Forest Adventure Onna, a park with obstacle courses, zip lines, suspended bridges — all with a beautiful ocean view! After initial staff guidance, you’ll be left to your own devices to swing, jump, and trek your way up ropes and down cargo ladders. Children are welcome to join but note that they must be at least 10 years of age, or over 140cm tall.
Forest Adventure Onna also offers a new activity: Archery Tag®. Similar to dodgeball, in theory, this sport uses bows and foam-tipped arrows to “tag” your target — perfect for an action-packed version of this classic playground game.
More info: Forest Adventure Onna
5. Test Your Balance on a SUP Adventure Tour
Make the most of your time on the water by taking in the view down below from a board floating on the crystal clear Okinawan waters. SUP — short for stand up paddle — is great for beginners and experts alike. If you get tired, take a break and relax on the board as you gaze into the depths below at the coral and colorful fish of all kinds. Depending on the weather, you can either explore the rocks and cliffs nearby or even go surfing! Kids aged 13 and up can join this tour.
To book this tour through Voyagin, check out the website.
After your adventures, head to capital city Naha for some well-deserved R&R at Loisir Hotel & Spa Tower:
For more exciting travel inspiration suggestions, check out JNTO‘s official page