5 Days



trip cost

from $6495pp

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5 Days

Icons / stylised / difficulty Created with Sketch.



Icons / stylised /cost Created with Sketch.

trip cost

from $6495pp

Nature Immersion

Cultural Interest

Group Guided Trip

our walk expert

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Itinerary
  • Route Map
  • Inclusions
  • Expert guides
  • Similar walks


Okinawa Island Explorer

Explore the stunning nature and vibrant culture of Okinawa! On our 5-day premium island adventure you’ll join an experienced local leader and small group of like-minded travellers for the trip of a lifetime! 

Okinawa is Japan’s sun-drenched, coral-fringed southernmost prefecture. It’s Japan, but not as you know it. Once an independent Ryukyu Kingdom, the island’s rich history unfolds through its ancient castles, tranquil gardens and spirited festivals. Distinct cultural traditions and unique flavours have evolved separately from the rest of the country. 

The islands emerald seas are mesmerising. The ancient forested Yanbaru region is one of the world’s five Blue Zones of longevity and where we stay in stunning private eco villas.

Easy guided nature walks will give you the best opportunity to discover the world-class beauty and incredible biodiversity of the island. You’ll also explore a hidden sake cellar in an ancient limestone cave, learn about Okinawa’s wartime legacy, enjoy an evening of stargazing and storytelling, unwind in soothing onsen hot springs, take part in superb dining experiences, and more!

This irresistible destination offers the perfect combination of exploration, adventure, indulgence and relaxation. Get ready for an immersive and authentic experience that will exceed all your expectations! 

Okinawa is just under a 3-hour flight from Tokyo and it’s easy to extend your stay and enjoy an even bigger slice of island life. 

Choose your own dates!

If our scheduled departure dates don’t suit, no problem! You can choose your own dates for our guided tour (subject to availability). You’ll need a minimum of 4 people (max. 6). Send your request to japan@rawtravel.com and we’ll organise everything for you!

Bowls of tantalising fresh Japanese cuisine


Get Ready For

  • World-class food including a French/Japanese degustation menu
  • Premium accommodation, including stunning private eco villas in the Yanbaru Forest
  • Distinct Okinawan island culture and unique history
  • Natural beauty and incredible biodiversity
  • Rare endemic flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world
  • Enduring history of the Ryukyu Kingdom
  • Hidden sake cellar in an ancient limestone cave
  • Wartime legacy of the former Japanese Navy Headquarters
  • Nature walks, cultural insights and conservation tours with specialist local guides


Daily details


Book your flight to arrive at Naha Airport by 10.15am today, ready to meet your local tour guide in the arrivals area at 11am. From the airport we have a 90-minute drive north to begin our unique adventure on one of Japan’s most spectacular islands. Sit back and relax while you get to know your fellow travellers and learn about Okinawa and its unique history and culture. 

Hopefully you’ve brought a big appetite with you as our lunch spot is a wonderful local restaurant housed in a traditional 100-year-old folk house where you’ll experience traditional multi-platter Ryūkyū cuisine. You can also wander around the beautiful garden. 

After lunch we’ll head a little further north to Yagaji Island and the impressive 1960m-long Kouri Ohashi Bridge. This modern engineering marvel spans the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean, connecting the islands of Yagaji and Kouri. We’ll walk the length of the bridge and if we’re lucky, spot a turtle swimming in the crystal-clear waters below. This area is known for its pristine beaches and quaint villages. 

Once we reach Kouri Island there may be time for a quick dip and an ice cream before we continue north to the Yanbaru National Park and its beautiful mountains, forests, rivers and beaches. 

Our accommodation for the next 2 nights is a lovingly restored home, nestled in a community with more than 400 years of history. Once you’ve checked in you can explore the village or simply settle in and unwind. 

This area offers a unique and authentic experience of Okinawa – one of the world’s famed Blue Zones, where residents often live well into their 90s. Martial arts, climate, diet, community and spirituality are all thought to contribute towards Okinawa’s longevity statistics. We’ll have the privilege of learning from locals about their culture, way of life and deep connection to the land. Visitor numbers to this area are capped to ensure that the lives of the residents are not disrupted. 

This evening we enjoy a barbeque hosted by a Haikei Master – a respected expert in the art of traditional Okinawan barbecue. Becoming a Haikei Master requires a deep understanding and skill in preparing, marinating and grilling to perfection various meats, seafood, and vegetables in the Okinawan style over an open flame or charcoal. 

Meals: L, D


This morning we’ll have the unique opportunity to assist a local sherpa to cook a delicious and hearty breakfast using fresh, local ingredients. We’ll experience the traditional Japanese method of cooking rice using a reproduced kamado, a cooking stove fuelled by firewood, reminiscent of older times.

We’ll then walk with a local guide, learning about village life. This area is surrounded by coral reefs, calm seas and subtropical rainforests. It is considered the original landscape of life in Yanbaru and a place where natural time crosses with human time. We’ll learn about how the native banana plant is used to make basho-fu, a soft and beautiful hand-woven textile worn by Okinawan royalty and nobility. 

Following our village walk we’ll transfer to the Yanbaru Wildlife Conservation Center Ufugi Nature Museum for an insight into Yanbaru’s conservation history, nature and biodiversity. We’ll learn about the endemic and endangered species found only in the Yanbaru region from people directly involved in conservation activities. 

Our lunch today is in a nearby restaurant run by the fisheries cooperative. You’ll enjoy the freshest fish, carefully selected and prepared by uminchu (fishermen).  

We then head into the Yanbaru National Park, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site that is full of lush mangrove forests. We’ll walk with our local nature guide on a well-maintained trail to Hiji Otaki, the highest waterfall on Okinawa’s main island, and a leisurely 3km walk where we’ll learn about the forest and its endemic creatures. After our immersion in the forest we’ll return to our accommodation to relax and freshen up before heading to a nearby restaurant where another delicious meal awaits.

After dinner, we are treated to a guided walk with stargazing. Our guide will share folklore stories and songs about the stars and constellations that have been passed down through the generations, sometimes set to the sounds of the sanshin, a traditional musical instrument. 

Meals: B, L, D


Today we enjoy a slower start to the day with a light breakfast provided in our guesthouses. You may like to take a final stroll around this tranquil village before we leave the forest area. 

Next, we’ll explore the Kin Limestone Cave, home to Japan’s first old sake brewery. Descending 30m underground we’ll discover shelves upon shelves of awamori sake, a unique spirit dating back to the Ryukyu Kingdom. This 270m-long cave is believed to be the auspicious birthplace of Okinawa’s Dragon God and still retains several places of worship. The cave maintains a constant temperature of 18°C, an ideal environment for aging sake.

For lunch, we’ll head to a local café and indulge in Kin town’s famous taimo rice and cuisine based on taro potatoes and tofuyo (Okinawa-style tofu), washed down with koshu – sake that has been meticulously aged in the caves.

After lunch, we’ll check into our hotel. You have a free afternoon to unwind and rejuvenate. Relax in the hotel’s soothing onsen or take a refreshing dip at the nearby beach – the choice is yours.

Tonight’s dinner is an unforgettable culinary experience at a one-of-a-kind French restaurant. Dishes are meticulously crafted by a Japanese chef who honed his skills in France. Using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, each dish is a testament to the chef’s expertise and the region’s rich culinary heritage.

Meals: B, L, D


Following a light breakfast, we’ll head south to Okinawa’s capital city, Naha, where we’ll visit the former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, which stands as a poignant reminder of the island’s tumultuous wartime history. The underground complex served as a critical command centre for the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Today, it is preserved as a solemn memorial and museum. Exploring the labyrinthine tunnels and chambers, you can witness artefacts, photographs and exhibitions detailing the experiences of soldiers and civilians during the battle. 

From here we’ll head to Naha’s first Makishi Public Market, a vibrant and atmospheric place that sprang up shortly after the war and  began as a black market where smuggled goods were traded. On the 1st floor there are many shops selling fish, meat and snacks, and free tastings are on offer. On the 2nd floor there are places to enjoy traditional Okinawan cuisine for lunch (own expense). You can even purchase items on the 1st floor for a chef on the 2nd floor to prepare for you.

After lunch, our journey continues to the historic district of Tsuboya, renowned for its rich cultural heritage and traditional pottery known as Tsuboya-yaki. We’ll then wander through charming cobblestone streets lined with pottery studios, workshops and galleries, immersing ourselves in centuries-old craftsmanship. We’ll explore the local museum and enjoy some free time to soak in the quaint ambiance of this picturesque district.

We then make our way to our hotel for the evening. There is time to enjoy the facilities, including a pool, sauna and relaxation spa. The hotel is centrally located in the Kokusai Dori area, so you may like to head out and explore instead.

Our final dinner is at a nearby Teppanyaki Japanese-style steak restaurant for another delicious meal. The steak on offer is the highest grade Japanese beef reared in Okinawa. After dinner you may like to head out to experience the Sanberro Izakaya before winding down for the night.

Meals: B, D


You’ll enjoy a full buffet breakfast at the hotel this morning before we transfer to Shurijo Castle and a morning of exploring. 

For over 450 years, Shurijo Castle stood as the epicentre of politics, diplomacy and culture in the Ryukyu Kingdom and is a must-visit for any trip to Okinawa. Known for its distinctive red colour and intricate architecture, this historic site has witnessed centuries of triumphs and challenges. It was destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 and rebuilt, then the main part was destroyed again in 2019 by a big fire. Rebuilding works are underway to restore the castle to its former glory. We can still visit the castle and many of its buildings and immerse ourselves in the rich heritage and cultural significance of this iconic landmark.

We’ll have lunch together (own expense) at a wonderful location in the castle grounds and enjoy panoramic views overlooking the city of Naha. 

Following lunch, our immersion into Okinawa and its unique history, culture, nature and incredible food will come to an end. We’ll transfer to Naha Airport with an expected arrival time of 2pm. Flights should not be booked to depart Naha prior to 2.30pm.

Meals: B

Best time to visit
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Average time to visit

Route Map



The vibrant capital city of Okinawa Prefecture exudes a unique blend of tradition and modernity. Steeped in rich Ryukyuan heritage, it boasts historic landmarks like Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, embodying the island’s royal past. The lively Kokusai Street offers a bustling mix of shops, eateries, and markets, where visitors can immerse themselves in local culture.

Kouri Ohashi Bridge

The impressive 1960m-long Kouri Ohashi Bridge is a modern engineering marvel that spans the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean, connecting the islands of Yagaji and Kouri. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a turtle swimming in the crystal-clear waters below. 

Wildlife Conservation Center

The Yanbaru Wildlife Conservation Center Ufugi Nature Museum stands as a beacon of conservation efforts within the lush expanse of Yanbaru National Park. Situated amidst the pristine beauty of subtropical forests, this center serves as a vital hub for research, education and appreciation of the region’s rich biodiversity.

Yanbaru National Park

Nestled in the northern region of Okinawa Island, this pristine natural sanctuary is characterised by lush subtropical forests, mangrove-lined rivers, and breathtaking coastal cliffs. Its network of hiking trails offers immersive experiences through ancient forests, revealing cascading waterfalls, hidden caves, and panoramic vistas over the East China Sea.

Kin Town

Charming Kin Town is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and rich cultural heritage. With its welcoming atmosphere, you can experience the warmth of local hospitality while savouring fresh seafood delicacies and embracing the laid-back island lifestyle.

Kin Limestone Cave

This underground marvel has stunning limestone formations, stalactites and stalagmites, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. Within the cool confines of the cave is a sake cellar where you’ll find shelves upon shelves of this traditional Japanese alcohol being aged.

Shurijo Castle

For over 450 years, Shurijo Castle stood as the epicentre of politics, diplomacy and culture in the Ryukyu Kingdom and is a must-visit for any trip to Okinawa. Known for its distinctive red colour and intricate architecture, this historic site has witnessed centuries of triumphs and challenges.

Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters

This building is a poignant reminder of the island’s tumultuous wartime history. Located in Naha, this underground complex served as a critical command centre for the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Today, it is preserved as a solemn memorial and museum, offering visitors a glimpse into the harsh realities of war.


What's included?

  • 5-days fully guided tour with our expert local bilingual guide
  • Driver/vehicle
  • Specialist local guides (Yanbaru; Kin Town tour/caves; former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters; Shurijo Castle)
  • 4 nights’ premium accommodation
  • Group airport transfers
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary above
  • Entry to Hiji waterfall, UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site
  • Entry to Kin Limestone Cave
  • Entry to former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters
  • Entry to Tsuboya Pottery Museum
  • Entry to Shurijo Castle
  • Travel to/from Naha
  • Additional drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and snacks
  • Lunch on days 4 and 5
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses/items of a personal nature
Ludo_Touitou_675 x 450

Expert guides

Elevate your experience

While every aspect of your trip with us is important, it is our local expert guides who will elevate your Okinawa Island experience. Our lead adventure guide is Ludo. Born and raised on the foothills of the French Alps, Ludo moved to Japan in 1999. His life’s mission is to help people around the world discover the beauty of Okinawa Island and its people. He speaks French, Japanese and English and is also a marine activities instructor, photographer and writer.

Okinawan hiking guide smiling with two hikers in front of mossy stones in a tropical rainforest



Our Okinawa Island Explorer can be run as your own private tour! Get a group together and share a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in this tropical paradise. Private tours are the perfect way to celebrate special occasions. And they are so much fun! Choose the pre-designed itinerary or we can customise the trip to suit your specific needs. It’s that’s easy. Contact us at japan@rawtravel.com to get started.

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TRIP date selection

when would you like to travel?

Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed

single occupancy
22/10/2024 - 26/10/2024
single occupancy
08/04/2025 - 12/04/2025
single occupancy
15/04/2025 - 19/04/2025
single occupancy

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