Saturday, March 12, 2011

Visitors Welcome!

Okinawa makes it on the New York Times The 41 Places to Go in 2011:

"39. Okinawa, Japan
A ‘Japanese Amazon’ with some luxury thrown in.

The latest news about Okinawa might focus on the future of the American military base there, but the cluster of coral-lined islands has long been a uniquely lovely place to experience wild Japan. Few foreigners make it here, though Okinawa is a popular vacation spot for Japanese mainlanders as it’s just a few hours from Tokyo by plane and has excellent diving, hiking and palm-fringed white-sand beaches.

Playing off an increased awareness of the islands as a destination for non-Japanese tourists, new hotels are popping up all over the prefecture: InterContinental opened the first two luxury resorts last year, and in March, the Tera Resort Hotel is scheduled to open near the Shuri Castle ruins, which are part of a Unesco World Heritage Site. On Okinawa Island visitors should head to the northern coast for a decidedly unspoiled, natural experience replete with sugarcane fields, hibiscus-lined beaches, and traditional ceramics studios that use old-fashioned Okinawan firing techniques and dragon-shaped kilns. Farther southwest, the island of Iriomote is the wildest of them all, with dense coastal jungle, mangroves, rich indigenous wildlife, and tiny villages accessible only by boat. They don’t call it the Japanese Amazon for nothing.

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