Okinawa Culture

Welcome to our sparkling islands Okinawa

Where is Okinawa?

To the east of the Eurasian continent and south west of the main islands of Japan, you will find 60 islands of various sizes that depict an arc-like shape. These islands sparkle like small pearls or glittering emeralds, bobbing in the wide blue sea.

Where is Okinawa Map1
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What is Okinawa?

The region forming the southern border of Japan, it is both similar to the main islands and yet also strikingly different. These are unique islands, characterized by their own history, climate, and customs.

Okinawa Culture

Once known as the Ryukyu Kingdom, Okinawa has cultivated its own unique culture through varied influences as a result of trading with the nations of Asia.
This culture, which has accumulated and been passed down over the years, has always provided fuel for the forging of a new era, especially during the times of historical change seen by the islands.

During the times of the Ryukyu Kingdom it was customary to warmly welcome visitors and treat them with respect. There is an ancient phrase in the Okinawan language which means "everyone you meet is your brother, for there is a reason for your meeting." In the same way that this sentiment has been passed down to modern times, the open and frank exchange with people and things from outside the islands, and the gradual accumulation of the resulting new knowledge and discoveries, has led to the cultivation of new culture.

Today, this accumulated culture is deeply rooted in the lifestyle of the Okinawan people, forming a cornerstone of their hearts and minds. Here's an introduction to some of this rich and varied culture.


Unique Okinawan pork dishes make use of so many parts of the pig, it's said that only the oink doesn't get used!

Living in Okinawa Click here for details


Traditional materials, including bingata, kasuri and jofu cloth, have been refined over the years through their use in outfits for Ryukyu dancers, Okinawan plays, and kumi odori dancing.

Crafts in Okinawa Click here for details


Karate originated in Okinawa. The Karate Kaikan was also opened in order to impart the true essence of karate.

Karate in Okinawa Click here for details

Performance arts

Traditional performing arts that still thrive in Okinawa today include the kumi odori dancing that was performed at feasts of welcome during the time of Ryukyu Kingdom, and Ryukyu classical dancing as performed at court. Many new and evolved forms also continue to be created for them.

Amid the ebb and flow of traditional folk arts, the Eisa Bon dance has risen to prominence. The variant performed on a stage, called creative Eisa, has developed to the extent of having a world competition.

Okinawa's performing arts Click here for details