Business & Life in Okinawa

With its many attractive features,Okinawa is
agreeable as a place to live and to do business

Okinawa, a subtropical island chain with a genial climate,
is centrally positioned between the Japanese archipelago and East and Southeast Asia.
This makes it the optimal spot geographically to connect
Japan with countries in those regions.
Furthermore, it possesses a rich and unique culture and is blessed by beautiful natural surroundings.
For these reasons, many people both in Japan and
other countries continue to be mesmerized by Okinawa and find it a great place to live.

Okinawa's Main and Remote Islands Okinawa Comprises a Variety of Islands, Each with Features that Make it Unique

Okinawa Prefecture comprises 160 islands of various sizes spread out across a region measuring 1,000 kilometers from east to west and 400 from north to south, with 49 of those islands being actually inhabited. Each area within the chain has features that make it unique: the north with its abundant natural surroundings, the south with Naha City as the prefecture's political and economic center, and the Kerama Islands that are so popular as a place to go diving.

Southern Area of Main Island Okinawa

Southern Area of Main Island Okinawa

The Gateway to Okinawa,
Home to the Political Center of Naha City

Southern Area of Main Island Okinawa

Central Area of Main Island Okinawa

Central Area of Main Island Okinawa

An international area
where the foreign and the local meet

Central Area of Main Island Okinawa

Northern Area of Main Island Okinawa

Northern Area of Main Island Okinawa

The subtropical forests with trees of all sorts are a treasury of rare wildlife

Northern Area of Main Island Okinawa

Yaeyama Islands

Yaeyama Islands

Twelve populated islands,
abundant in nature and culture

Yaeyama Islands

Miyako Islands

Miyako Islands

Featuring some of the world's clearest waters and Japan's longestbridge

Miyako Islands

Remote Islands Surrounding Main Island Okinawa

Remote Islands Surrounding Main Island Okinawa

A resort island close enough
for a day trip from Naha

Remote Islands Surrounding Main Island Okinawa

Okinawa's Attractions The Varied Attractions of Okinawa Nurtured by a Unique History and Traditions

Okinawa is a place where ancient traditions still make their presence strongly felt on day-to-day life. The fascinations of this land are many and varied, including luxuriant subtropical surroundings, craftwork imbued with wisdom and ingenuity, rituals rooted in daily life, and a richly varied cuisine.


Bound by beautiful ocean waters, Okinawa's Kerama Islands and Ishigaki Island has beautiful coral reefs that are popular as some of the world's leading diving spots. Furthermore, the northern part of the main island and Iriomote Island in the Yaeyama island group are both sites of verdant forests inhabited by such distinctive species as the Okinawa Rail and the Iriomote Cat. Organizers also make the most of Okinawa's natural surroundings to hold triathlon here every year.


One of Okinawa's greatest attractions is the fact
that it possesses a colorful culture that runs the gamut from such traditional performing arts as Kumi-odori, or "ensemble dancing" (recognized as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage), and Ryukyu-buyo, or "Ryukyu dance (recognized as a National Important Intangible Cultural Asset), to such traditional handicrafts in as ceramics and dyeing. You can view works of art and objects of interest at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum, or take in a bewitching dance performance at the National Theater Okinawa. Furthermore, Okinawa is the place where karate originated and practitioners of the martial art from around the world come here to train.


Folk performing arts that have been handed down since antiquity are still very much in evidence both on Okinawa's main island and its remote islands. People hold events that differ from season to season and place to place across the islands. They include festivals meant to give thanks for a good harvest or prayer for plentiful crops, as well as rites meant to entertain and welcome deities. The popular Eisa folk dance accompanied by magnificent drumming and swaying performers is an old Bon Festival rite to memorialize ancestors. Okinawa City in the center of the main island has been proactive in its efforts to maintain and nurture Eisarelated culture.


In Okinawa, you can enjoy a tremendous
variety of cuisines, including traditional Ryukyuan food along with those of mainland Japan, China, and else- where. Steak has taken off in popularity in recent years, and restaurants that serve portions prepared from famous local breeds of cattle are now being joined by ones with offerings featuring beef from else- where in Japan and overseas. Hotels and restaurants using ingredients that are acceptable to Muslim diners are also on the rise. Beyond that, Okinawa is also known for its produce, includ- ing fruits such as pineapple and mangoes and vegetables such as goya (bitter gourd) and hechima (sponge cucumber).

Event Calendar

  • Motobu Yaeyama
  • Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Pro-Baseball Spring Training
  • Okinawa Marathon
  • Higashi Village Azalea Festival
  • Beach Going Season
  • All Japan Triathlon
  • Naha Harii
  • Itoman Harley
  • Ocean Expo Park Summer Festival
  • Summer All-Island Bull Fights
    (aka Bull Sumo) on
  • Tourism Day during Tourism Month
  • Okinawa
    Zento Eisa Matsuri
  • Okinawa
    Local Products Festival
  • The Great Okinawa
    Trade Fair
  • NAHA Marathon

Medical Care in Okinawa Bringing Security to Life with Advanced Medical Facilities

The prefecture operates six hospitals covering the northern, central, and southern (including Naha) parts of the main island as well as the Miyako and Yaeyama islands, respectively, as well as another 16 clinics associated with those hospitals.
There are emergency hospitals in every part of the prefecture with staff who can handle foreign languages as well, so the non-Japanese speaker need not be concerned if worst comes to worst.

Nanbu Medical Center
"Doctor Helcopter"(Air ambulance)

Emergency Hospitals with Foreign Language-Speaking Staff (as of August, 2020)

ENEnglish  CNChinese  KRKorean 

  • For other languages, please refer to the "Medical Institution Usage Guide". 
Northern Okinawa Medical Center
1712-3 Umusa, Nago City
Okinawa Kyodo Hospital
4-10-55 Kohagura, Naha City
Urasoe General Hospital
4-16-1 Iso, Urasoe City
Tomishiro Central Hospital
25 Ueda, Tomigusuku City
Makiminato Central Hospital
1199 Makiminato, Urasoe City
Nanbu Tokushukai Hospital
171-1 Hokama, Yaese Town
610 Noborikawa, Okinawa City
Nanbu Medical Center & Nanbu Child Medical Center
118-1 Arakawa, Haebaru Town
Chubu Tokushukai Hospital
2 Gaiku 1, Inside Awase Land Readjustment Zone
Kitanakagusuku Village

Education in Okinawa Providing Information About Education that Takes the Needs of Non-Japanese in Mind

Okinawa Prefecture provides an educational system and guidance on how to enroll in it in multiple languages with the goal of becoming a place where foreign residents can also feel easy when it comes to living here. The local government conducts information sessions about student life and holds orientation sessions on its systems for helping students to enroll. Thanks to its efforts to promote supplying information about the educational system with non-Japanese in mind, anyone relocating here with school-age children should have no concerns on this front.
Okinawa Prefecture is amply prepared with educational institutions. It has (counting both public and private institutions) 343 nursery schools, 276 kindergartens, 274 elementary schools, 156 junior high schools, and 64 high schools, as well as 11 universities, junior colleges, and technical colleges. The prefecture is also home to a number of professional schools and other venues where the interested student can study Japanese, both for a fee and for free.

International Schools in the Prefecture

Okinawa Amicus International
(Kindergarten, Elementary and Junior High School)
1212-1 Enobi, Uruma City
Okinawa Christian School International
1835 Zakimi, Yomitan Village
New Life Academy
134-1 Noborimata, Nakagusuku Village

Japanese Classes + Japanese Language Vocational School

Okinawa International Exchange &
Human Resources Development Foundation
4-2-16 Isa, Ginowan City
ICLC Okinawa Japanese Language School
Sun Hills Tabaru 2F, 1-4-1 Tabaru, Naha City
SAELU Gakuin
2-4-4 Tomari, Naha City

Japanese Language Acquisition among Resident Foreigners

Approximately 70% of this population can handle everyday Japanese, but more than half have problems with reading and writing. A majority learned Japanese after coming to Japan, and most of them are studying on their own.
(Okinawa Prefecture, "Okinawa Multicultural Promotion Guideline," 2013)

Transportation in Okinawa Expectations for Growth and Increased Convenience with Infrastructure Development Underway; Easy to Get Here and Around for Locals and Non-Locals Alike

Most people get around Okinawa by car, but the prefecture also has a variety of expressway and regular route buses as well as an increasing number of rental car options.The Okinawa Urban Monorail Yui Rail that began service in 2003, connects 19 stations between Naha Airport and Urasoe City (as of February 2024), has also established itself as a mean of transport for locals and tourists alike.
As to air travel, aside from the main gateway of Naha Airport Okinawa is also home to 12 other facilities such as the Shin-Ishigaki Airport scattered about its remote islands. Currently, Naha is with 24 cities in Japan and another 10 cities overseas primarily around other regions in Asia.

Make transfers easier with Norimono NAVI

Norimono NAVI, a comprehensive information system for buses and Yui Rail on the main island of Okinawa, is available in English, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, and Korean.
"OKICA" a transportation IC card that can be used for both local buses and Yui Rail, allows passengers to pay for their fare by simply touching the card to the reader.

Norimono NAVI official website

Relieving Congestion with Bus-Only Lanes

Okinawa is crisscrossed by bus routes. the main traffic arteries in Okinawa have bus-only lanes, meaning riders can get to where they are going without having to worry too much about the effects of traffic jams.

Okinawa Urban Monorail Yui Rail

Initial fare of ¥230. Charge of ¥370 from Naha Airport Station to Tedako-Uranishi Station. One-day passes are also available.

Yui Rail official website

Yui Rail Route Map

Safety and Disaster Prevention in Okinawa Making All-Out Efforts to Prepare for Disasters and Create a Safe and Secure Community

Japan is known as a country that is peaceful and orderly. According to the 2020 Global Peace Index (produced by the Economist magazine from the U.K.), Japan is the 9th most peaceful country in the world.
It should be noted, however, that Okinawa is struck by typhoons. Data from 2011 to 2016 show that they number from 21 to 31 per year, with most coming between July and October. Not all of these typhoons hit Okinawa's islands, but measures must be in place both to avoid having to go out when it's not necessary as well as to be sure to have radios and such to get information in a crisis and to be prepared with flashlights and such in the event of a power outage.

Useful Websites in the Event of Disaster

Most local governments in Okinawa have prepared local community disaster prevention guide maps and evacuation center maps in multiple languages for foreign residents in the event that a typhoon, earthquake, or some other disaster occurs. The Okinawa Disaster Prevention Information Portal also provides information about typhoons, earthquakes, tsunami, advisories, and warnings in English, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), and Korean.

official website

Number of Earthquakes

No earthquakes with a seismic intensity of 5 or greater on the Japan scale have been detected on Okinawa's main island since modern earthquake detection efforts have begun. Furthermore, owing to its distance from the Japanese mainland there is little chance of a disaster occurring here simultaneously. Consequently, Okinawa can be expected to serve as a hub for the distribution of disaster risks.

In the Event of Emergency

Fire, injury, or sudden illness
TEL 119

Dial 119 direct to call for a fire truck or ambulance.

Accidents and crimes
TEL 110

Dial 110 direct to call the police.

Business Support Organizations in Okinawa

IT Innovation and Strategy Center Okinawa (ISCO)
ISCO provides opportunities and sites where can utilize the most advanced IT innovation technology in order to solve economy problems in the problems in the prefecture and create new value.
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)
OIST contributes to science and technology worldwide, attract leading researchers from Japan and abroad to conduct high-quality research, advance the development of a world-class research hub, and nucleate a knowledge cluster that will catalyze technology transfer and industrial innovation in Okinawa.
Okinawa Biotechnology Business Support Center
Agglomeration of biotechnology-related research institutions and companies.
Naha Port Authority
Port administrator of "Naha Port", which is a logistics base connecting Overseas/Domestic and Okinawa.
Okinawa Prefecture Certified Administrative Procedures Legal Specialists Association
Administrative scriveners provide consultation as experts in matters such as residency qualifications and approval procedures for business.
Okinawa Prefecture Judicial Scriveners Association
Judicial scriveners consult as expert in registration procedures.
Okinawa Bar Association
Legal organization that all lawyers with law offices in Okinawa belong to.




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