When you hear “Okinawa” you probably think of one particular island in the southern part of Okinawa. However, Okinawa is also what is known as a prefecture. A prefecture is a section of the country, almost like “New England” although in Japan the prefecture has it’s own government jurisdiction. That being said Okinawa Prefecture is not just one island but a collection of islands.
So how many islands are there to visit and now accessible are they? That’s a great question especially with so many tourism websites focusing on Okinawa Prefecture for the 2013 travel season. There are three different categories of islands in Okinawa Prefecture. The first is the islands accessible via bridge from Okinawa’s main island. The second are the islands accessible via ferry and the third are the islands accessible by plane.
By Car (Average Cost: $0.00)
Okinawa prefecture’s most accessible and affordable islands to visit aren’t far off the cost and don’t require anything more than a car to get to. These islands are connected to Okinawa’s main island via a bridge and you can travel to and fro without any additional cost.
Although these islands are close to the main island they have various unique characteristics making each one worth the trip even if you’re only there for a short drive. One of the things that makes visiting these islands so great is that since you drive to them you don’t have to worry about sticking to a strict schedule like you might have to in order to catch a ferry or plane.
By Ferry (Average Cost: $12.00 to $130.00)
The next set of islands which are close to Okinawa but not close enough for a bridge must be accessed via ferry. In most cases a trip on a ferry will cost anywhere from $12.00 to $130.00 depending on where you are planning on visiting and how you plan to travel. Naturally if you plan to visit the island on food you will pay less but if you want to bring your car the cost will be much higher.
To visit one of these islands you will need to find out which port has ferries which travel to your desired destination. Also be sure to check for the most up to date prices because as always prices are subject to change. One thing you may also want to consider is weather and sea conditions. If sea conditions get too bad (which sometimes even happens on days which seem beautiful) the ferries will stop running which means you may find yourself on the island and unable to return that night. In that case it may be wise to plan ahead in the event that you may need accommodations.
By Plane (Average Cost: $500.00)
Finally are the islands which can be accessed via a plane. These are by far the least accessible and affordable islands to visit. A trip to one of these islands will cost you at least $500.00 per person without accommodations and/or ferry trips to other islands. As with any other destination that requires a plane these islands require the most preparation and consideration when deciding to make the trip.
What islands you want to visit really depends on the amount of time and money that you have as well as what you want our of your trip here to this part of the world.