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Ryukyu Islands

Travel Guide Asia Japan Kyushu Ryukyu Islands

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Introduction

GW2008 - Shuuri Ryukyuan dancers2

GW2008 - Shuuri Ryukyuan dancers2

© All Rights Reserved agc_cwm

The Ryukyu Islands are a chain of islands in the southwest of Japan, southwest of the island of Kyushu, the region it is in.

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Geography

The islands consist of the Satsunan Islands to the north, belonging to Kagoshima Prefecture, and Ryūkyū Shotō to the south, belonging to Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Yoron Island is the southernmost island of the Satsunan Islands, and Yonaguni is the southernmost of the Ryukyu Islands. The largest of the islands is Okinawa Island.

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Cities

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Getting There

By Plane

Naha Airport (OKA) is the main gateway to Okinawa and thus the Ryukyu Islands. Destinations include all of the major Japanese cities and international destinations include Seoul Incheon International Airport, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Taipei, Hong Kong International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

To/from the airport

  • Rail: The Okinawa Monorail carries passengers from the airport station to the centre of Naha, and to the terminal at Shuri Station, which is closest to Shuri Castle.
  • Bus: Bus service is available to many parts of Okinawa Island.
  • Car: taxis and rental cars are widely available, and there are many parking places available, both for short-term as well as long-term parking.

By Boat

International
The weekly ferries between Keelung and Kaohsiung in Taiwan and Ishigaki and Miyako in the Okinawa Prefecture have been suspended since 2008. The trip took about 18 hours and boats left Taiwan on Mondays and Okinawa on Thursdays or Fridays. There is talk of new ferries between Japan (either Okinawa or 'mainland' Japan) and Taiwan, but up until now (October 2009) there is no ferry.

Domestic
Ferries connect Naha with a number of ports on Kyushu and Honshu, including Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Kobe, Osaka and Kagoshima. A one way trip from Tokyo to Naha takes around 44 hours and is only one ferry per week. From Kagoshima on the southern tip of Kyushu, ferries depart for Naha every day though and this is probably the better option if you want to go to Okinawa by ferry as it takes about 25 hours.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 9:20 on Feb 18, 11 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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