Okinawa cruises

Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands in the Pacific Ocean, and is the homeland of Karate, however the tunnels of its World War II underground Navy Headquarters tell of another type of combat. Having nearly been destroyed in 1945, during one of the most extreme battles of World War Two, the island has rebuilt and renovated itself, whilst still retaining much of its rich cultural history.

Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • WWII Battle of Okinawa

    Learn about the heart rending events that occurred in Okinawa during the Second World War.

    WWII Battle of Okinawa

    The Battle of Okinawa, fought over 90 days between the Allied and Japanese forces, wiped out half of the civilian population of Okinawa. Learn more about the decisions that caused such hardship when you visit the Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters. Take in the wide panoramic views before descending the 105 steps down into the sunless warren of tunnels that make up this museum. Walking along these dark and dank roughly hewn passageways will show you the terrible conditions the soldiers lived, fought and ultimately died in.

    Back in the fresh air you’ll pay a visit to the Himeyuri Peace Museum, dedicated to 222 young school girls who went to war. Mobilised as a nursing unit, they took their books and bags with them, so they wouldn’t miss out on their studies, but instead ended up on the front line performing surgery and burying the dead. Here their lives are represented by the simple remaining personal effects on display and memoirs collected.

    You can learn more about the atrocities of this battle when you visit the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, which covers the military history of Okinawa, from its annexation into Japan to the American post war occupation. During the 90 days the battle raged, 240,734 people died, whether by disease, starvation, enemy fire or suicide and you’ll have time to contemplate and reflect over this with a visit to the serene Peace Memorial Park.

    This excursion will operate by coach on foot. Please be advised that the Museums exhibit sensitive material including some graphic images and displays on the atrocities of war. This tour is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties. Order of visit may vary. Japanese Yen is required for additional purchases.

    Tour code

    OKA_003

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    5 hours

  • Traditions of Okinawa

    Beauty and craft are hallmarks of the region’s culture, and this tour invites you to participate in the treasured art of Bingata.

    Traditions of Okinawa

    One of the defining art forms from the Ryukyu dynasty is the art of Bingata. Originally only intended for the Royal family and favoured members of court society, this colourful and elegant art form has continued into modern times.

    When you visit the Naha Traditional Craft centre, you will have the chance to create your own piece of Bingata, which is a form of textile printing. This is not only a fun way of creating a lasting memento of your holiday or a thoughtful souvenir, but it is also one of the best places to purchase high quality Okinawan souvenirs, still made in the traditional way.

    After learning the techniques of the past, you’ll head to the centre of the Ryukyu dynasty with a visit to the Shurijo Castle, where it will now be easier to imagine the kings and courtiers of the bygone past in their Bingata regalia. With a mixture of modern museum and faithful reconstruction, this castle provides not only wonderful views, but a look at a time now lost but not forgotten.


    This excursion is conducted by coach and on foot.The Bingata dyeing process could leave permanent stains on clothing, so please wear appropriate clothing, and take care when producing your Bingata. Photography is permitted in the grounds of Shurijo Castle, but not in the museum. As part of the lacquer application process, the left or right side of Shuri Castle Seiden may be covered with a white cloth for temperature and humidity adjustments. Shoes must be removed during visiting the south and main halls at Shurijo Castle. There is approximately 1½ hours of walking on this tour, including steps and uneven surfaces. Only Japanese Yen will be accepted by local vendors.

    Tour code

    OKA_004

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4½ hours

  • Naha Highlights

    Experience Okinawa’s past and present on a tour of Naha city.

    Naha Highlights

    Naha city, can boast to being home to the World UNESCO Heritage site of Shurijo Castle, the seat of power during the 500-year reign of the Ryukyuan Kingdom. Destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in 1992, the castle’s hilltop location provides gorgeous views over the city of Naha. During your visit, discover its importance, most evident in the main hall, the Seiden. Re-built in the original style, the lavish décor and striking red colour is unique to Shuri Castle, giving you a taste of the original splendour which surrounded the Ryukyu Kings.

    Coming back down to earth, you’ll discover the lively Kokusai Street, which is Naha’s commercial heart. You’ll have approximately 1 hour’s free time to enjoy this international street of hotels, department stores, theatres and restaurants, which combine cosmopolitan flavour with local colour. For a truly unique experience you can visit the Makishi Public Market. Here you will see colourful local produce, fresh fish and meats, and many busy food stalls where sweet and savoury snacks are cooked on the spot. This lively and bustling “kitchen of Okinawa” is the perfect place to stop, see and taste some edible wonders!

    With your camera full of photos and your stomach full of delicious local treats, re-board your motorcoach for the short trip back to port.


    This excursion is conducted by coach and on foot. Order of visits may vary. Photography is permitted at Shurijo Castle but not in the museum. Visitors to Shurijo Castle must negotiate steep steps and uneven surfaces. There is approximately a 1 hour guided tour around Shurijo Castle. Not recommended for passengers with limited mobility. Comfortable, flat, walking shoes and bottled water are recommended. Shoes must be removed during visiting the south and main halls at Shurijo Castle. Only Japanese Yen will be accepted by local vendors.

    Tour code

    OKA_002

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    4 hours

  • Ancient Kingdom

    Celebrate the festivals, crafts, foods and spirit of Okinawa on a tour that transports you to two of the island’s most treasured cultural sites.

    Ancient Kingdom

    The independent Kingdom of Ryukyu lasted until the 19th century, when it was incorporated into the Empire of Japan and became Okinawa. This means that Okinawa has a legacy of culture and customs found nowhere else in Japan.

    Explore the crafts, cuisine and costumes of this lost kingdom at the Ryukyu Mura, a re-created village, where the old customs are being kept alive. Listen to the sanshin guitar and watch the parade and performances through the town. Surrounded by traditional architecture, you can shop for souvenirs or try the local delicacies.

    Afterwards, head for the peaceful and delightful late 18th century Shikinaen Garden, built for Ryukyu royalty. Simple wooden buildings and pavilions with tile roofs are artfully situated among traditionally landscaped grounds, graceful stone bridges, small forests and ponds. Meander the paths, take in all the colour of the fragrant blooms and delight in the delicate mix of Japanese and Chinese architecture, which is particularly Okinawan in flavour.

    This excursion is conducted by coach and on foot. The order of sites may vary. There is approximately two hours of walking on this tour. Shikinaen Garden contains uneven paths and steps. The Ryukyu Mura parade area can get crowded at times. Comfortable, flat, walking shoes and bottled water are recommended. Only Japanese Yen will be accepted by local vendors.

    Tour code

    OKA_001

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    5 hours

  • Caves & Castles

    Discover Okinawa on this comprehensive, full day tour that has something for everyone.

    Caves & Castles

    Start your sightseeing journey of Okinawa by visiting the highlight of Naha, the Shurijo Castle. Join your guide as you tour the castle and its museum, which brings alive the old kingdom through its faithfully reconstructed halls, royal tombs and the impressive Shureimon Gate.

    Throughout Okinawa’s past the island’s limestone caves have played an integral part in the lives of people, from shelter from typhoons, refuge and battlefields during war to even being the film backdrop of the Godzilla films. The largest and most spectacular of them all is the Gyokusendo Cave. At over 3 miles long, this spectacular cavern is filled with small streams, waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites which have been forming over the past 300,000 years. You’ll have the opportunity to visit this cave which is part of Okinawa World, a park set up to recreate a traditional Ryukyu village, with demonstrations and shops featuring traditional crafts. Don’t miss the spectacular traditional ‘Eisa’ performance, which includes impressive drumming and dancing.

    Another use for the caves was storage of a local spirit only made in Okinawa, Awamori. Still only produced on the island, it is similar to its more famous counterpart Sake in that fact that it is created from rice, however Awamori is distilled not brewed. With a visit to local brewery, you will have the chance to discover the unique beverage for yourself.


    This tour is conducted by coach and on foot. If choosing to enter the cave, be aware that passages may be slippery in places. There are numerous steps throughout the cave. It is not recommended for those with claustrophobia. Photography is permitted at Shurijo Castle but not in the museum. Visitors to Shurijo Castle must negotiate steep steps and uneven surfaces. Shoes must be removed during visiting the south and main halls at Shurijo Castle. Only Japanese Yen will be accepted by local vendors.

    Tour code

    OKA_006

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    7½ hours

  • Okinawa Past and Present

    Cultural delights abound with this a full day of sightseeing in central Okinawa.

    Okinawa Past and Present

    Okinawa was once a kingdom in itself, with it not falling under Japanese dominion until the latter half of the 19th century. To truly discover the history and heritage of the former Ryukyu people, a visit to the Ryukyu Mura is a must.

    Buildings from all over Okinawa’s Ryukyu period have been lovingly relocated here, allowing you to discover and learn all about the beauty, culture and crafts of this vanishing society. Immerse yourself in traditional skills, such as pottery and playing the Sanshin guitar. In between shopping for the handmade souvenirs you can enjoy the traditional parade of dancing and music.

    After lunch you’ll continue the Ryukyu Kingdom theme, with a visit to Shurijo Castle, where you have a guided tour, and a chance to experience this gilded highlight of Okinawa.

    Stepping forward in time, you’ll see how both past and present are represented in Kokusai Street. This bustling hub of enterprise is a joy to discover and with plenty of free time here you can delight yourself in the sensory tableau of local life.


    If choosing to enter the cave, be aware that passages may be slippery in places. There are numerous steps throughout the cave. It is not recommended for those with claustrophobia. Photography is permitted at Shurijo Castle but not in the museum. Visitors to Shurijo Castle must negotiate steep steps and uneven surfaces. Shoes must be removed during visiting the south and main halls at Shurijo Castle. Parts of the Shuri Castle Seiden may be covered with a white cloth. Only Japanese Yen will be accepted by local vendors.

    Tour code

    OKA_005

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    8 hours