Okinawa is located midway between the Japan archipelago and the Asian Continent. The history of Okinawa has been strongly affected by overseas influences unlike anywhere else in Japan. Until the middle of the 19th century, the original Ryukyu Kingdom developed due to trade with Asian countries. Later, Ryukyu became Okinawa Prefecture and officially became Japanese territory in 1879; however, following World War II, Okinawa was ruled by the U.S. Army for 27 years, until its reversion to Japanese control in 1972.
As Okinawa has the historical distinction of having gradually become a part of Japanese society, it is a prefecture like no other in Japan. This complicated and prosperous history can still be seen in a large number of historical structures including the U.S. military bases, World Heritage sites as well as the daily lives of people in Okinawa. This is a conspicuous regional characteristic of Okinawa.
Today, Okinawa places a particular emphasis on tourism. With its warm weather and unique culture, the island is rapidly growing in popularity as a tourist destination, attracting more than 6,000,000 visitors each year from mainland Japan and abroad.
During the Ryukyu Kingdom era, Okinawa gave birth to a rich and distinctive culture which is very different from that of mainland Japan. The Ryukyu Kingdom flourished in its day through trading with Japan, China and other countries in East and Southeast Asia. Adopting cultural elements of their societies, the Ryukyu’s established a unique culture of its own.
Some of the important factors that make up the culture of Okinawa include Ryukyuan palace cuisine, awamori, arts and crafts such as bingata and lacquerware, all of which have their roots in Okinawa’s history as a trading nation. Originally developed to entertain envoys from China during the time of the Ryukyu Kingdom, Okinawa’s court performing arts, including classical dances such as the kumi-odori, in which dancers perform in exquisite costumes, and music played on the sanshin, flute, kokyu (Chinese fiddle) and koto (Japanese zither), are characterized by their elegance. These aspects of culture and tradition are now attracting extensive attention both at home and abroad.
Okinawa Prefecture consists of 160 islands stretching 400 kilometers north to south and 1,000 kilometers east to west between the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea, of which 49 are inhabited. The chain is known as the Ryukyu Islands.
Okinawa belongs to a subtropical climatic region and has an annual average temperature of 23.3 degrees Celsius. A seasonal wind blows from the south in summer and from the north in winter. About 10-15 typhoons hit Okinawa each year during the summer and autumn months. When a typhoon warning is announced, bus service stops and school and public offices are closed.
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Agent of Route21 Ltd., Masashi Yonaha will provide you real estate market information of Okinawa as in a form of column.
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