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Travel and living advice for newcomers to Okinawa

Okinawa view ocean

Okinawa has many attractions such as beautiful beaches, natural mountains, delicious food and drinks, and a comfortable climate all year round.

In this issue, we will continue to introduce the dialect of Okinawa and popular foods in Okinawa, as in the previous issue.

Okinawa is often visited by immigrants from overseas and tourists, but there are some things you need to be aware of if you are actually going to live in Okinawa.

If you are traveling for a few days, you can enjoy Okinawa without thinking too much about it, but if you are staying for a long time or living there for a long period of time, you need to be aware of some points to make your life more comfortable.

If you are looking for Japanese tutors and Japanese lessons in Okinawa, click here.

In this article, we would like to explain such “travel and living advice for those starting a new life in Okinawa.

Okinawa is a great environment for those who do not like the cold

Okinawa has various attractions such as ocean, mountains, and food, but one of the biggest advantages for immigrants is its “mild climate.

Even in winter, the temperature is around 15 degrees Celsius in the morning and evening (rarely falling below 10 degrees Celsius), making it the perfect place for those who are not sensitive to the cold.

Many people wear T-shirts, half pants, and sandals all year round, and even in the morning and evening, they wear long pants and a light outer layer.

In addition, people have the image that “Okinawa is hot! but in fact, the temperature rarely rises above 35°C, and it is quite comfortable if you stay in the shade.

This is a characteristic of the geographical features of Okinawa, which is surrounded by the sea.

Points to keep in mind when living in Okinawa

As mentioned above, there are many advantages to living in Okinawa due to its many attractions, but you should not forget to think about it from a different perspective.

If you are going to live in Okinawa for a long period of time, you should be aware of the “disadvantages” as well.

Let us list some specific disadvantages (points to note).

Lots of rain and high humidity

Okinawa is characterized by high humidity throughout the year.

It reaches over 80% during the rainy season, and even in winter it is nearly 70%.

It also rains a lot, and the annual precipitation tends to be higher than on the mainland, at about 2,000 mm.

Since this is the only subtropical climate in Japan, it is necessary to live in a humidity-controlled environment, using dehumidifiers, dehumidifying agents, and the dehumidification function of air conditioners.

Strong ultraviolet rays

Many people living in Okinawa have tanned skin.

This may be due to the fact that the warm climate allows for a lot of skin exposure, but it is also related to the fact that “ultraviolet rays are strong.

If you are not careful, your skin will burn before you know it, so if you do not want to get sunburned, you need to go out with sunscreen all year round.

Low wages

Okinawa has the disadvantage of low wages compared to mainland Japan.

If you move to Okinawa to work, be prepared for a lower income.

If you have a job that allows you to work through the web, you should be able to live without being affected by this disadvantage.

Products purchased online also require shipping charges.

In Japan, there are many cases where you can purchase items online with free shipping.

However, this is in mainland Japan, and excludes Okinawa and other distant lands.

Even if you purchase products online, you will need to pay a separate shipping fee, which is also quite expensive.

Therefore, if you are a frequent online shopper, you should be careful.

Also, be prepared for the disadvantage of “slow delivery” as well as high shipping costs.

Traffic jams abound.

Some people think of Okinawa as a relaxing landscape, but it is a land of very many cars, so there is a high likelihood of traffic jams in the morning and evening.

Naha City in particular is prone to traffic jams because it is the central city of Okinawa and attracts many tourists.

If you live far from your place of work, your commute may be longer than you expect.

Okinawa view traffic

Noise can be a problem.

There are U.S. military bases in Okinawa, and many passenger planes take off and land in the area.

Therefore, there is inevitably a lot of noise.

If you are a nervous type of person, you may feel stressed.

Many typhoons

Okinawa has more typhoons than the mainland.

In terms of the number of typhoons per year, Okinawa has 7.7 typhoons compared to 5.8 on the mainland.

Although the number of direct hits has been decreasing in recent years, the force of a direct hit is still tremendous and causes extensive damage.

Typhoons are concentrated between July and October, so it is necessary to take proper measures against typhoons during this period.

Okinawa view typhoon

Lax in thinking

It can be said that many Okinawans are appropriate and laid-back in a good sense of the word.

They are often late for meeting times (known as “Uchina time”), and few people think more deeply than necessary.

This is not a disadvantage and can be considered a great attraction.

However, if you are impatient or want to work in a fast-paced environment, you may consider it a disadvantage.


In this article, we have discussed “travel and living advice for those starting a new life in Okinawa.

Okinawa has many attractive aspects (advantages), but if you are going to live there for a long period of time (or stay for a long period of time on vacation), you may find some disadvantages.

Be sure to go to Okinawa with a clear understanding of the disadvantages (cautions) listed here.

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