If you only had one weekend on Okinawa what would you do? I was recently asked by a solo female world traveler (which by the way is super awesome) for some suggestions of what to do on Okinawa. She specifically mentioned nature, culture and meeting people 100+ years old. Unfortunately I don't have too many suggestions for meeting people 100+ years old over the weekend but I can help with nature and culture.
The first suggestion that I have for someone like yourself with limited time on the island is Okinawa World. Now yes I realize that this is a tourist attraction and generally speaking travelers like to avoid tourist attractions. I strongly encourage you, however, to make an exception for Okinawa World. This is your one stop shop for culture without being here for a long period of time. You can see the various trades okinawa is known for, song and dance the is usually only performed on special occasions are performed throughout the day, you can also walk through a beautiful cave (another thing Okinawa is known for) which is something you wouldn't have the opportunity to do otherwise.
When it comes to nature Okinawa's full of it! Although you can find parks and hidden spaces through Okinawa if you're serious about getting in touch with nature you're going to want to head up to the northern part of the island. One popular place to visit is Hiji Falls. This is a waterfall which is located in the northern part of Okinawa. I have included a video below. There is a cost to get it, I believe it's 500 yen. I do have to warn, however, that weather conditions and/or other hazards may result in the area being closed.
If you can't make Hiji Falls or if you are interested in doing something a bit less structured you can check out Todoroko No Taki which is also located in the northern part of Okinawa. (Please check my map by clicking here for the location) Aside from the falls there are also various hiking paths that you can explore.
Now for something free! The Yamada Stone Bridge and walking trails in the area are a great way to see some very cool history and enjoy nature. I have included a video. I do not have a link to the area but I have it marked out on my map which you can see by clicking here!
You will also see signs in the area so it is not too hard to find. Also check out the map for other things around that you might be interested in checking out.
There are two other things that I want to mention when it comes to nature. The first is parks. Parks are all over the island and even though they are in the middle of the city sometimes they transport you away into nature. Here is one park that I very much enjoyed. I also marked it on my map:
Now you might have noticed that I did not mention some of the other more popular places to visit here in Okinawa like Peace Prayer Memorial Park or the Aquarium but that's because you probably already know about those places and I want to suggest something you might not know about. Well I hope that this helps. Again check the map for some other suggestions of places you might enjoy.