Travel Guide: Camping in Okinawa Islands

Camping Okinawa

Okinawa offers a unique camping experience. The climate is subtropical/tropical – which means that it has hot and humid summers, and mild to cool winters. The temperatures never go below 13 degrees Celsius, or 55 degrees Fahrenheit, though the wind chill factor may say otherwise. Sleeping bags should have synthetic insulation (for the humidity) and be rated for 40-60 degrees. Tents should include a rain fly, and be strong enough to withstand strong winds, especially if you are camping right on the open beach.

Cape Hedo, on the northernmost shores of Okinawa, Japan, is a hidden gem for campers and anglers who prefer to get away from all the conveniences and amenities of civilization. Okinawa has many campgrounds that are managed and accommodated, with restrooms, showers, and places to rent equipment and buy supplies. For the purist, however, all that’s needed is a patch of ground (or sand) to pitch their tent on.

It is quite likely that it will rain, but days of constant downpour shouldn’t be a worry. Bring rain gear, and have it on hand at all times. Okinawa gets about 200 – 250 inches of rain during the summer months. The rainy season is May – June. Typhoon season is June – November, but most typhoons occur through September. In the summer, make sure to have plenty of water and sunscreen.

The best times to visit are in spring (late March – April) and fall (October – November). If you go in the spring, be aware of Golden Week (several national holidays). Golden Week can be a busy time, unless you opt for camping on one of the small islands.

Anglers will find a delightful variety of fishing opportunities. Okinawa has some of the best offshore fishing in the world. Many fishing charters offer the chance to catch some tuna, mahi mahi, marlin, and many others. There is also great fishing from the shore, with either flies or lures. When shore fishing, a heavier weight and stronger rod are needed than you would think, for the fish you are going for. Fish commonly found along the shores include a variety of snappers, and even eels.

A few things to watch out for are the giant killer wasps called Suzumebachi, Mukade, a giant centipede, and Habu snakes. These critters can ruin a trip, so stay away from them if you find them, and have a plan for emergency medical attention. Apart from those three, ants and mosquitoes can make camping miserable, much like other parts of the world. The problem with warmer weather all year long is they are always present. Okinawa also has several dangerous species of jellyfish. If you plan on getting wet, heed the warnings. Having alerted you to the dangers, know that the greatest risk to human health is sunburn.

There are many tourist attractions, but it is hard to beat the crystal clear surfs and close islands teeming with tropical foliage. Be prepared, obey the signs, and enjoy an amazing outdoor experience.

Travel to Okinawa!
Daiki Mori

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