After arriving at Naha Airport, meet your driver for a private transfer to a centrally located hotel. The remainder of the day is free for relaxing or exploring your surroundings.
Today you'll enjoy a full day private tour around Naha, covering all the local cultural attractions. Your tour begins at the Tsuboya Pottery Steet, the famous iconic Okinawa's pottery and you might even have a chance to look into some of the function workshops. Next, you will head to a shop to experience Buku-Buku Tea that literally means "the tea of happiness". This tea is made from roasted rice and tea leaves and was served on special occasions during the Okinawa's ancient history. You will have a chance to make the tea for yourself!
You'll have time to have lunch on your own before heading to Shuri Castle. Originally built in the 14th century, the castle was the cultural and political center of the Ryuku Kingdom. The castle is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, designated as one of the "Castles of the Ryukyu Kingdom". Later in the day, you'll return to your hotel and dinner will be on your own this evening.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Naha)
After breakfast and later in the morning, you'll head to a secluded island for a snorkeling adventure.* It's no surprise that Okinawa is often referred to as the "Japanese Hawaii". You'll join a boat of participants, and along with the help of a knowledgeable local guide, enjoy the warm, brilliant blue waters that attract a huge variety of marine life. Returning to Naha in the afternoon, the remainder of the day is at your leisure.*This tour is suitable for all levels, even beginners. Participants however must be between the age of 5 - 65 years in order to take part. Please note that the tour cannot accommodate expectant mothers or those with cardiac, respiratory or circulatory illnesses. Those with diabetes or epilepsy may also not participate. Your party will have their own guide, and due to limited space in the boats, it will accommodate a maximum of 4 people.
(Breakfast, & Accommodations, Naha)
The day is at your leisure, but you will soon discover on this evening's local food tour*, traditional Okinawan cooking is in a class of its own. Given that geographically it is closer to Taiwan than Japan, the cuisine of Okinawa is very different to that of its mainland counterpart, and is not well-known by the western world.
Your guide will meet you at your hotel, then we'll go by public transportation to Makishi Market. Most other seafood markets in Japan will only allow you to look at the food on offer, but here, you can select an item of your choice and take it upstairs to be freshly prepared in front of you. You'll be able to choose an item to share between your group, and this will be our first stop on today's food safari.
Next you'll take a 10-minute stroll through the popular Kokusaidoori district, which is lined with plenty of alluring izakayas, a type of informal Japanese pubs. Although all of the restaurants down this stretch of road look tempting, please hold back, as your guide will take you to one of the top spots in town. You'll discover that the owner, waiter, and chef, are three roles usually played by the same person! Here, you will experience a delicious bowl of Soki Soba; Okinawan-style noodles served with a tender pork rib brisket. Your guide will also introduce you to other smaller dishes to share, which will include champuru (a stir-fry dish with tofu and vegetables), mimiga (a thinly sliced or shredded pork dish) and umibudo (a side dish resembling a leaf or green stalk). You'll also have one cup of the local Awamori, a rice liquor made from a distillation process that makes it closer to soju than to sake.*There will be a maximum of 4 participants on the tour and the legal drinking age in Japan is 20 years of age. While your guides will do their best to cater to dietary requirements, it may not be possible to honor all requests.
(Breakfast, Light Dinner & Accommodations, Naha)
Today is at your leisure for exploring independently, however for those who may be interested in war history, there is an optional full-day Private War Heritage Tour available. Near the end of World War Two, Okinawa Honto became the site of one of the war's bloodiest battles, when the US forces invaded and occupied the island. The devastating effects of the war continues to have a profound impact on Okinawa.
On your way, your guide will inform you about the various points of interest on the tour. The first stop is the Former Navy Underground Headquarters, which consists of several hundred meters of underground corridors and rooms that served as the Japanese navy's headquarters during the war. Visitors can see in one area a room whose walls have been riddled with shrapnel from a grenade. Next, a visit to the Peace Memorial Park, which is located near the southern tip of the island. Its main attraction is the Peace Memorial Museum, which gives a sobering overview of events leading up to the battle, the battle itself, and the subsequent reconstruction of Okinawa.
There will be time allotted for lunch before we continue to Nakagusuku Village. Here, there is a fantastically preserved Japanese military observation point, open year-round. You can also visit Nakagusuku Castle, which was once one of the finest castles in Japan but was led to ruin during World War II. Your tour ends with a return to your hotel late in the afternoon.
(Breakfast & Accommodations, Naha)
After breakfast, meet your driver for your private transfer to Naha Airport for your return flight, or onward to your next Avanti Destination!