In 1970 more than 5,000 Okinawans retaliated against years of military occupation in what eventually became known as the Koza riot. Four years later, on April 1, the city recovered its independence and embarked on the path to becoming one of the island’s top destinations for both locals and travelers.
Steeped in history, culture, politics and tradition, the streets of Okinawa City (Okinawa-shi) are alive with an electricity and energy that’s practically unmatched. Large shopping centers, international military bases and world-class botanical gardens all exist side-by-side and offer a testament to the diversity of this city’s past and future. Nearby Shuri Castle, popular Daiichi Makishi Public Market and dozens of live karaoke joints make Okinawa a hub of entertainment and history for travelers that’s worth spending a day—maybe even more—exploring.
Okinawa City is located about 20 kilometers north of Naha. It is the second largest city in Okinawa Prefecture. The city is easy to navigate by bus or on foot.