AirAsia Launches New Route To Okinawa & This Subtropical Japanese Paradise Looks Stunning!

Time for a beach getaway with a twist!

Cover image via Visit Okinawa

This Spotlight is sponsored by AirAsia.

AirAsia now flies from Kuala Lumpur to Okinawa (via Taipei), making it the carrier with the most connections between Malaysia and Japan

Image via Japan Rail Pass

Beginning 22 January 2020, AirAsia will be flying from Kuala Lumpur to Okinawa four times weekly via Taipei. This will be the sixth international destination in Japan, after Tokyo (Haneda and Narita), Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka, and Nagoya (via Bangkok).

Here are the flight details:
- Fare: All-in one-way fare for BIG members, from only RM399.
- Booking Period: Now until 1 December 2019
- Travel Period: 22 January - 27 March 2020

Book your flights here! 

Okinawa is an island paradise that offers a unique Japanese experience that you won't find anywhere else

Cape Manzamo.

Image via Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts

When we think of Japan, the things that come to mind are fast-paced bustling cities that never sleep. But in Okinawa, you'll be greeted with a laid-back beach culture set with a glorious tropical backdrop.

Even the history, food, and traditional outfits are different from the mainland. This is a Japanese experience that absolutely can't be missed!

Traditional Okinawan clothing is known as Ryusou.

Image via International Traveller

Okinawa is a prefecture that consists of 160 picturesque islands in the southernmost part of Japan. It is renowned for its beautiful waters and rich marine life, and is consistently ranked highly when it comes to the best Japanese destinations for scuba diving and snorkelling.

Here are 5 reasons why you should treat yourself to a vacation in Okinawa:

1. This is one of the top holiday destinations for locals to enjoy a tropical getaway without the scorching heat

Ishigaki, the main island of Okinawa’s Yaeyama island group.

Image via Matador Network

During Winter, the temperatures rarely drop below 15°C, meaning you can enjoy the gorgeous tropical beaches and cool weather at the same time. It's also one of the first places in Japan where the cherry blossoms bloom, as early as mid January onwards!

Meanwhile, in Summer, the water temperature is between 25°C–28°C, making it perfect for scuba diving and other water fun.

Nago Central Park, Northern Okinawa

Image via Matcha

2. There's a huge variety of things to do that cater to every kind of traveller

Enjoy 5-star resorts in Okinawa.

Image via OCVB

Naha offers awesome dining, nightlife, and cultural options. If you're looking for a luxurious escape, head to Nago and Onna for 5-star beachside resorts.

Okinawa Honto, the main island, is home to top sights like Nakijin Castle and Manza Cape. To immerse yourself in authentic Okinawa culture and untouched beaches, venture to the outer islands.

Naminoue Shrine in Naha.

Image via Gaijin Pot

You can have a laid back vacay, relaxing on the white sandy beaches, or an action-packed holiday full of water adventures. Maybe you want to indulge and spoil yourself at a luxurious resort, or want to live like a local and enjoy Japanese cultural experiences.

Whatever you desire, Okinawa is sure to fulfill all your #wanderlust goals!

Nakijin Castle Ruins: A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Image via Okinawa Clip

3. The snorkelling and diving are world famous because of Okinawa's crystal clear waters and rich marine life

Image via Voyagin

Okinawa is famous for beautiful clear waters, tropical fish, and coral reefs. So snorkelling and diving are must-do activities! Both Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island are well-known diving spots that attract divers from all over the world. The best part is that due to the subtropical climate, you can get in the water all year round (even during Winter!)

Three species of sea turtles nest in Okinawa, while two others pass through the waters during migrations. With the amazing water visibility and shallow, warm waters, Okinawa is one of the best places in the world to swim with turtles. It's also very beginner-friendly!

Image via The Trip Guru

4. Okinawa is home to the Churaumi Aquarium, which is considered Japan's best aquarium

Image via Visit Okinawa

If diving isn't your thing, you can still admire marine life at the three-storey Churaumi Aquarium, which houses over 700 different species.

The highlight of the aquarium is the Kuroshio Tank, the largest in the world. Here, you'll be able to observe giant whale sharks, manta rays, tropical deep sea fish, and more!

From late December to early April, you can even go whale watching. The ocean around Okinawa is full of life, and this is the season when humpback whales are sure to be spotted in the wild.

Jump on a boat from the main island for a close-up encounter with these beautiful creatures!

5. Okinawan cuisine is so unique and unlike the usual Japanese fare we're used to (plus it's said to be the secret to long life!)

Umi Budo are sea grapes known as "green caviar."

Image via Okinawa Clip

Unlike typical Japanese cuisine, Okinawa has developed a unique food culture which is influenced by China, Southeast Asia, and even the USA.

Their cuisine is renowned with traditional dishes featuring lots of fresh seafood, slow-cooked pork, and locally grown produce such as goya (bitter melon) and sea grapes.

Okinawan style soba noodles.

Image via Travel Zoo

Fun fact: Okinawa is known as the "land of immortals" because the residents have among the longest life spans and the highest rates of centenarians in the world! The people also have low rates of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

The secret to their long and healthy lives? Researchers believe their diet is the key reason! So eat up while you're there ;)

To be honest there are a million other reasons why you have to go to Okinawa. Now's your chance to find out why!

Image via Ryukyumura

Fly AirAsia to Okinawa all-in one-way from RM399 for BIG members. Get more information here!

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