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Okinawa is a resort destination home to blue waters, white beaches, and the Ryukyu palace ruins. Curious about the optimal transportation route from Tokyo to Okinawa? This article compares the travel time and prices between planes, shinkansen (bullet train), ferries, and rental cars.
Photo by Pixta
Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan, is an island with a subtropical climate that remains warm year-round. It is brimming with things to see, including crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and ruins associated with the Ryukyu Kingdom (*1) registered as World Heritage Sites. There is also a rich selection of activities, such as marine sports, festivals, and more!
After sightseeing in Tokyo, we recommend going to Okinawa to bask in a resort atmosphere. This article features how to travel to Okinawa from Tokyo by comparing transportation methods, time, and prices. The information referenced in this article is as of December 2022.
*1 Ryukyu Kingdom: a kingdom that once existed in Okinawa. It flourished with a unique culture that differed from other regions in Japan.
There are 30 one-way flights departing daily from Haneda Airport for Naha Airport between 6:00 to 20:00 via airlines such as ANA, JAL, and Skymark. The total flight time is two hours and 30 minutes, with prices for a one-way ticket ranging from 6,910 to 67,100 yen.
Want to save on airfare? We recommend purchasing Skymark's discount tickets for early morning flights. There are also flights from budget airlines, such as Jetstar and Peach, that depart from Narita Airport. The cheapest airfare is around 7,010 yen, which is quite inexpensive.
Airport limousine buses operate from Naha Airport to each sightseeing location. This makes it a convenient travel option regardless of which destination you are heading to.
The starting taxi fare in Okinawa Prefecture is also low compared to Tokyo and other prefectures. This makes the service easy to use since several taxis are typically dispatched to the area at once.
Photo by Pixta
In the past, the Cruise Ferry Hiryu 21 operated from Ariake Port Terminal in Tokyo to Naha New Port in Okinawa. However, this service was discontinued in December 2014.
Instead, here is an alternative travel route to consider. Take the Shinkansen (bullet train) or a rental car to Kagoshima, Kyushu. Then take the ferry from there.
Picture from Shinkansen - How to Buy Bullet Train Tickets
If you decide to take the Shinkansen, then the southernmost Shinkansen station in Japan will be Kagoshima-Chuo Station in Kagoshima Prefecture. Take a route bus for about 20 minutes from the station to Kagoshima Port. You will then need to take a passenger ship.
Since there is no direct route from Tokyo Station to Kagoshima-Chuo Station, you must first transfer to either Shin-Kobe Station or Hakata Station. The total travel time is six hours and 45 minutes, with train fares at 31,060 yen for an ordinary seat.
International visitors can purchase an unlimited ride pass for the bullet train called the JR PASS at a fixed price. This is an amazing deal if you plan to travel around Japan, so please check it out!
Photo by Pixta
Renting a car will allow you to travel to Kagoshima Port on the expressway. It is approximately 1,400 kilometers from Tokyo to Kagoshima. In total, that is 16 hours of travel time and will cost around 28,000 yen in expressway tolls.
On top of these fares is the cost of renting the car itself. You can enjoy more spontaneous travels and make detours along the way. However, be prepared that it will cost a lot of time and money.
The travel time from Kagoshima New Port to Okinawa Naha Port on the Marix Line, a passenger ship, is 25 hours with fares ranging between 16,770 yen to 39,090 yen. You will also need to pay an additional car transportation fare if you bring your rental car.
These travel methods require time and money. However, please consider these options if you wish to experience traveling by Shinkansen, ferry, or car. Alternatively, this route is for those yearning for a slow, relaxing trip.
MATCHA has an exclusive 10% discount coupon for international visitors when renting a vehicle from Nippon Rent-A-Car, one of Japan's leading rental car companies.
Naturally, there are numerous Nippon Rent-A-Car offices around Tokyo and Okinawa. Be sure to check it out if you're considering renting a car!
Please refer to this article when choosing a travel method that best suits your traveling style!
After deciding on your travel itinerary and travel method for Okinawa, the next thing to book is accommodations.
In the MATCHA article below, we've introduced recommended hotels with great accessibility to popular sightseeing destinations in Okinawa, including Kokusai Shopping Street and the American Village. Feel free to refer to this article for more information!
Places that offer free Wi-Fi in Japan are limited. International visitors will find it handy to rent a pocket Wi-Fi during their travels.
MATCHA offers a 30% off coupon for NINJA WiFi, so please take advantage of this discount!
We hope everyone will create wonderful memories of their Okinawa travels!
This is an updated version of an article published on February 10, 2016.