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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. An estimated 200,000 people, including more than 100,000 civilians and 12,500 Americans were killed in the battle, which lasted from April to June 1945.

The devastating effects of the war had a profound impact on the Okinawans, and there are a number of monuments and museums relating to the period throughout Okinawa Honto. The worst fighting of the battle took place in the south, and that is where some of the larger monuments have been constructed.

The main memorial to the Battle of Okinawa is 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 the lead up to the battle, the battle itself and the reconstruction of Okinawa.

Other monuments in the park include the "Cornerstone of Peace", a collection of large stone plates with the names of all fallen soldiers and civilians, including Koreans, Taiwanese, Americans and Britons. There is also an area with memorials donated by each of Japan's 46 other prefectures.

A few kilometers west of the Peace Park stands the Himeyuri Monument (Himeyuri no To) with an adjacent museum. It commemorates the fate of female high school students, who worked in army field hospitals in caves under horrendous conditions. Most of them did not survive the war.

Another thought provoking, war related site 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. Many sailors committed suicide in these tunnels, after their situation had grown hopeless towards the end of the battle. Visitors can see in one area a room whose walls have been riddled with shrapnel from a grenade.

Getting there and around

Peace Memorial Park

Take bus number 89 from Naha Bus Terminal to Itoman Bus Terminal (糸満バスターミナル, 60 minutes, 580 yen, departures every 10 minutes), transfer to bus number 82 and get off at Heiwakinendō-iriguchi (平和祈念堂入口, 20 minutes, 480 yen, departures every 1-2 hours). By car, it takes about 50 minutes from central Naha.

Himeyuri Monument

Take bus number 89 from Naha Bus Terminal to Itoman Terminal (糸満バスターミナル, 60 minutes, 580 yen, departures every 10 minutes), transfer to bus number 82, 107 or 108 and get off at Himeyuri-no-tō-mae (ひめゆりの塔前, 20 minutes, 330 yen, 1-2 buses/hour). By car, it takes about 45 minutes from central Naha.

Former Navy Underground Headquarters

From the Naha Bus Terminal/Asahibashi, take bus number 55 or 98 to Tomigusuku Minami (とみぐすく南, 15 minutes, 260 yen, 3-5 buses/hour) from where the Former Navy Underground Headquarters are a ten minute walk up the hill. By car, they can be reached in about 10-15 minutes from central Naha or Naha Airport.

How to get to and around Okinawa Honto

Hours and Fees

Peace Memorial Museum

Hours

Closed

Admission

Typical Visit Duration

Himeyuri Monument and Himeyuri Peace Museum

Hours

Closed

Admission

Typical Visit Duration

Former Navy Underground Headquarters

Hours

Closed

Admission

Typical Visit Duration

Hotels around Okinawa Island

Top rated on Okinawa Island
Budget:
    • Hotel Collective
      Luxury
      Set in Naha, 1.5 km from Naminoue Beach, Hotel Collective offers accommodation with a restaurant, private parking, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre. Each accommodation at the 5-star hotel has city views and free WiFi. The accommodation provides a 24-hour front desk, a concierge service and currency exchange for guests. The units come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, bathrobes and a desk. At the hotel every room has bed linen and towels. ? la carte and American breakfast options are available every morning at Hotel Collective. The wellness area at the accommodation is comprised of a sauna and a hot tub. Popular points of interest near Hotel Collective include Yachimun Street, Shijo Hondori and Makishi Public Market. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 6 km from the hotel.
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    • Y's CABIN&HOTEL Naha Kokusai Street
      Budget-friendly
      Well set in the Naha City Centre district of Naha, Y's CABIN&HOTEL Naha Kokusai Street is located 1.2 km from Naminoue Beach, 3.7 km from Tamaudun Mausoleum and 1.6 km from Yachimun Street. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. Every room comes with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV, and certain units at the capsule hotel have a safety deposit box. At Y's CABIN&HOTEL Naha Kokusai Street rooms come with bed linen and towels. The accommodation offers 2-star accommodation with a sauna. DFS Galleria Okinawa is 2.7 km from Y's CABIN&HOTEL Naha Kokusai Street, while Sonohyan Utaki Stone Gate is 4.1 km away. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 5 km from the capsule hotel.
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    • Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya
      Mid-range
      Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya features city views, free WiFi and free private parking, located in Naha, 2.5 km from Naminoue Beach. Accommodation is fitted with air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchenette, a TV and a private bathroom with bidet, slippers and a hairdryer. A microwave, a fridge and stovetop are also provided, as well as a kettle. An American breakfast is available daily at the aparthotel. Popular points of interest near Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya include Yachimun Street, Noren Central Market and Tsuboya Pottery Museum. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 6 km from the accommodation.
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    • Little Island Okinawa Tomari
      Mid-range
      Set in Naha, near Naminoue Beach, Tomarin - Tomari Port Terminal and Shijo Hondori, Little Island Okinawa Tomari features free WiFi. Accommodation is fitted with air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with shower, slippers and a hairdryer. A microwave, a fridge and stovetop are also featured, as well as a kettle. Tamaudun Mausoleum is 3.5 km from the aparthotel, while DFS Galleria Okinawa is 2.1 km away. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 7 km from Little Island Okinawa Tomari.
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    • The Kitchen Hostel Ao
      Budget-friendly
      Ideally situated in the Naha City Centre district of Naha, The Kitchen Hostel Ao is situated less than 1 km from Naminoue Beach, 4.1 km from Tamaudun Mausoleum and 2 km from Yachimun Street. With a bar, the 1-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. Guests can have a drink at the snack bar. All rooms will provide guests with a desk and a kettle. Guests at the hostel can enjoy a ? la carte breakfast. Speaking English and Japanese at the 24-hour front desk, staff are always at hand to help. DFS Galleria Okinawa is 3.1 km from The Kitchen Hostel Ao, while Sonohyan Utaki Stone Gate is 5 km from the property. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 5 km from the accommodation.
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    • Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku
      Mid-range
      Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku is situated in Naha, within 8 km of Tamaudun Mausoleum and 2.3 km of Naha Air Base. Featuring a shared lounge, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. Private parking is available on site. All rooms have a safety deposit box. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a continental breakfast. Staff at Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku are available to provide advice at the 24-hour front desk. Yachimun Street is 5 km from the accommodation, while DFS Galleria Okinawa is 7 km from the property. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 2.3 km from Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku.
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    • Villa Coast Nishimachi - Guesthouse in Okinawa
      Budget-friendly
      Located just a 7-minute drive from Naha Airport, Villa Coast Nishimachi houses self-contained accommodations with free WiFi connection. The apartment houses a shared lounge with drinks and snacks vending machines. Each room is fitted with a full kitchen with a microwave and a washing machine. All rooms have air conditioning, a working desk and a flat-screen TV. Featuring a bath, private bathroom comes with a shower, a hairdryer and free toiletries. From the apartment, a convenience store is within a 2-minute walk. There are numerous local restaurants and shops within 15 minutes walking distance around the apartment. Naminoue Beach is a 10-minute walk and Asahibashi Station is a 13-minute walk away.
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    • Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa
      Luxury
      Offering direct access from Asahibashi Monorail Station, Rihga Royal Gran Okinawa features spacious Western-style accommodations with free WiFi. Guests can ask for concierge services at the front desk. All rooms are non-smoking and feature air conditioning, a flat-screen satellite TV, safety deposit box and fridge. Guests can make green tea using the electric kettle and wear the provided sleepwear. The en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer and toothbrush sets. Currency exchange and photocopying services are offered at the front desk. Laundry services are provided and on-site parking is available at an extra charge. The lobby is located on the 14th floor. A breakfast buffet and Western a la carte dishes are served at Dining 19, which offers beautiful sunset views from the top floor. Okinawa Gran Rihga Royal is a 10-minute walk from Kokusai Street and a 25-minute drive from Shuri Castle. Naha Airport is just a 10-minute drive or train ride away. A 24-hour convenience shop can be found next door.
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    • HOTEL ANTEROOM NAHA
      Mid-range
      Set in Naha, 800 metres from Naminoue Beach, HOTEL ANTEROOM NAHA offers accommodation with a restaurant, private parking and a bar. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and a concierge service, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The hotel has family rooms. At the hotel, all rooms are fitted with a desk. All guest rooms will provide guests with air conditioning, a safety deposit box and a flat-screen TV. Guests at HOTEL ANTEROOM NAHA can enjoy a ? la carte or an American breakfast. Tamaudun Mausoleum is 6 km from the accommodation, while DFS Galleria Okinawa is 3.2 km from the property. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 7 km from HOTEL ANTEROOM NAHA.
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    • Hyatt Regency Naha, Okinawa
      Luxury
      The stylish Hyatt Regency Naha offers spacious rooms, free WiFi throughout the property and 4 restaurants. It is located just a 3-minute walk from the lively Kokusai Dori (International street) and features a seasonal outdoor pool, a bar and a small shop open 24-hours. The closest station is Makishi Station and is a 8-minute walk away. Make a visit to the famous Shurijo Castle with a 17-minute drive or take a 9-minute drive to the DFS Galleria Okinawa to enjoy shopping. Naha Airport can be reached with a 20-minute drive. The elegant rooms are decorated in light natural tones, and furnished with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a sofa and a desk. An electric kettle, a fridge and a safety deposit box is provided. The private bathroom comes with a bathtub, free toiletries and a hairdryer. The on-site restaurant Sakurazaka is open for breakfast and lunch hours and serves a buffet-style meal. The Milano restaurant, located on the 18th floor, features Italian dishes. Guests can also go to the caf? or the bar to enjoy light snacks and beverages. The Naha Hyatt Regency offers a 24-hour front desk and currency exchange. Parking is available at a fee.
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