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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

9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)

Closed

December 29 to January 3 and occasional irregular closures

Admission

300 yen

Typical Visit Duration

60-90 minutes (museum only; covering the entire park takes over 2 hours)

Himeyuri Monument and Himeyuri Peace Museum

Hours

9:00 to 17:25 (entry until 17:00)

Closed

No closing days

Admission

450 yen

Typical Visit Duration

30-45 minutes

Former Navy Underground Headquarters

Hours

9:00 to 17:00

Closed

No closing days

Admission

600 yen

Typical Visit Duration

30-45 minutes

Hotels around Okinawa Island

Top rated on Okinawa Island
Budget:
    • Condominium Felicita Naha
      Budget-friendly
      Condominium Felicita Naha is situated in the centre of Naha, just 3.3 km from Tamaudun Mausoleum and 1.4 km from DFS Galleria Okinawa. The apartment, set in a building dating from 2017, is 1.5 km from Yachimun Street and 3.5 km from Sonohyan Utaki Stone Gate. This air-conditioned apartment features 1 bedroom and a bathroom equipped with a bath and free toiletries. A flat-screen TV is featured. Off-site paid public parking is available nearby. Shuri-jo Castle is 3.7 km from the apartment. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 4 km from Condominium Felicita Naha.
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    • The LANAI HOSTEL
      Budget-friendly
      In a prime location in the Naha City Centre district of Naha, The LANAI HOSTEL is located 2.1 km from Naminoue Beach, 2.4 km from Tamaudun Mausoleum and 1.4 km from DFS Galleria Okinawa. With a shared lounge, the 2-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen, and luggage storage for guests. The hostel offers a sun terrace. Popular points of interest near The LANAI HOSTEL include Yachimun Street, Sakaemachi Arcade and Tsuboya Pottery Museum. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 5 km from the accommodation.
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    • 美らガーナハウス壷川
      Budget-friendly
      Located in Naha, near Naminoue Beach, Manko Park and Okinawa Prefecture Government, 美らガーナハウス壷川 features free WiFi. All units are equipped with air conditioning, and some have a flat-screen TV, washing machine, a kettle, completed with a kitchen. Tamaudun Mausoleum is 6 km from the apartment, while Yachimun Street is 2.3 km away. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 3 km from 美らガーナハウス壷川.
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    • La Passione Boutique B&B
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring free WiFi and a terrace, La Passione is a secluded bed and breakfast in Naha. Guests can take a 10-minute walk to Naha Kokusai Dori or go to Jogaku Park, a 4-minute walk from the property. Bicycle hire is available upon reservation. All rooms have an electric kettle and a refrigerator, while some rooms are equipped with a private bathroom. A hairdryer is provided on site. Extra amenities include face tissues, cotton buds, hand soap, body soap, hair shampoo and conditioners. Guests can enjoy Western-style breakfast at La Passione. Luggage storage is available on site. Tamaudun Mausoleum is 500 meters away from La Passione, while Makishi Public Market and Yachimun Street are both a 10-minute walk away. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, a 20-minute taxi ride from the property.
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    • Y's CABIN&HOTEL Naha Kokusai Street
      Budget-friendly
      Located within 1.2 km of Naminoue Beach and 3.7 km of Tamaudun Mausoleum, Y's CABIN&HOTEL Naha Kokusai Street provides rooms with air conditioning and a shared bathroom in Naha. 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. The capsule hotel features a sauna and luggage storage space. All units in the capsule hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. Yachimun Street is 1.6 km from Y's CABIN&HOTEL Naha Kokusai Street, while DFS Galleria Okinawa is 2.7 km away. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 4 km from the accommodation.
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    • Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya
      Mid-range
      Located in Naha, 2.6 km from Naminoue Beach, Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya provides accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking. The property is around 3.8 km from Tamaudun Mausoleum, 2.3 km from DFS Galleria Okinawa and 4.3 km from Sonohyan Utaki Stone Gate. Local points of interest like Shuri-jo Castle and Naha Air Base are reachable within 4.4 km and 6 km, respectively. All units are equipped with air conditioning, a microwave, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer and a wardrobe. At the hotel every room is equipped with a balcony, a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV. An American breakfast is available daily at Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Yachimun Street, Noren Central Market and Tsuboya Pottery Museum. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 5 km from Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya.
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    • Hotel Collective
      Luxury
      Hotel Collective features a restaurant, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and bar in Naha. Each accommodation at the 5-star hotel has city views and free WiFi. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, room service and currency exchange for guests. The units at the hotel feature air conditioning and a wardrobe. Continental and buffet 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 Naminoue Beach, Yachimun Street and Shijo Hondori. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 4 km from the hotel.
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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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    • Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku
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      Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku is situated in Naha, within 2.1 km of Senaga Kaichu Road Beach and 8 km of Tamaudun Mausoleum. 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. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a continental breakfast. The reception at Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku can provide tips on the area. Naha Air Base is 2.3 km from the accommodation, while Yachimun Street is 5 km from the property. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 1 km from Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku.
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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. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and a concierge service. The air-conditioned rooms provide a sea view and come with a desk and free WiFi. At the hotel, all rooms are fitted with a balcony. All guest rooms in HOTEL ANTEROOM NAHA are fitted with a flat-screen TV and free toiletries. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a ? la carte or an American breakfast. Tamaudun Mausoleum is 6 km from HOTEL ANTEROOM NAHA, while DFS Galleria Okinawa is 3.2 km from the property. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 4 km from the hotel.
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