... According to my experience/According to my mistakes...
1. DO NOT enter Okinawa without a driving licence or a friend with one.
* Okinawa is an awfully expensive island especially in terms of public transportation. By all measures the most clever choice is to rent a car: You save a fortune in money and time and you can discover places you would totally miss by using the buses (which, if not yet clear, costs a fortune or two). E.g. A bus ride from the capital (Naha) to the central Okinawa (Nago city) costs about 40 euros return. I probably should not recommend hitchhiking, but that's what I did and it worked out quite well.
2. DO NOT fall into a trap of purchasing a nice & cheap weekend-ticket to the local buses (2000 Yen for 1 day: Saturday/Sunday/Holidays)
* Exception: Unless you want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere only to find out that the bus connections during weekends are.. well.. pretty connectionless. They sell this weekend-discount-ticket in order to promote the traveling on weekends when the use of buses is lesser. However, it does not work out perfectly well. This, is personal experience talking. Yes, I did buy the weekend ticket. It promised the freedom to use the local buses during one day as much as I liked (Hop in-Hop off -kind of thing). I ended up hopping in the countryside for two hours or so and was eventually stopped by a local woman who pitied me badly. "Oh poor you, didn't you know that there are no buses in this area in the weekends?" She gave me a lift, so I still kind of saved the money, and on top of that got a good evening exercise. But, erhm, yeah, you get the point. Don't.
3. DO NOT trust the plastic money i.e. any of your bank cards no matter how MASTER or VISA they appear to be.
* Okinawa functions on cash. In Okinawa cash cannot be withdrawn from the general cash machines with foreign bank cards. Period. Experience has talked.
4. DO NOT expect reasonable prices.
* Unless: You want to be negatively surprised. Everything is expensive 'cos this is Japanese territory, which is known for the sky-scraping prices. PS. The only thing I found to be cheaper than anywhere else was tofu. EAT TOFU, dudes! ; )
5. DO NOT expect an English-speaking population.
* Cos it is not.
6. DO NO expect an Earthly paradise with palm trees, super-joyful-people and eternal sunshine. That is Caribbean.
* Oh yea, Okinawa has it's 'Caribbean-moments', but that's not what this island is about. Okinawa has much more to offer than just white beaches, suntanning and pinacoladas (I don't guarantee that it actually even provides this trio). Okinawa has rough cliffs, hard winds, cold winters, abandoned houses and ruins (including the haunted ones!), caves, rice fields, forests and fish-stinking harbors. On the other hand it also provides possibilities for disappointment possible reasons being: A countless number of US army bases all around the island, US-everything (Casinos, shopping malls, American Village, you name it), many many closed businesses, uninhabited/unfinished buildings and materialism in the form of expensive Tax free-shops and shopping paradises of all kinds.
7. DO NOT automatically think that flying to the capital (NAHA) is the only and by far the best option. = Don't fly to Naha if you have a choice.
* Okinawa's beauty lies in the central and Northern island whereas the South is dry, rough, grey and industrialized. This ain't no opinion but a pure fact. Naha (the capital city with the main airport) lies in the southern island and it's so damn easy to get stuck in there (not least to the crazy pricing of the bus tickets). Sure there are things to see in the South as well, but: If I traveled to Okinawa again, I would defo fly to Nago (central Okinawa), do one day trip to the South and spend rest of my time up in the North.
8. DO NOT waste (Don't you dare - I didn't).
* Being an island, Okinawa is vulnerable to environmental hazards and suffers from irresponsible behavior. Recycling and keeping the surroundings clean and well-managed is a serious thing to the people of Okinawa. Be a considerate tourist and keep the island clean : )
9. DO NOT block the way in the local buses (if you against my advice number 1 still decided to use the buses) by stopping to buy a ticket. ;)
* WTF? you ask. This: Okinawa may be the only place in the world, where you enter the bus, pull a ticket/note from a ticket machine (located close to the driver's cabin), take a seat and pay for your trip as you exit the bus. Happened to me a few times that I stopped to dig coins from my wallet as I entered the bus and the customers behind me got anxious, but were unable to explain the situation to me in English (see advice no: 5). Only very much later, only trough in-depth observation of the local dudes I realized how it's done. Also: Happened to me that I forgot not having paid for the journey and reaching the destination waited for the doors to open, but they didn't. The driver was waiting for me to pay before opening me the doors. Wow, realization, kabuum! No trouble, no worry, just a moment of stupidity and embarrassment, which I want to help you to avoid :) So: Enter the bus, pull a note from the machine (follow the locals) and find a seat. When exiting the bus, pay for the journey accordingly.
10. DO NOT stick to an idea of Japan just because of all the manga-stuff around you.
* Although a Japanese island, Okinawa is Okinawa. It differs greatly from Japan due to it's unique history. This applies to everything from the traditions to the food. Food: On top of all the sushi and tempura you will munch, don't forget to try out the actual Okinawan specialties including goya (a bitter vegetable served in many local dishes), tofuyo (soy bean cheese -dish/dessert), Taco rice (taco ingredients on top of a mountain of rice), soba noodles and umibudo (sea grapes). Drink local beer (Orion), spirit (Awamori) and macha-tea. Traditions: Do not forget to familiarize yourself with Okinawan unique past, which should absolutely definitely completely be distinguished from the Japanese.
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Arigatooo kamshamidaa namasteeeee xiexieee ! ! !