Sandy white beaches. Pristine seas. Heart-shaped rocks jutting out of the water. Known for its picturesque landscapes, Okinawa is not just a favourite destination among travellers, but also the ideal backdrop for couples making pledges of love for a lifetime.
The chain of islands has a year-round cool temperature, making it a great location for gatherings. The newly-weds can also begin their honeymoon right after their marriage ceremony, therefore it is hassle-free and time-saving.
With a wide variety of scenic wedding locations and activities for honeymooners as well as their wedding guests, the southernmost prefecture of Japan is the perfect place for couples to say "I do."
Known as the portal between Japan and the tropics, Okinawa is a chain of islands surrounded by the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, making it easily accessible from mainland Japan and its neighbouring countries in Asia, including Singapore.
Unlike other Japanese prefectures that many well-travelled Singaporeans are familiar with, Okinawa has a distinct culture that sets it apart from the rest. This is mainly due to the islands' rich history, from being heavily influenced by China's Ming Dynasty before officially becoming a prefecture of Japan.
Its culture and scenic surroundings make Okinawa an interesting and beautiful place to visit for travellers all over the world. It is also one of the favourite domestic destinations for the Japanese. With its popularity rising over the years, it is no wonder that it has become one of the top go-to destinations for weddings and wedding photo shoots among lovebirds in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
You would want to make the trip worth it for your guests who, after all, have travelled five hours on a plane from Changi Airport to Naha Airport in Okinawa. So, rest assured that your impending wedding will be the perfect reason for everyone to take a break there.
Choose the wedding chapel of your dreams
The venue of the ceremony sets the backdrop for your once-in-a-lifetime event. Looking for a place to hold your wedding is not an issue in Okinawa as engaged couples are spoilt for choice with over 40 wedding chapels available for booking.
It is easy to choose the best venue for your desired wedding theme because each one has a unique architectural style and design, from fairytale-like castle facades to charming traditional structures.
The wedding chapels may look different from one another, but you can expect one constant characteristic among them - the sweeping sights of Okinawa's landscape and waters in the backdrop. Nothing will beat saying "I do" by the beautiful views that are one of a kind in the prefecture.
Chill out and celebrate wedding bliss
Far from the hustle and bustle of the city life in Singapore, Okinawa exudes a distinctly relaxed island culture brought about by its subtropical climate, white sandy beaches and cerulean waters. Invite your family and friends to this gorgeous paradise, where they can celebrate your union, and at the same time, find time to chill out.
Okinawa has an average temperature of 22 deg C all year round, which is deemed perfect for a seaside or an al fresco wedding celebration. Even winter is a comfortable 15 deg C. With the abundance of beaches on the island, everyone will get to enjoy the relaxing beach life with sand between their toes and the exquisite sea views that the prefecture is known for.
More than its beaches, you can do some sightseeing and learn about Okinawa's history. There are nine well-preserved Unesco World Heritage sites to explore, including the Royal Garden Shikinaen which was used to entertain Chinese traders in the past. It is where you can appreciate Chinese and Japanese architectural designs unique to Okinawa.
Enjoy your ideal honeymoon
When the wedding preparations are done, followed by the celebration of the big event, any newly-wedded couple would probably be quite tired by the time the wedding euphoria subsides. But there's nothing that a trip to an Okinawan spa can't fix. Rest and recharge with a special treatment that includes the use of Okinawan superfood goya (or bitter melon), deep ocean water and other materials harvested from the islands' natural bounty.
For couple gourmands looking to marry their honeymoon with good food, they will be glad to know that Okinawa is also a foodie's paradise. Its cuisine is often referred to as the Ryukyuan cuisine that dates back to the 15th century. It is unique compared to the rest of country because of its a mix of influences from mainland Japan, China and other parts of South-east Asia, as well as the United States.
Besides, Okinawa's food culture is widely credited for contributing to the longevity of its people. Don't miss its version of soba and its famous goya champuru, a stir-fry dish of bitter gourd and pork. Expect an abundant amount of fresh seafood dishes too.
Visit www.visitokinawa.jp/wedding to find out more about holding the wedding of your dreams in Okinawa.