TENOHA & | TASTE – Tsukimi, celebration of the full moon

What does O-Tsukimi (お月見) mean? Something magical: "to admire the full moon". TENOHA Milano celebrates the arrival of autumn in a special way, with a weekend dedicated to the typical flavors of this festival.


Saturday 12 October TENOHA proposes as always a very welcome surprise: it will be possible to participate in a workshop curated by Annalise Calas of Telier Lili. Participants will be able to create the traditional and very personal Chōchin 提灯 lanterns, a symbol of celebration.

The O-TSUKIMI is the feast of the full moon of autumn and is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Japanese lunar calendar.
During the full moon of the eighth month, the most beautiful of the year, the nobles gathered to celebrate and admire the beauty of the full moon, composing music and verses of tanka poetry.

Today the traditions have changed, but not that much. This festival is celebrated by offering the moon the famous tsukimi-dango (月見団子), rice cakes whose shape resembles that of a full moon. For this occasion, "dedicated" dishes are also consumed, such as the Tsukimi soba or udon.

The full moon celebrations cannot go unnoticed and if you are in Japan it is a romantic occasion not to be missed. And what if you are here in Italy? Well, as always TENOHA will let you live the Japanese atmosphere! Are you ready this time to experience the magic of the Rising Sun?

We are here, we are waiting for you at TENOHA!

When and where

When: 11, 12, 13 October 2019
Workshop: saturday 12 October 2019, Workshop Chōchin 提灯 | BOOK NOW


Tsukimi Aperitivo

When: 11, 12, 13 October 2019 - from 18.00 to 21:00
Cost: 12€
Specials: Show cooking NORI MAKI, Special Tsukimi Buffet, Special Asahi & Tsukimi Drink
Where: TENOHA MILANO, Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
Powered by: Asahi Super Dry

Info & booking

(+39) 02 8088 9868

For more information: www.tenoha.it

TENOHA & | GREEN – Green Week Milano with Kokedama Workshop

During the Milan Green Week, TENOHA Milano offers us another great event. Throughout the weekend of 28 and 29 September, we are waiting for you to celebrate nature with a special aperitif! All made in the unique way TENOHA has accustomed you to.

Green Week


Green aperitif with show cooking
Bombay Sapphire special drinks
Kokedama Workshop with KOIKOI
KOIKOI Green Design exhibition


Green Week

Cost: 12 €
When: September 28th - 29th from 18.00 to 21.00
Info: Special green finger food + Buffet snacks, special drink Bombay Shapphire, show cooking Nori Maki

KOKEDAMA WORKSHOP • With Giovanni Laguzzi from KOIKOI

  Green Week

Remaining on the theme of nature, let's talk about it in an all-Japanese way with the Kokedama 苔玉 Workshop to be held on Saturday, September 28th in the TENOHA Garden!

The Kokedama are plants without pots, without something that keeps them rooted. They are covered with moss and soil, so completely able to stay alive and enhance the balance, beauty and serenity that nature can give us. A real soul that tells the deepest Japanese tradition. A soul who recites verses of poetry, tells stories and refers to the tradition of the rising sun.
The same ideograms, in fact, speak of it, koke means "moss" and dama means "pearl" or "sphere".

Surely after this explanation and after seeing the true essence of Kokedama, you will want one of your own. Well, TENOHA Milan as always makes you bring the Japanese tradition home, that's why thanks to the teaching of Maestro Giovanni Laguzzi from the KOIKOI atelier, you can create your Kokedama!

Workshop details

When: 28 September 2019 - from 16:00 to 18:00
Cost: 45€ Including materials
Availability: 20 pax


Realization of a kokedama among the 2 choices:

• "Green" with live musk and Chlorophytum comosum
• "Marrone" with sphagnum and succulent


The KOIKOI atelier - Green design

The idea is to create custom green to take home, without being afraid of space limits. They are real mini-worlds to take care of. Slowly you will realize that it will be much easier to take care of yourself and the people around you.

"We design and build from the single object to complex installations, to make vegetation and built interact, creating an element of surprise."


WHERE: TENOHA MILANO, Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
Event powered by Bombay Sapphire
FOR MORE INFORMATION: https://www.tenoha.it/events/greenweek/


TENOHA & | TASTE – Hakken Menu the return, episode 3 e 4

Let's go on with our culinary journey through the prefectures of Japan together with TENOHA Milano and move on to the 3rd and 4th step, with two special recipes from the Hakken menu:

#3 Yaki Udon & Takoyaki

September 16 - September 29: Yaki Udon & Takoyaki - Osaka Prefecture

Osaka loves street food and if we talk about street food we talk about Takoyaki the famous balls of fried batter stuffed with octopus. The Takoyaki accompanied by the Yaki Udon will take us right to Osaka! Not only a unique taste that you can only find here in TENOHA Milano, but also something truly traditional.

#4 Gyukatsu

September 30 - October 13: Gyukatsu - Tokyo Prefecture

From Tokyo comes the Gyukatsu, a crunchy beef cutlet with various toppings. Cooking is medium and it will surely drive you crazy. Because you might not have any idea of what the real Japanese beef is, right?

What are you waiting for? The new traditional Japanese dishes are waiting for you here, at TENOHA in via Vigevano 18, Milan! Obviously we at Japan Italy Bridge do not let them escape. Will you come and tell us personally what you think?

Also, don't forget the stamp collection! If you arrive at 6 Hakken you can get a special gift ... how many stamps do you need? Who will discover the TENOHA Milan gift?


Further information: https://www.tenoha.it/taste/hakken-continue-2/
Cost: 16,00 €

Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano


A great new initiative to spend special evenings: TENOHA CINEMA – AMERICA & JAPAN. Starting September 22nd, TENOHA Milano is offering a film review for all fans of Japan.

Although the relationship between America and Japan has never been among the most peaceful, TENOHA Milano is launching an initiative that sees the two realities together in a huge event under the name of PATRIOTISM.

Letters from Iwo Jima – Clint Eastwood (2007)

Sunday 22nd September - 7.30pm

Letters from Iwo Jima is a film directed by Clint Eastwood, which deals with the theme of the battle of Iwo Jima during the Second World War from the point of view of the Japanese army. The director's previous film, Flags of Our Fathers, considers the same battle from the point of view of American troops. The subject is taken from the novel Picture Letters from Commander in Chief by Tadamichi Kuribayashi. Letters from Iwo Jima and Flags of Our Fathers represent the homage that Eastwood wanted to dedicate to the fallen of both sides. From the struggle remain the letters that had been sent to the families, full of the emotions and families of the combatants.

Book Now

Silk – Francois Girard (2007)

Sunday 29 September - 7.30 pm

In 1861, an epidemic is destroying silkworm farms across the country. This is why the breeder Hervé Joncour decides to go to Japan in search of new healthy specimens for his breeding. But a meeting takes him away not only from his reality but also from his family and above all from his wife Hélène.

NOTE: prohibited for children under 16 years

Booking opening: Coming soon

L’ultimo samurai – Edward Zwick (2003)

Sunday 13 October - 7.30 pm

Captain Nathan Algren is given the assignment by the Japanese Empire to train Emperor Meiji's army to eliminate rebel samurai. This job is a way for him to make money and escape from a terrible memory. In Japan, Algren discovers a world in the continuous race of technological and commercial modernity contrasting with the millenary culture of a people dedicated to the philosophy and ideological war of the samurai.

Booking opening: Coming soon


Where: Via Vigevano 18, 20144 Milano
Cost: 3,50€
Limited Seats: 50
Info: info@tenoha.it

More informationi: https://www.tenoha.it/upcoming/movie/cinema-americanigiappone/


September is upon us and TENOHA always thinks of how to surprise you.

This time we are offering you another special appointment, one of those you can't miss. A weekend entirely dedicated to one of the most famous spirits in the world: Gin. Also taking advantage of the fact that this is the year of the Gin, enthusiasts and why not, even non-enthusiasts, can enjoy a selection of the best beverages including the three distillates of the Rising Sun:

• KOZUE: distillate of Wakayama prefecture including: Japanese umbrella pine, Unshu mandarin and Sansho pepper.
• KI NO BI: with yellow yuzu from the north of Kyoto prefecture, hinoki wood onions, bamboo, gyokuro tea from the Uji region and green sanshō berries.
• NIKKA: produced by the Miyagiko distillery with Yuzu, Kabosu, Amanatsu and Shikuwasa, Sansho pepper, apple juice, juniper, angelica, coriander, lemon peel and orange peel.

We are sure that Gin enthusiasts will feel in Heaven and the same will happen to neophytes. New lovers of Japanese gin on the horizon!

Obviously, we at Japan Italy Bridge will not miss it. Would you like to join us for a kanpai? We are waiting for you!

When and Where

When: 6-7-8 September
Where: Via Vigevano 18, 20144 Milano
Food & beverage: 15€ aperitivo + gin drink

For more information: https://www.tenoha.it/

Japan History: Kusunoki Masashige

Kusunoki Masashige, (1294 - 4 July 1336) was born in Minato-gawa, province of Settsu, and was a 14th century samurai who fought for the Emperor Go-Daigo in the Genkō war.

Kusunoki Masashige

photo credit: ninja.fandom.com

Much of his early education took place in the Kanshin-ji temple in Kawachinagano, in the south of Osaka, where he later organized major restoration work.

Legend has it that the emperor Go-Daigo had a dream in which he was taking refuge under a camphor tree (the "kusunoki"). This dream brought him to the surname of the warrior who would support him. Indeed, in 1331 Kusunoki joined the emperor Go-Daigo in a revolt to wrest government power from the shogunate, the military dictatorship that had dominated Japan since 1192. Although numerically stronger shogunate troops captured the emperor, Kusunoki fled continuing to use guerrilla tactics.

The capture of Kusunoki near Nara in 1332 proved to be a serious threat to the government. The shogun then concentrated all his forces against Kusunoki. In one of the most famous battles in Japanese history, Kusunoki successfully defended the fortress of Chihaya against the upper shogunal forces.

Kusunoki Masashige

photo credit: davtov2000.blogspot.com

From 1333 to 1335

In 1333, Go-Daigo rewarded Masashige with the governorate of the province of Settsu and the province of Kawachi and promoted him to the fifth degree. Subsequently, he received the appointment on the Records Office and Settlement Board. However, one of the loyalist generals, Ashikaga Takauji, betrayed Go-Daigo and led an army against Kusunoki. Takauji took possession of Kyoto, but only temporarily before Nitta Yoshisada and Masashige forced Takauji to flee. In 1336 Takauji was again a threat to Kyoto.

During the short period following the imperial rule, Kusunoki was governor of the central Japanese provinces of Settsu. The real power in the countryside, however, continued to be held by the great hereditary lords, Ashikaga Takauji and Nitta Yoshisada. The latter openly challenged themselves to obtain the loyalty of minor feudal leaders.

Kusunoki suggested to the Emperor to take refuge on the sacred Mount Hiei and allow Takauji to take Kyoto. This is to allow him to descend from the mountain and, with the help of the monks of Mount Hiei, trap Takauji.

Go-Daigo was not willing to leave the capital and insisted that Kusunoki meet Takauji's forces on the field. Kusunoki, in what would later be seen as the last act of samurai loyalty, accepted obediently. The battle, which took place in Minatogawa, in present-day Chūō-ku, Kobe, was a tactical disaster. There are two reports of the proposal made by Kusunoki Masashige to the emperor Go-Daigo, the Taiheiki and the Baisho Ron, entbe ingorati. One was that they would group together and attack from two sides, the other was that they would take General Takauji back on their side.

Kusunoki's army was only 50 of the 700 knights. According to legend, the last words of his brother Masasue were Shichisei Hōkoku! ("I wish I had seven lives to give to my emperor!") Obviously Kusunoki Masashige agreed.
At his death, his head was sent to Kanshin-ji and buried in a tomb known as Kubi-zuka.

Eboshigata Castle and Ishibotoke Castle were both built along the route of the Koya Kaido, a famous pilgrimage route that stretches between Kyoto and Koyasan. Designed not only to protect the path from bandits, these were also an important source of income as travelers were forced to pay a toll.

From 1335 to the Meiji restoration

In 1335 Go-Daigo sided with Nitta Yoshisada against Ashikaga Takauji. As head of the imperial forces, Kusunoki defeated Takauji's troops in January 1336 and forced him to flee the capital. A few months later, however, Takauji returned to the head of a large army. Kusunoki suggested temporarily withdrawing so he could fight Takauji's forces at a point where the terrain was more favorable. The emperor insisted that Kusunoki meet enemy forces before occupying the capital. In the final battle on the Minato River, near the modern Kobe, Kusunoki fought bravely for many hours. His troops were finally overwhelmed and committed suicide rather than face capture.

His son, Kusunoki Masatsura, served as the emperor's successor, 12-year-old Go-Murakami, in a relationship of mutual trust that reflected the figure of his father Kusunoki and kept the flame of loyal resistance alive.

After the imperial restoration in 1868, a splendid sanctuary was erected on the site of Kusunoki's death. His loyalty to the emperor and his being one of the greatest military strategists in Japanese history, made him a legendary figure. He also received the highest decoration from the Japanese Meiji government in 1880.

photo credit: wikipedia.org


After the introduction of Neoconfucianism as a state philosophy by the Tokugawa shogunate, Kusunoki Masashige was declared with the emperor Go-Daigo forerunner of the synocentric absolutists. During the Edo period, scholars and samurai who were influenced by neoconfucian theories created the legend of Kusunoki. They consecrated him patriotic hero, with the name of Nankō or Dai-Nankō, incarnation of loyalty, courage and devotion to the Emperor. Kusunoki later became a sort of patron saint of the WWII suicide bombers. His spiritual heirs were those who sacrificed their lives for the emperor.

Japan History: Takeda Shingen

Takeda Shingen (Takeda Harunobu December 1, 1521 - May 13, 1573), firstborn of warlord Takeda Nobutora, was born in the powerful Takeda clan. He was Shugo Daimyo (military governors) of the then province of Kai, present-day Yamanashi prefecture.

Takeda Shingen played a very important role in the battle of Un no Kuchi in 1536, he was only 15 years old. When his father designated his second son as heir, Shingen conducted a coup without bloodshed. This forced his father to retire as head of the clan. Later, Shingen began to expand his family's domains northward into the province of Shinano (present-day Nagano prefecture) and into lands adjacent to Kai.

As the undisputed leader of the Takeda clan, he began his expansionist policy starting with the Battle of Sezawa. He then continued with the sieges of Uehara, Kuwabara and Fukuyo, the battles of Ankokuji, Odaihara, Shiojiritoge, and the Kawanakajima battles series against Uesugi Kenshin.
Shingen decided to have all the warriors in the first lines of his armies wear red lacquered armor to intimidate the enemy psychologically. This idea was also later copied by the Tokugawa army clan.


photo credits: japantimes.co.jp

The life of Takeda Shingen

In 1548 Takeda Shingen defeated Ogasawara Nagatoki in the battle of Shiojiritōge and took Fukashi in 1550. Uesugi Kenshin took the field at that time because the Takeda had now reached the borders of his province.
What began was a rivalry that became legendary and that led them to clash in the battles of Kawanakajima. These battles were generally skirmishes, in fact, none of the two daimyō wanted to discover themselves in an all-out battle.

The fiercest battle between the two was the fourth one, during which, according to legend, Uesugi Kenshin managed to break through the Takeda lines and faced Shingen. It is said that Kenshin attacked Shingen with his sword defending himself with his fan (or tessen). Both lost numerous men during the battle. In particular, Shingen lost two important generals, Yamamoto Kansuke and his younger brother Takeda Nobushige.

Takeda Shingen entered the priesthood in 1551, at which time he assumed the Buddhist name Shingen. However, taking religious vows in no way prevented his participation in worldly affairs.

After the fourth battle, Shingen discovered two plots against his life. The first by his cousin Suwa Shigemasa, who was ordered to commit seppuku. While the second, a few years later by his son Takeda Yoshinobu. The latter was exiled to the Toko temple, where he died two years later perhaps by order of his father. After this incident, Shingen appointed his fourth child, Katsuyori as successor to the leadership of the clan.

After conquering Katsurao, Wada, Takashima and Fukuda, in 1554 he returned as many victories in the sieges of Fukushima, Kannomine, Matsuo and Yoshioka.

In 1563, together with Hōjō Ujiyasu, Takeda Shingen conquered Matsuyama Castle in the province of Musashi. Subsequently it obtained the possession of Kuragano in 1565 and of the castle of Minowa. Then he moved against the Hōjō attacking Hachigata castle.
He retired successfully after Hōjō Ujiteru and Hōjō Ujikuni failed to stop him in the battle of Mimasetōge.

Takeda Shingen

photo credits: pinimg.com

Harunobu's main ambition was the submission of Shinano. However, the resistance in that neighborhood was fierce. A number of Shinano warlords, including Murakami Yoshikiyo, Ogasawara Nagatoki, Suwa Yorishige and Kiso Yoshiyasu, made a move designed with the hope to cut off further Takeda aggressions.

The march towards the Kai borders

In April 1542 the four daimyo combined forces and marched towards the Kai border, encouraged by the news that Harunobu was strengthening his defenses and was preparing to take a stand in Fuchu. In fact, Harunobu's activities were a ploy. Far from passively waiting in Kai, Harunobu led his men and took the Shinano warriors by surprise, defeating them at Sezawa.

Encouraged by Sezawa's findings, Harunobu made a trip to Shinano focusing on the territory of the Suwa clan. He first took Uehara in a surprise attack and then moved to Suwa headquarters in Kuwahara, located 2 kilometers to the east. Suwa Yorishige had no choice but to surrender following Harunobu's promise of safe conduct. Yorishige and his brother were taken to Kai where General Takeda, Itagaki Nobutaka, organized their death. Both of them committed suicide.

Takeda Shingen

photo credits: pinterest.it

Harunobu, with the help of Yamamoto Kansuke's strategies, further expanded his territory through the defeat of Tozawa Yorichika and Takato Yoritsugu. The acquisition of the castle of Takato was of particular value. Indeed, it provided a safe stopping area in the south of Shinano, as well as a buffer against any southern aggression.

In 1544 the Takeda marched towards Suruga in support of Imagawa and confronted Hōjō Ujiyasu. No real conflict occurred following this confrontation. Harunobu was in fact forced to enter into a peace treaty between Hōjō and Imagawa.

Over the next decade, Harunobu continued to exert incessant pressure on the Shinano warlords. In 1548 Murakami Yoshikiyo, perhaps the most formidable Shinano enemy of Harunobu, moved to Ueda and defeated the Takeda clan in a bitter battle. Here a number of Chinese arquebuses were used, the first weapons of the genre ever deployed in a Japanese battle. While Uehara's defeat left two of his best generals dead, Harunobu quickly bounced back. In fact, in 1552 the Murakami and Ogasawara clans fled from Shinano to Echigo.

Takeda Shingen vs Uesugi Kenshin

In June and October 1553 the Takeda and Uesugi armies clashed near the Kawanakajima plain in northern Shinano. A clash lasted five times but only the fourth battle produced a wide-ranging race. Both sides suffered heavy losses that slowed both warlords for a few years. In particular, Shingen must have suffered from the loss of Nobushige and Yamamoto Kansuke, both of whom died in the battle.

In 1560 Shingen had discovered a plot against him led by his cousin Katanuma Nobumoto and in 1565 the one organized by his son Yoshinobu and Obu Toramasa. Two years later Yoshinbou died. Legend says that death is due either to illness or, as many believe, because Shingen had forced him to commit suicide. The event left Takeda's servants uneasy.

photo credits: wikipedia.org

In 1564, Shingen had subdued all of Shinano and turned his attention to Kōzuke, where he took a number of castles from the Uesugi clan. For the next five years, he limited himself to raids and local conquests, focusing on internal affairs.
In 1560, Shingen's greatest achievement was the Damji River Damming project. The benefit of the Fuji river project is considered one of the greatest national initiatives of the sixteenth century.

In 1568, Takeda's army was on the move again, this time south against Imagawa. The daimyo of that clan was Ujizane, the incompetent son of the late Imagawa Yoshimoto (killed in 1560 by Oda Nobunaga). Yoshinobu, son of Shingen, had married Ujizane's sister, but after her suicide in 1567, relations between the families had increased. It would appear that Shingen and Tokugawa Ieyasu had entered into an agreement under which the two would divide the remaining lands of Imagawa (Tōtōmi and Suruga). However, this agreement was never completed. Furthermore, Sagami's Hōjō did not see this shift in the balance of power. Because of this, he sent troops to challenge Shingen. In 1569 Shingen responded by invading Sagami and besieging Odawara (the capital of Hōjō). However, on the way back to Kai, the Takeda army managed to crush an attempted ambush by Mimasetoge of Hōjō.

Thus, in 1570, the lands of Takeda included Kai, Shinano, Suruga and pieces of Kozuke, Tōtōmi, and Hida. Shingen, at 49, was now more than a regional power. Takeda Shingen was in fact the most important warlord east of Mino. Moreover, he was the only one able to derail Oda Nobunaga's march to national hegemony. Only Shingen had the strategic position and the armed forces to stop it.

In 1570 the formidable Hōjō Ujiyasu died and his heir, Ujimasa, made peace with Shingen. This was an act that could have ensured Tokugawa Ieyasu final destruction. However, Shingen died in 1573 sending the plans into smoke.

The Takeda clan allies with the Oda clan

Meanwhile, the Takeda and Oda, aimed at controlling the Uesugi clan. After a failed diplomatic courtship, they started a war of words with the shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki.
Shingen intensified the pressure against Tokugawa and in 1572 launched an attack on Tōtōmi which led to the capture of Futamata. The following January, Shingen returned to the province and attracted Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Mikatagahara. Conducted on January 6 north of Hamamatsu, it ended with an almost complete defeat for Ieyasu.

Although they were often presented as initial moves in a march on Kyoto, Shingen's intentions were undoubtedly more conservative. Probably, Takeda Shingen aimed to test the answers of both Ieyasu and Nobunaga and, if possible, inflict a defeat on the two. In any case, within a few days of winning the battle, he received the news that Asakura Yoshikage had chosen not to oppose to Nobunaga. Shingen was sorry and could count on Yoshikage to maintain the tension on Nobunaga. This may have played a part in his decision to return to Kai, thus granting a truce to the bloody Tokugawa.

The figure of Takeda Shingen

Shingen was a complicated figure, sometimes absolutely cruel. At the beginning of his life, he had forced Suwa Yorishige to commit suicide (or murdered him) after the two warlords had signed a peace treaty. He then took Suwa's daughter as a lover, ignoring the fact that she was technically his own niece.

Apparently, Shingen created Shingen Tsuba, (sword guard) also known as Takeda Tsuba. The story goes that while waiting for a battle to begin, Shingen wrapped the brass wire around a large iron sukashi to keep himself focused and able to think until the battle began. Because of this, many of his vassals followed Shingen's leadership throughout the Edo period.

He is also credited with inventing the toilet drain, bathroom hygiene, apparently, was important to Shingen. He also built the vast dams known as Shingen Zutsumi along the Kamanashi segments of the Fuji river. These walls prevented flooding and were one of the largest and most ambitious national public works initiatives of the sixteenth century.

The well-considered laws of Shingen were not considered particularly severe. He suspended corporal punishment for most minor crimes. In fact, he adopted a system of financial fines, which earned him the respect and praise of the peasants and citizens of the province of Kai.
It is interesting to note that Shingen also had two large iron cauldrons in which to boil criminals still alive. Tokugawa Ieyasu, thinking that the punishment was excessively cruel, destroyed the cauldrons years later.

His economic reform was also innovative at the time. Indeed, Takeda Shingen taxed most of its subjects uniformly and allowed them the option of payments in gold or rice.

Takeda Shingen had planned on the districts of Mikawa and Owari (now both Aichi Prefecture). In 1571 he entered the territories of the Okudaira clan (later Tokugawa) and captured the castle of Noda.
In 1573, he invaded Mikawa and again attacked the castle of Noda. However, this time, the fortifications of the castle had been strengthened, allowing it to stand for several weeks.

photo credits: wikimedia.org

The death

On May 13, 1573, towards the end of the siege, just before the defenders of Noda Castle capitulated, Takeda Shingen was shot by a marksman. Shingen died during the escape.

The death of Takeda Shingen at the age of 49 remained a secret. The remains of the gun that was used to shoot Shingen are kept in the Shitagahara Museum in Nagashino, Aichi Prefecture. His son and successor, Takeda Katsuyori, was defeated by Oda and Tokugawa in the early 1580s, thus ending the power of the Takeda family.

Instead of a poem of death, he left the following words, borrowed from Zen literature: "It is largely left to its natural bodily perfection, and has no special need to resort to artificial coloring and powder to look beautiful. "

Discovering the wonders of Okinawa

The Okinawa Islands form the main group of the Japanese Ryūkyū archipelago. They include the homonymous island together with other minor ones and are part of the Okinawa prefecture whose capital is Naha.


photo credits: jw-webmagazine.com

The famous martial art of karate comes from Okinawa. This is an art created following the fusion of Chinese martial arts with the Okinawa-te (then subdivided into Naha-te, Shuri-te and Tomari-te).

Also, the island of Okinawa is the largest in the archipelago and is the 287th largest island in the world. The subtropical climate of these islands supports a dense rainforest, maintained by the monsoon season that occurs in late spring.

Okinawa has many landmarks, perhaps too many. It is a destination that cannot be missed in our Japanese travel itinerary. Here we wanted to collect what we think are the best locations to visit. However, our advice is to dedicate as much time as possible to this islands, also called Japanese Polynesia.

Shuri Castle

Shuri was the ancient capital of the Ryukyu kingdom and the castle was the administrative centre and residence of the royal family. Shuri Castle (Shuri-jo) is located on a small hill overlooking Naha. The original structure was destroyed during the Second World War and later rebuilt. The area was reopened to the public in 1992 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the return of Okinawa to Japan by the USA.
Today the castle is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.


photo credits: wikipedia.org

Seminational park of Okinawa Senseki

This is the place where the famous battle of Okinawa took place during the Second World War, the park is dedicated to the approximately 200,000 victims of the conflicts. Of particular importance are the Memorial Museum of Peace with several pieces that refer to the war. We remember in fact the objects of the fallen, their photos during the war of Okinawa and the Cornerstone of Peace with all the names of the fallen. On June 23 in 1945 the Japanese army stopped resisting. This is the day on which the commemorative ceremony for the war dead is held every year.


photo credits: wikipedia.org

Sefa Utaki

Sefa Utaki is an important sacred place for Okinawan religion located on Kudaka Island. It is located on a hill with rock formations connected by pedestrian paths. The English translation of the word Sefa-utaki is "purified place of Utaki". This site is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage.


photo credits: japan-guide.com

Shikinaen Garden

The Shikinaen garden was built at the end of the 18th century and was the second residence of the kings of Ryukyu. Here you can find wooden buildings in Okinawan style, with red tiles and a central pond.

photo credits: giapponepertutti.it

Tamaudun Mausoleum

The Tamaudun mausoleum was built around the beginning of the 16th century for the royal family of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It was restored after suffering serious damage during the war and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

photo credits: sobre-japon.com

Ocean Expo Park

The Ocean Expo Park is a large park on the tip of the Motobu peninsula, in the north of Okinawa Honto. This attraction was built in 1976 to commemorate the Okinawa International Ocean Expo held the previous year. The main attraction of the park is the Churaumi Aquarium, called the most beautiful aquarium in Japan.


photo credits: worldsciencemuseums.altervista.org

Kokusai Dori

Kokusaidori (literally "International Road") is the main road that extends for about two kilometres through the centre of Naha. The street is named after the previous "Ernie Pyle International Theater", a cinema built along the road after the war.

photo credits: japan-guide.com

Hiji waterfall

The Hiji waterfall is located in Yambaru Honto, in the northern part of Okinawa. Here the population density is very low and most of the territory is covered by natural forests. The waterfall can be accessed via a hike along a path through the forest. However, the trail was damaged by a typhoon in 2012 but reopened in April 2013.

photo credits: ilgiappone.wordpress.com

Ruins of the Nakagusuku, Katsuren and Zakimi castles

Another very interesting destination is the ruins of the Castles of Nakagusuku, Katsuren and Zakimi of which these last two are UNESCO heritage.

The first stands 150 meters above sea level and was originally built by the Aji clan in the 14th century. Later, Gosamaru extended it in the 15th century before finally falling into the hands of Awamari-san. This castle today is part of the UMA.


photo credits: travel.sygic.com

Katsuren Castle, on the other hand, was owned by Awamari-san. In the fifteenth century, he put real power in serious difficulty because of his rebellious character and his military conquests.

photo credits: it.depositphotos.com

Zakimi Castle was built in the fifteenth century by the legendary warrior Gosamaru. Known for its military constructions, this castle is the first example of a stone portal existing on the island of Okinawa.

Mihama American Village

The Mihama American Village is a large entertainment complex located in the centre of Okinawa Honto. Many American military bases are in the area and the entertainment complex is a much sought after diversion for the locals. The Mihama American Village has many shops, restaurants, cafes and ample parking.

photo credits: en.japantravel.com

Okinawa World

Okinawa World is a park dedicated to Okinawan culture. The main attractions of the park are a large natural cave (Gyokusendo), a craft village and a snake museum.

photo credits: city-cost.com

Let's move on to nature because it is true that Okinawa is tradition and history, but it is also a natural paradise to live. There are many dream beaches where you can spend unforgettable moments, but for you, we have chosen the best ones. Tell us what you think of our selection!

The beaches of Okinawa: Manza Beach

The soft sand beach is part of the ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort, whose building overlooks the 300 meters of the beach.

photo credits: okinawatravelinfo.com

The beaches of Okinawa: Moon Beach

Moon Beach is a beach located within the grounds of Hotel Moon Beach. The beach stretches for 150 meters and is often very crowded. There is an area reserved for swimmers, umbrellas and volleyball nets.


photo credits: hotelmoonbeach.moonhotelsandresorts.com

The beaches of Okinawa: Sunset Beach

Do you want to enjoy sunsets? Then you can't miss Sunset Beach. It is located right next to the Mihama American Village. The beach is about 250 meters long and is located in a small artificial bay on the western shore.


photo credits: oki-islandguide.com

The beaches of Okinawa: Emerald Beach

Emerald Beach is located within the Ocean Expo Park on the Motobu peninsula. The beach is divided into three sectors and each of the three areas is about 150 meters long.

photo credits: okinawatravelinfo.com

The beaches of Okinawa: Okuma Beach

Okuma Beach is a beach located within the JAL Private Resort Okuma. It is located in the north of Okinawa Honto, the least densely populated area. The beach stretches over a kilometre along the coast.


photo credits: marshallsabroad.com

If you really can't leave yet, we want to recommend a movie to enjoy the beauties of Okinawa: Karanukan (カ ー ラ ヌ カ ン). Romantic but with the aim of showing the beauty of this country, the film tells the story of photographer Hikaru Ooyama (GACKT) who decides to visit Okinawa. There, he meets Mami Ishigaki (Suzuka Kimura) and is fascinated by it, so much so that he chooses her as a model. During a photoshoot in the Yaeyama Islands, Hikaru is hit by a beam of light that momentarily causes him to lose consciousness and trace his muse. His life, from that moment on, is dedicated to finding Mami among Okinawa's incredible dream places. If you want to anticipate these magnificent places, Karanukan is the right movie for you.


photo credits: gacktitalia.com

Usually, I only write articles of some interest to me, by now you know that I deal with Japanese history, Samurai and Japanese companies in Italy. I travel rarely, but this time passion has spoken for me.
As soon as you have the chance, leave for this wonderful island. You will discover that all the places you have always heard about, all the beaches, all the places you have always dreamed of, all come together here, in Okinawa.