Japan: Okinawa

99 Coastal Destinations Rated: Facing Trouble

Score: 48

Domestic and international tourists flock to this arc of palm-blanketed islands in the south to enjoy its sun-soaked beaches and the genuine friendliness of residents. Unfortunately, some places are "very crowded and hectic."

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society

"Local people were friendly. It does seem very crowded and hectic, though. Everything is laid out patchwork style—so much driving is required to get from one place to another."

"The peace parks in the south are rather moving. Naha City is busy and has some interesting new buildings. The restoration of the Old Kingdom buildings is worthwhile. Far too much of the island is under the control of the U.S. military and their dreadful bases which cause environmental problems and too many social problems. Other parts are fine and the celebration of the traditional Ryukyu culture is worthwhile."

"Removing the military base would be a good start, but the island overall has too large of a population base."

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