The 10 Best Museums in Naha

Naha, the vibrant capital of Okinawa Prefecture, is a treasure trove of culture, history, and art. It’s a place where the past meets the present, and where visitors can immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Ryukyuan heritage. Among the city’s many attractions, its museums stand out as gateways to understanding the island’s unique culture. Let’s dive into the top 10 museums that are a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the heart and soul of Naha.

1. Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum

First on our list is a dual facility that’s a feast for the eyes and the mind. The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum offers a comprehensive look at Okinawa’s natural history, arts, and culture. With its sleek, modern architecture, it’s a place where you can spend hours marveling at everything from ancient pottery to contemporary art. The museum’s interactive displays and well-curated exhibitions make it a hit with visitors of all ages.

2. The Naha City Museum of History

History buffs, rejoice! The Naha City Museum of History is a gem nestled in the heart of the city. It’s housed in the beautifully restored former Naha City Hall, a building that tells its own story. Inside, you’ll find a rich collection of historical documents, photographs, and artifacts that chronicle Naha’s evolution from a Ryukyuan kingdom to a modern city.

3. Tsuboya Pottery Museum

For those with a penchant for craftsmanship, the Tsuboya Pottery Museum is a must-visit. Located in the historic Tsuboya district, known for its pottery, the museum showcases the intricate art of Okinawan ceramics. You’ll be captivated by the delicate beauty of the pieces on display and might even be tempted to take a pottery class offered by the museum.

4. Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum

The Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum serves as a poignant reminder of the Battle of Okinawa and its aftermath. The museum’s exhibits provide a sobering look at the war’s impact on the island and its people. It’s a place for reflection and understanding, with a message of peace that resonates deeply with visitors.

5. Shikinaen Royal Garden

While not a museum in the traditional sense, Shikinaen Royal Garden is a living exhibit of Ryukyuan royal history. Once a retreat for the Ryukyu kings, the garden’s elegant landscapes and architecture offer a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s a spot where you can appreciate the subtleties of traditional Okinawan garden design.

6. Tsushima-maru Memorial Museum

The Tsushima-maru Memorial Museum tells the tragic story of the sinking of the Tsushima-maru, a ship carrying Okinawan children during World War Ii. The museum is a touching tribute to the lives lost and a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit. It’s an emotional journey that stays with you long after your visit.

7. Naha City Traditional Arts and Crafts Center

For a hands-on experience, the Naha City Traditional Arts and Crafts Center is the place to be. Here, you can watch artisans at work and even try your hand at creating your own Okinawan craft. From weaving to lacquerware, the center celebrates the island’s rich artisanal heritage.

8. Okinawa Karate Kaikan

Okinawa is the birthplace of karate, and the Okinawa Karate Kaikan is dedicated to preserving and promoting this martial art. The museum features exhibits on karate’s history and its masters. Plus, you can witness demonstrations or participate in a workshop to learn some moves yourself.

9. The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters

Delve into the depths of history at the Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters. This network of tunnels offers a glimpse into the harsh realities of war. The site has been preserved to honor those who served and to educate future generations about the importance of peace.

10. Okinawa Prefectural Museum of Nature and Science

Last but not least, the Okinawa Prefectural Museum of Nature and Science is a wonderland for curious minds. With exhibits on the island’s Flora, fauna, and marine life, it’s a place where nature’s mysteries are unveiled. The museum’s planetarium is also a highlight, offering a journey through the stars.


  • What are the opening hours for these museums?

    Most museums in Naha are open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, but it’s best to check their official websites for the most accurate information.

  • Are there any combined tickets or passes for multiple museums?

    Some museums offer joint tickets or discounts for multiple visits. Look out for the Okinawa Museum Pass for savings on entrance fees.

  • Can I find English information at these museums?

    Yes, many museums in Naha provide English translations for their exhibits, and some even offer audio guides in multiple languages.


In Naha, museums are more than just buildings; they’re portals to a world rich in history, art, and tradition. From the comprehensive Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum to the serene Shikinaen Royal Garden, each museum offers a unique slice of Okinawan culture. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art aficionado, or simply curious about the world, Naha’s museums are sure to leave a lasting impression. So, pack your curiosity and set off on a cultural adventure that you won’t soon forget!

Remember, these museums aren’t just stops on a tourist’s itinerary; they’re the keepers of Naha’s soul. By visiting them, you’re not just seeing exhibits; you’re experiencing the heartbeat of Okinawa. So, next time you’re in Naha, make sure to give these top 10 museums the attention they truly deserve. Trust me; it’s an experience that will enrich your understanding of this beautiful island and its people.

Kurby Team

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