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Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways fly to Naha from most major Japanese destinations, with tickets usually running between ¥20,000 and ¥30,000, but discounts for booking in advance can bring the price as low as ¥9,000. Ferries between Naha and Kansai, Tokyo and southern Kyushu have fares expensive enough to make flying worthwhile, especially in light of the time you save: compare a two-hour flight from Tokyo versus a four-day boat ride with at best a ¥10,000 difference in price. Naha also has flights to Miyako, Ishigaki, and Yonaguni, all farther out in the archipelago. Several low-cost carriers fly between mainland Japan and Okinawa, including Skymark, Jetstar, and Peach Aviation.
Getting to the city is easy thanks to the clean, convenient monorail. The line begins at the airport, Naha Kuko, and weaves through the city before terminating at the castle Shuri-jo. Shopping, accommodations, and activities are all centered around bustling Kokusai Street in the middle of town. Depending on which end your hotel is closest to, you'll get off at the Kencho-mae, Miebashi, or Makishi Station. Everything you need is in within walking distance or a few monorail stops away. Trains run about every 10 minutes from 6 am until about 11:30 pm, and fares are ¥220 to ¥320 per trip.
When it's time to leave the city, ask your hotel for the closest rental-car place; Naha is denser with these than with noodle shops. It is also easy to rent a car from the airport on arrival. Most companies offer a similar selection of sensible subcompact cars, but if you want to cruise in style check out the vehicles at Celeb Rent-a-Car. You will need to show an international driver’s license or a Japanese driver’s license to rent a vehicle.
ANA (0570/029–709 toll-free. www.ana.co.jp.)
JAL (0120/747–222 toll-free. www.jal.co.jp/en.)
Celeb Rent-a-Car (098/859–3337. www.celeb-r.com.)
Nippon Rent-a-Car (098/868–4554. www.nipponrentacar.co.jp/english.)
OTS Rent-a-Car (098/856–8877.)