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Okinawa’s Climate [Sightseeing in Okinawa, from Okinawan Locals]

Writer : secci

Okinawa Prefecture is located in the westernmost area of Japan, and it has an almost entirely subtropical climate. Depending on when you visit, it may be tough to decide what sorts of clothes or items to bring along. This article will present monthly average temperatures for Okinawa (from 2016), and I’ll also include some advice for visiting from my personal experience as someone born in Okinawa! Be sure to reference these points when planning your trip to Okinawa!

Okinawa’s Ocean
Okinawa’s Ocean

Clothes to Bring when Travelling to Okinawa! [Sightseeing in Okinawa, from Okinawan Locals]

January

Highest Temperature 19.9℃ - Lowest Temperature 14.9℃

Many tourists visit Okinawa thinking it’s an island wrapped in eternal summer, but it gets surprisingly cold during the winter.
There are few sunny days during the winter, and most days are very windy.
Be sure to bring warm clothes! That said, you do not need gloves or a scarf.
Cherry blossoms are at their peak of beauty from late January through early February. Okinawa has deep pink variations of cherry blossoms, known as “kanhizakura” or “winter cherry blossoms.”

Winter Cherry Blossoms, Viewable in Okinawa
Winter Cherry Blossoms, Viewable in Okinawa

February

Highest Temperature 19.4℃ - Lowest Temperature 14.4℃

The weather remains cold following January. There are many days where cold rain falls alongside blustery winds.
Be sure to prepare for the cold weather! If you go sightseeing to a lot of outdoor locations, you’ll get chilly.

March

Highest Temperature 21.4℃ - Lowest Temperature 16.4℃

March comes with a mix of cold, winter-like days along with sunny days where you can wear short sleeves.
It gets warmer in the latter half of the day, so wearing something like short sleeves plus a hoodie is a good plan. However, it’s not quite warm enough to swim yet in March.

April

Highest Temperature 25.7℃ - Lowest Temperature 20.9℃

April has the most pleasant and livable climate throughout the whole year.
It’s still a little too early to go swimming at the beach, but you’re able to dip your feet in and play around in the water just fine.
Personally, I recommend visiting after July-September!

Okinawan Beach
Okinawan Beach

May

Highest Temperature 28.5℃ - Lowest Temperature 23.6℃

There are lots of tourists who visit Okinawa during Golden Week in the first half of May. Early May is also part of the rainy seasons most years.
The weather shifts quickly during Okinawa’s rainy season, and even if there’s squall-like heavy rain one minute, it can quickly change to bright sunny weather the next. If visiting during this time, be sure to make plans for different types of weather, like “go swimming if it’s sunny” and “go shopping if it’s raining.”
Other than during the major festivals, airfare to Okinawa is typically cheap during the rainy season and the temperatures aren’t too high, so I recommend it for shopping and indoor sightseeing.
You can rest easy and enjoy your trip as long as you bring along a pair of rain boots.

Churaumi Aquarium
Churaumi Aquarium

June

Highest Temperature 31.0℃ - Lowest Temperature 26.4℃

The rainy season continues until about the middle of the year, but it ends around June 20th most years, so this is when you should shoot for visiting Okinawa!
Airfare and hotel rooms also tend to go up in price starting in July, so visiting in June might give you a chance to enjoy Okinawa’s summer at lower prices!

July

Highest Temperature 32.6℃ - Lowest Temperature 27.6℃

Once the rainy season ends, summer is out in full force! The beautiful ocean and blue sky seem to reach on forever, and you can enjoy a resort-like feeling.
However, this is also when typhoons start to occur. Typhoons can quickly appear between July and October, so be sure to check the weather forecasts frequently!

Typhoon – Okinawa Prefecture, Miyakojima – Muiga Cliff
Typhoon – Okinawa Prefecture, Miyakojima – Muiga Cliff

August

Highest Temperature 32.3℃ - Lowest Temperature 27.3℃

August is full of sunny days, and the temperature continues to rise.
However, it doesn’t get too high; it’s rare for the temperature to exceed 33℃. Instead of the temperature rising excessively during the day, it just doesn’t drop too sharply at night.
Keep in mind that typhoons are still a possibility during the following months.

September

Highest Temperature 31.1℃ - Lowest Temperature 26.4℃

Not much is different in September than in August. You should be fine with summer clothes.
There are a lot of consecutive holidays during September, so there are many tourists visiting during this time.

Okinawa – Hibiscus, Ocean
Okinawa – Hibiscus, Ocean

October

Highest Temperature 30.1℃ - Lowest Temperature 25.9℃

Finally, the lowest daily temperature drops to 25℃ in October!
It still feels like summertime during the day, but the wind feels a bit cooler.
It’s a great time of year, when you can enjoy the pleasantly refreshing temperature from evening through the night but summer-like weather during the day!
The temperature of the ocean is fairly low during the morning and evening, so you should not go swimming then.

November

Highest Temperature 26.1℃ - Lowest Temperature 20.7℃

During November, the weather seems to alternate between hot and cold days.
You don’t really get any views of autumn leaves in Okinawa, but the climate is great for sightseeing.
You will need a light jacket.

Okinawa’s Silver Grass in Autumn
Okinawa’s Silver Grass in Autumn

December

Highest Temperature 23.1℃ - Lowest Temperature 18.5℃

Finally, winter comes to Okinawa!
The northern winds get stronger during December, making it feel colder than it actually is.
It also can heat up suddenly on sunny days.
Around the end of the year and New Year’s, it feels like there are only cloudy and rainy days.

Things to be aware of about Okinawa’s climate!

  • UV rays are very strong year-round. Be sure to wear a thin outerwear layer even in the summer!
  • Be aware of typhoons in the summer! Typhoon season is July through October.
  • The wind is strong during the winter, making it feel colder than the actual air temperature.
  • Humidity is fairly high year-round. In particular, humidity can reach over 80% during the rainy season.