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

Writer : secci

Okinawa Prefecture is Japan’s only location with a subtropical climate. Its climate is very different than that of other prefectures, so there are many people who are unsure of what sorts of clothes they should wear for their trips there.

Travelling to Okinawa
Travelling to Okinawa

In a generalized sense, you should prepare for your trip noting that April through November is Okinawa’s summer (high temperatures), while December through March is winter (low temperatures).

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

Be Ready with Hot-Weather Clothes for April through November

Setup for Swimming in the Ocean
Setup for Swimming in the Ocean

Be Aware of UV Rays

During this season, you should normally be fine with lightweight clothing like short-sleeve shirts and shorts.

However, you should definitely bring at least one long-sleeved item, like a cardigan, to put on to block UV rays and to keep warm in air-conditioned areas!

Okinawa’s UV rays are strong enough to cause sunburn just by being outside for around an hour without any protective measures. Be especially careful in mid-summer, from June through August. During that time, it is best to avoid swimming and outdoor sightseeing while the sun is at its strongest. You can swim in the ocean until about the end of October.

Things to Note About Shoes

There are many outdoor sightseeing locations in Okinawa, so sneakers are more practical to wear than sandals.
Water shoes are indispensable for playing in the ocean. If you go barefoot, the hot sand, fragments of coral, and rocky areas could all injure your feet.

Clothes for Hot Weather

Swimsuits, a long-sleeve rash guard, and water shoes are must-haves for going into the ocean!

  • Typical clothes should be light clothing like t-shirts and shorts
  • A long-sleeved jacket (to protect against UV rays)
  • Sneakers
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Combination parasol-umbrella
UV Care is Essential in Hot Weather
UV Care is Essential in Hot Weather

Be Ready with Cold-Weather Clothes for December through March

Picture of Cold-Weather Clothes
Picture of Cold-Weather Clothes

The Wind is Strong in Winter

Even Okinawa’s subtropical climate can drop below 10 degrees during the winter at its coldest.
The sun is typically blocked by many clouds during the winter in Okinawa, and the northern winds are so strong that the wind-chill makes it feel even colder.

You do not need a heavy coat, but long sleeves plus outerwear is essential!
(Incidentally, I get cold easily, so during the winter I tend to wear long-sleeved innerwear, a long-sleeved shirt, and something else like a sweater)

Okinawa’s Ocean
Okinawa’s Ocean

Additionally, Okinawa’s tourist facilities and hotels are typically not equipped with heating units, despite being fully air-conditioned.
It can get quite chilly in your room during the mornings, so having something warm to wear is necessary.

However, there are also days where the weather seems great but it suddenly feels hot like it’s mid-summer, so be sure to adjust your outerwear as needed.
UV rays are strong even during the winter, so be sure to not forget your UV care precautions! Sunscreen and a hat are convenient to have just in case.

Summary of Winter Clothes

There are hot days even during the winter, so bring some light clothing as well

  • Typical clothes should be long sleeves, long pants, and outerwear
  • If wearing a skirt, adjust your temperature with stockings and tights
  • Sneakers
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
Clothes for Cold Seasons
Clothes for Cold Seasons

As long as you’re aware of the above points, you should be able to comfortably enjoy your trip to Okinawa!
Also, you’re able to buy clothes at local shopping malls and sightseeing spots, so go on and enjoy your trip without worries!