Sunny, balmy, it is the Miami, Hawaii, Boracay of Japan
A rare snowstorm dumped heavy snow and plunged Tokyo into travel chaos on Jan. 22, according to reports. Other parts of Japan are equally in the grip of winter. But there’s one area in that country that’s free of sleet and snow, and, in fact, is about to welcome cherry blossoms: Okinawa.
The tiny island off the southern tip of Japan experiences sakura season much earlier, from late January to mid-February. Okinawa itself is just the biggest island (about 1,206 square kilometers) in a group of 160 islands comprising the Okinawa Prefecture, which is home to about 1.4 million people.
Because of its subtropical location—think Miami, Hawaii, Cancun on the same latitude—Okinawa experiences balmy weather all year, even in winter. At this time, for instance, while the rest of Japan is bundled up, it’s like Baguio in Okinawa, the breeze crisp and nippy but not chilly.