Those in Okinawa looking for an “authentic” American experience will often head to American Village, in Chatan, central Okinawa. As an American, it was interesting to see how Americana has manifested in Okinawa. Of course, the themed shopping district caters heavily to the US military personnel that occupy a large portion of the island.
Most people know Okinawa as being a part of Japan. However, it wasn’t until 1879 that Okinawa became Japan’s southernmost prefecture. Prior to that, Okinawa was known as the Ryukyu Islands and was ruled by the Ryukyu Kingdom, which consisted of three individual principalities: Hokuzan, Chuzan, and Nanzan. Nakijin Castle, built in the early 14th century and home to the Hokuzan Kingdom, is now one of five castles of the Ryukyu Kingdom that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.