6 Great Okinawa Golf Courses from Onna Village to Miyakojima
31 August 2016
Okinawa Golf Courses
Without a doubt, golf is a spectacularly popular pastime in Japan. With a greater number of golf courses than all other Asian countries combined, the land of the rising sun has become a favored destination for golfers in search of well-designed and beautifully kept facilities. What relatively few people know is that Japan’s southernmost prefecture is home to more than 30 golf courses, some of them truly world-class, and that long after a blanket of snow has settled over the mainland, golfers in Okinawa can enjoy leisurely days out on the fairway under the warm sub-tropical sun. If golf is your sport, be sure to check out these first-rate Okinawa golf courses.


6 Okinawa Golf Courses Offering Breathtaking Views and Challenging Holes

Shigira Bay Country Club (Miyakojima)

One of the most picturesque Okinawa golf courses, one which may indeed rival all in Japan in terms of sheer wonder, is the Shigira Bay Country Club. Located on the southern coast of Miyakojima, this par 71 course offers spectacular views of the ocean from every hole. Experienced golfers who have played the course identify the 12th hole as the most trying, owing to the position of one of the course’s main water hazards, and admit that it puts their skills to the test. But relative beginners should not be discouraged. While the course was designed with scratch golfers in mind, the fairways are compact enough that golfers who don’t routinely make par won’t feel exhausted by the time they reach the greens.
Shigira Bay Country Club

Okinawa Golf Courses Combine Diversity and Beauty

Shigira Bay Country Club’s world-class course is itself an excellent reason for golfers to visit Miyakojima. If you are the kind of golfer who appreciates variety, there are several other excellent courses to try out while on the island. That said, when it comes to golf in Okinawa, why limit yourself to one location? Wherever you choose to stay, whatever your experience or preferred playing style, Okinawa golf courses have something for everyone. The only question is where to tee off first.


Atta Terrace Golf Resort (Onna Village, Okinawa)

Located near Onna Village in the central portion of Okinawa’s main island, Atta Terrace Golf Resort has a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest Okinawa golf courses. It is an 18 hole, par 72 course with a commanding view of the East China sea totaling 6,925 yards and offering a variety of challenges that are sure to appeal to scratch golfers without being too intimidating for beginners. The first hole, with its flat terrain and absence of water hazards, invites you into the game gently, while the second raises the stakes with a steep slope leading to the green and a famous pine tree overhanging the fairway. With every subsequent hole offering its own set of mercies and provocations, golfers at all levels will find themselves inspired to raise their game. Also, Onna region’s abundance of nature means that in addition to golf, travelers can hike the trails, go fishing or enjoy diving or snorkeling in Okinawa’s famous ocean paradise.


Kanucha Golf Course (Nago City, Okinawa)

Another 18 hole course on the main island is Kanucha Golf Course near Nago City. Though a lesser known place to play golf in Okinawa, this 6,946 yard par 72 course takes about 4.5 hours to play and is considered challenging enough to host championship level tournaments. It is reasonably priced, offers all the amenities you would expect and, like most 18 hole courses in Japan, a caddy can be booked if you reserve in advance—just don’t expect to have many detailed conversations in English.

The best time to play this course is late January when the cherry blossoms start to bloom. Famous for being one of the earliest possible blossom-viewing spots, Nago’s mountainous terrain offers numerous picturesque roads and paths planted with the Okinawa’s famed Kanhizakura cherry trees, the blossoms of which, unlike those on the mainland, are a striking hue of vibrant pink.


The Southern Links (Itoman, Okinawa)

If there is one Okinawa golf course to challenge while on the main island, it’s the Southern Links. Located close to the southernmost tip of the island, the course is directly adjacent to a 50-meter seaside precipice offering an unparalleled view of the Pacific Ocean. Suitable for beginners when the breeze is calm, the course becomes far less forgiving when strong offshore winds start to blow. There are two signature holes, the 7th and the 8th, the tees from which players must hit the ball out over the precipice in order to make par.

The cliffs upon which The Southern Links is built hold a place of particular significance in Okinawan History. Commemorating the sad events that took place there during WWII is a famous stone monument, the Cornerstone of Peace, located in beautiful Peace Memorial Park immediately to the west of the golf course.


Maesato Golf Course (Ishigakijima)

Of course, not all of the best Okinawa golf courses are located on the main island. Ishigakijima is home to Maesato Golf Course, a short 16 hole course that, while not likely to attract experienced golfers for its own sake, is more than good enough for a few rounds here and there while on holiday. What this course offers that many others do not is a mini-golf range on the premises, perfect for keeping the kids entertained while the grownups tee off.


Risonare Kohamajima Country Club (Kohamajima)

Travelers interested in more remote locales should consider reserving a tee at Risonare Kohamajima Country Club, located on Kohamajima, a tiny island between Ishigaki and Iriomote. This is a full 18 hole, par 72 course suitable for less experienced players, while scratch golfers describe it as acceptably challenging. Notably, though the green fees are about half the cost of the more famous courses on other islands, this particular course has the distinction of being home to two holes that set geographical records. The 7th hole is the westernmost hole of all golf courses in Japan, while the 12th is the southernmost. This course is proof that Okinawa golf can and should be enjoyed off the beaten green.


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