Floating 400 miles south of mainland Japan, anchored in the warm waters of the East China Sea, Okinawa is a bona fide island paradise. One of Japan's best kept secrets, three island chains stretching south-west of Okinawa Main Island are home to pristine beaches, subtropical rain forests, an abundance of fresh food and the ancient Ryukyu culture.
A short flight from bustling Tokyo, Okinawa offers a breath of fresh, tropical air. Blissfully empty beaches and reefs bursting with life also make it the perfect place to explore by boat. And what better way to sail Japan's seas than on a traditional wooden sabani sailboat?
Formerly used by the Uminchu people for fishing, these boats use both sails and paddles – or 'wakes' – to cut through the waves, and are largely considered to be the only small wooden sailboats to still exist in Japan – carved from local woods and traditionally built all without using a single screw.