Welcome to Okinawa, Japan!

Japan's southernmost prefecture, Okinawa is a chain of islands with its own history as an independent kingdom and a distinctly subtropical climate, as well as the birthplace of karate. Explore the ruins and restored castles of the Ryukyu kings, and visit magnificent beaches and coastlines with an amazing array of coral and undersea life. Come for whale watching and dragon boat races, rare flora and fauna, and an island mindset that makes you forget the clock and follow the sun.

The main island of Okinawa is a popular starting point for tourists wanting to explore this sub-tropical part of Japan. The city of Naha boasts an ancient castle, a vibrant shopping street, and many other attractions that make it well worth a visit. Naha is by far the biggest city in Okinawa, home to 60 percent of the main island's residents. It is also home to Okinawa's only public rail system, and the Okinawa monorail provides an easy route through the city to the old capital of Shuri.

Shuri Castle

Shuri Castle was the palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom from the 15th century until it came under Japanese rule in the 19th century.The castle has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, most recently in 1992, after its destruction in World War II. As you walk among its many buildings and courtyards, you will find yourself transported back to the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is part of Ocean Expo Park and is considered one of the biggest and best aquariums in the world. Its tanks are massive enough to accommodate a whale shark. Located on the coast of Motobu Peninsula, the aquarium was rebuilt in 2002 and is now home to 740 different species of underwater life. As you enter the aquarium, you will discover a pool where you can touch living starfish with your hands and a tank containing a breathtaking display of living coral, the first large-scale exhibit of this type in the world. One of the most popular exhibits is the main tank. Known as the Kuroshio Sea, the tank is so large that it provides a home for the whale shark, which can measure up to 12 meters in length. The tank also accommodates manta rays and many species of rare fish.

Ishigaki-jima

Ishigaki-jima is an island paradise, with crystal waters and colorful coral and fish just beneath the surface. About 200 miles off of the Okinawan mainland, Ishigaki-jima ia covered in lush green mountains, including Mt. Omoto-dake, the highest mountain in Okinawa. This makes for incredible views of the island, its coastline, and the surrounding ocean. The coral reefs in Ishigaki-jima are some of the most scenic in the world, noted especially for the variety of coral beneath the clear water. Notable spots include Shiraho, for its many types of colored coral, and Kabira Bay, with some of the bluest waters in Okinawa. In Kabira Bay, swimming, snorkeling and diving are prohibited, but glass bottom boat rides allow visitors to see beneath the water. Black pearls are also cultivated in the bay, one of only two spots in Japan.

Tokashiki-jima

Tokashiki-jima, the largest of the Kerama Islands, only has a circumference of about 10 square miles. Tropical vegitation covers the island, which is also surrounded by hills. Long, sandy beaches spotted with dried coral surround the island. Diving and fishing are some of the most popular activities on the islands, as is humpback whale watching in winter and early spring. 

Note:

BIOTC 2019 is not authorized to assist with the VISA process beyond providing the Notification of Acceptance Letter and Invitation Letter (after registration) issued by the BIOTC conference. Should your application be denied, BIOTC cannot change the decision of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, nor will BIOTC engage in discussion or correspondence with the MOFA or the Embassy of Japan on behalf of the applicant. BIOTC can't supply special visa documents issued from local Japan.

Visa Information

Any foreign visitor who wishes to enter Japan must have a passport, which will remain valid during the period of stay. In order to enter Japan, visitors usually must comply with the conditions of their visas and authorizations of resident eligibility. However, visa exemptions can be made for citizens of sixty-six different countries provided that their stays are within ninety days such as with stays for sightseeing purposes and that they do not engage in activities where they earn compensation. This page provides information on short stays. Revisions in visa conditions are made periodically. Therefore, please check the ??Visa?? section in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website if the latest and detailed information on standard visas or visas other than for those for short stay programs is needed.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html
On Short Stays ?C Countries and regions that do not require visas
The following is a list of nationals of countries that have "Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements" with Japan:

For a period of 90 days or less
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria(*7), Bahamas, Barbados(*6), Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany(*7), Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong(*3), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland(*7), Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lesotho(*6), Liechtenstein(*7), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao(*4), Malaysia(*1), Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Serbia(*2), Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland(*7), Taiwan(*5), Tunisia, Turkey(*6), United Kingdom(*7), United States and Uruguay

For a period of 15 days or less
Thailand(*2) and Brunei
(*1)For nationals of Malaysia (since July 1, 2013), visas are not required only for holders of ePassport in compliance with ICAO standards. Those who do not hold such ePassport are advised to obtain a visa in advance, otherwise will be strictly examined and may be refused entry to Japan.
(*2)For nationals of Thailand (since July 1, 2013) and Serbia (since May 1, 2013), visas are not required only for holders of ePassport in compliance with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standards.
(*3)For citizens of Hong Kong, visas are not required only for holders of Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport issued by the Hong Kong SAR of the People??s Republic of China or British National Overseas (BNO) passports who have the right of residence in Hong Kong.
(*4)For citizens of Macao, visas are not required only for holders of SAR passport issued by the Macao SAR of the People??s Republic of China.
(*5)For citizens of Taiwan, visas are not required only for holders of Taiwan passport which includes a personal identification number.
(*6)For nationals of Barbados (since April 1, 2010), Turkey (since April 1, 2011) and Lesotho (since April 1, 2010), visas are not required only for holders of Machine-Readable Passport (MRP) or ePassport in compliance with ICAO standards. Those who do not hold an MRP or ePassport are advised to obtain a visa in advance, otherwise will be strictly examined and may be refused entry to Japan.
(*7)For nationals of those countries with visa exemptions permitting stays of up to 6 months under the bilateral visa exemption arrangements, those who wish to stay in Japan for more than 90 days are required to apply for an extension of the period of stay to the Ministry of Justice (Regional Immigration Bureau) before the period of permitted stay is to expire.
(*8)Nationals of Peru (since July 15, 1995) and Colombia (since February 1, 2004), are advised to obtain a visa in advance, otherwise will be strictly examined and may be refused entry to Japan.
A "Temporary Visitor's Visa" is usually required as permission to stay in Japan for a period of up to 90 days for non-remunerative activities such as sightseeing, participating in amateur sports, visiting relatives, taking inspection tours, participating in lectures or research, attending conferences, making business contacts or other similar activities.
Needless to say, the "Temporary Visitor's Visa" cannot be used for any remunerative purposes, which involve profit making or payment acceptance within Japan by the visitor.

Countries that require visas
Nationals of countries that do not have "Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements"with Japan must obtain a visa. Please see the information below if you are a visitor from a country that does not fall under the sixty-six countries with the visa exemption programs above.
China http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/topics/china.html 
Russia, CIS countries, or Georgia: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/russia_nis.html 
Philippines: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/philippine.html

Other nationalities (if a visa is necessary)
http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/other_visa.html 
To apply for a visa, please check the following link:
External:
http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/pdfs/procedure.pdf 
As the type of documents required for the application may differ according to the purpose of your visit, the applicant is advised to check with the Japanese Embassy or consulate beforehand.

More information about Japan Visa, please visit: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/basic-info/tourist-info/visa-information.html