Move to 沖縄?

Hey there,
I wonder if anyone of you moved to okinawa for or while learning japanese and how you made it. How did you make your living? Is there a university for studying abroad?
What is your general experience with 沖縄.


I’ve only been on vacation, to Ishigaki island. I can really only think of tourism for earning a living. Unless you’re one of those people who can work anywhere.

@majime any thoughts?


There’s the OIST (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology), which is massive.


OIST is massive in how difficult it is to be accepted…all graduate students studying for a Phd in Science and Technology, accepting only 60 students each year…

I have done some side jobs related to tourism, but bread and butter is English education…more and more non Japanese were working in the tourism industry as it was huge until…you know…for people living here it was overtourism…the infrastructure couldn’t handle the massive influx of people!

But the plus side is that all accepted students get a scholarship, which is huge. So OP would be set for 5 years. And a PhD from OIST is great on a cv in Japan, which would give OP a strong start to find a position.

With respect to the difficulty to get in, it really depends on OP’s background. Re-reading the post, it sounds like they are actually looking for a place to learn Japanese rather than do science, in which case OIST definitely isn’t the right place. :thinking:


of course! only the most 優秀学者 are accepted! most of the business/research of OIST in conducted in English from what I understand.

1 Like

I’ve been living in Okinawa for 10 years. Are you planning on studying abroad here? Check and see if your university has any contacts with any of the universities in Okinawa. Some schools like Okinawa Kokusai which has a relatively large student population might be good. Plus it’s a more laid back school. Meio and Ryukyu are the public universities and I believe they have a Japanese program for matriculating students but you’d have to check. Plus they are selective university.

Okinawa doesn’t have good Japanese schools. They only go to intermediate and are quite small.

As for jobs you can certainly work in Okinawa. It seems a lot of students work at shops, hotels, and restaurants. Plus there are the American bases.

Like most tourism based economies the cost of living is rising while wages remain stagnent. If you only plan to stay a semester or two it’s probably not a problem but don’t be surprised to see how much money you spend on rent and food with a lackluster paycheck and rude tourists.

As for culture and life most people like okinawa. Plenty to do especially if you like water sports and nature.

Since Okinawa is an international destination with many foreign workers you’ll find a good amount of foreign support but not as much as Tokyo or other large cities. Plus the foreign community is pretty stratified here.

All in all I can say I recommend Okinawa with certain reservation and caveats. If you give me more details about your plans and goals I can give you better advice.


I had a program director from a university in Okinawa visit my home university and introduce a new program to all the Japanese language students. I can’t remember the name of it, so I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful than this, but there are definitely programs out there! The program seemed really good too, with content classes being taught in Japanese at the higher levels rather than just a typical Japanese classroom. I think they also had specialized content courses relating to your major, like business, biology, etc. I had already finished my study abroad by then, otherwise I would have seriously considered it. I think the name had Ryuku in it somewhere? Anyway, I wish you the best of luck! I personally have visited Okinawa for a short vacation and it was very beautiful and culturally diverse from the rest of Japan.

Probably University of the Ryukyus. I know a few students that went through their Japanese program. It’s serious business and highly selective.

1 Like

I was curious, so I went and dug out the pamphlet they gave me and it is University of the Ryukus. It makes sense that they would be selective since the program seems so good, but if they have a partnership with your university, I think it may be easier to get in? I don’t think they would send someone all the way from Okinawa to visit my school and tell us about it if they were planning on rejecting all of our applicants. If OP’s school has a partnership with the university, I say go for it!

Yes if there is an established relationship between schools it’s probably easier to get in as opposed to applying as a non-student or unaffiliated student.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.