The archipelago of Okinawa is formed by some 60 islands spread out in an arc over more than 1 000km between the south of Kyushu and Taiwan. The largest, Okinawa-honto, is the political and economic centre of the prefecture, with Naha as its capital. It also holds the majority of the island's cultural attractions. The Yaeyama Islands further out to the south are only sparsely populated and are better preserved; they guarantee a change of scene and idyllic sun-drenched holidays. Beyond this snapshot of an island paradise, however, lies the memory of the Battle of Okinawa, one of the bloodiest of the Second World War.