Naminoue has sort of a romantic name– shrine above the waves. In Okinawan language, it is actually “Nanmin” なんみん (hence the Nanmin festival that is held here once a year).
It is a sacred area to offer prayers to Nirai Kanai ニライカナイ, which is sort of like “heaven” or “land of the gods.” The shrine was the primary shrine of the Ryukyu kingdom, the head of the 8 shrines of Ryukyu. Of course, like many things in Okinawa, it was destroyed in WWII, but fortunately reconstructed afterwards.
You will often see websites with beautiful shrine on the beach pictures, and while it is a nice shrine, it is not really like the pictures. You can walk down to the beach and the it is pretty to look up and see the shrine there, but it is no Shangri-la or anything. I think to get your best shot, you need to wade into the water… just be careful with your camera. If you google pictures of the shrine, you can definitely see some of these (slightly altered) photos and compare them with my “real life” version of the shrine. Well, also keep in mine these are also using a iphone camera, not a nice camera. Next time maybe I will remember to pictures of some of the other features as well.
There is very little parking here, so it is actually better to park at the beach or downtown Naha.