5 cool finds steps away from Okinawa’s main shopping street
Venture beyond Okinawa’s most famous shopping street, Kokusai Dori into the quieter laneways to find unique souvenirs and delicious food offerings.
- February 2019
Taking on Kokusai Dori is a mammoth task — both sides of this 1.6km road are lined with shops selling everything from affordable local crafts to expensive artisanal ware. But if you’re seeking some respite from throngs of tourists, explore the side streets — the pace is significantly slower so you can take your time to take in the sights and hunt down these cool finds.
Pork Tamago Onigiri Honten
Okinawans love spam but then again, who doesn’t? So when Pork Tamago Onigiri Honten decided to sell what’s essentially a grilled spam rice sandwich with a fried omelette and a variety of toppings like mentaiko all wrapped in crispy seaweed, people couldn’t get enough of it. And judging from the line outside the shop, they still can’t.
2 Chome-8-35 Matsuo, Naha
Makishi Public Market
The first floor of this busy market is a foodie’s dream, with fresh seafood harvested from local waters, pickle stalls (don’t be shy to ask for samples!), and a colourful array of fresh fruits and vegetables. Shop up a storm, then head to any of the restaurants on the second floor, where they’ll whip up a feast using
2 Chome-10-1 Matsuo, Naha
Introducing the best booze deal in town — senbero. For around SGD$12 or less, you get three alcoholic drinks and a side dish. You’ll find senbero easily in Okinawa but Adachiya is the bar that started the craze. It’s open from 6am. You know, just in case you feel like having beer for breakfast.
1 Chome-20-9 Central
Tsuboya Yachimun Street
Since 1682, this street has been the epicentre of Okinawa’s pottery industry. For modern designs using traditional techniques, head to Yacchi & Moon and Guma Guwa. Look out for Arakaki Pottery Store, which continues to make plates and tea cups in the traditional style of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
1 Chome Tsuboya, Naha
OK, so technically Suisavon is on Kokusai Dori itself but it is worth checking out for unique souvenirs. This brand was created with the mission to celebrate the island’s natural beauty. The organic soaps are made with essential oils extracted from locally grown plants and fruits such as hibiscus and shikuwasa, a type of lime. The delicate scent of the soaps will take you back to Okinawa, even when you’ve returned home.