The Okinawa prefecture is situated to the south of Japan, famous for its white sands, clear seas, and diverse colorful marine fauna. With temperatures that rarely dip below 15 °C (59°F) even in the midst of winter in Japan, the warm climate here is perfect for travelers seeking a ray of sunshine. Beyond the sandy beaches are beautiful landscapes and quaint eateries unnoticed by many.
Okinawa has been featured in numerous pieces of work. You can see Okinawa through the BananaMana Films producers, Jason Chan and Christian Lees’ eyes and lens in the award-winning film, Jimami Tofu.
Here are some off the beaten track locations where you can feel the native Okinawan spirit. These featured places are also the inspiration for the film, Jimami Tofu. There will be the one night preview event available in Singapore on March 28, 2018. If you want to view the full film, please book from here.
An epicurean journey with traditional Ryukyuan cuisine
The Ryukyuan people call the Ryukyu islands their home, where Okinawa is the largest island found there. The Okinawan cuisine differs greatly from traditional Japanese cuisine, with the island’s unique history and different climate. You can find touches of American, Chinese and even South-East Asian influence in the dishes here.
Experience authentic Ryukyuan cuisine at these top restaurants and cafe in Okinawa.
1. Nuchigafu, top-rated restaurant in Naha
Step through the Noren (traditional Japanese fabric dividers) into an establishment seemingly untouched by time. The lovingly preserved Ryukyuan residence turned teahouse is now a top-rated cafe-restaurant. The well-kept garden, with the accompaniment of bamboo wind chimes, set the perfect backdrop for the meal you will partake here.
Do not be misled by these deceptively simple dishes. Treat your taste buds to the authentic Ryukyuan cuisine on offer at Nuchigafu. You get to sample the unique Okinawa bubble tea (Baku-Baku Cha) during their lunch period. However, it will be amiss to skip their dinner courses, where you will sample the exquisite spread of Okinawan dishes
Address: 1 Chome-28-3 Tsuboya, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 902-0065
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Monday: 11.30am - 3pm, 5.30pm - 10pm, closed on Tuesdays
2. Akatafu, experience the fusion of Japanese and Chinese in local fare
Ryukyu Ryori Akatafu offers up soothing local dishes that please the taste buds and is good for you. That’s two reasons for you to head over and sample the Nuchigusui, what locals term Ryukyuan dishes. Nuchigusui, translated as life medicine, is often hailed as the reason why Okinawans live to a ripe old age.
While the tasteful dishes are the main draw, the quaint Okinawan folk house turned restaurant is situated just minutes away from the Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This cozy restaurant can only fit 10 to 15 customers and requires a reservation. Every single dish is prepared daily based on the number of reservations making this an intimate affair where you can focus on the food.
Ryukyu Ryori Akatafu (赤田風)
Address: 1-37 Shuriakata-cho, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture
Website: Attraction Name
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 6 pm - 11 pm, Closed on Sunday, Reservations Only
3. Cafe Koku, dine up high
Situated on a hill, you get to gaze down upon the nearby ocean. If you are lucky, you may be able to spot the Izenajima and Iheyajima islands in clear weather. Enjoy the carefully crafted menu, assembled with locally sourced vegetables as its core. Everything served at this cafe is made by hand.
Be sure to order the Tempura Vegetables. Grown from a nearby farm, the local produce is then battered and fried to a perfection, retaining its juiciness while having a nice crisp crunch when you bite down. All while you look out and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Address: 2031-138 Shoshi, Nakijin-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Website: Attraction Name
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 11.30am to 5pm
Japan plays host to a wide range of delicacies that are sampled and spread all over the world. From Sushi, promising a refined taste amplified by the freshness of its ingredients, to a heavy Ramen, a dish involving toiling for hours to craft a hearty broth and garnished with melt-in-your-mouth pork slices.
Okinawa promises a whole new range of delights for you to explore. If you wish to learn more about the traditional Okinawan fare, check out this article on the top foods in Okinawa.
The best photogenic spots
Photogenic spots are a must-go for every trip. How else would you make your friends swoon with envy as you upload photos after photos of these alluring spots. Fret not if you are unsure of where to go. Here is a carefully curated list of the best places to go on the island to snap the best shots that will remind you of this wonderful trip for years to come.
4. The stone pathway of Kinjo-cho
Step onto a path built back in the 16th century, in the Ryukyu dynasty. The Kinjo-cho stone-paved pathway connects the Shuri castle to the Shikina-en garden. With traditional houses beside it, as well as a Kanagusuku Ufuhi-ja. an old school water well.
Soak in the atmosphere as you walk down this path, much akin to a walk down history. Keep your eye out for the sacred grove beside it, where the 300 years old trees reside.
Kinjo-cho Stone-paved Path (金城町）
Address: Kinjo-cho, Shuri, Naha City, Okinawa Precture
5. The Bise village, hidden amongst the trees
With rays of light peeking through the thick foliage, animals roaming around, and the faint sound of the sea nearby, the Bise village brings to mind scenes from a Studio Ghibli production. You can take a peaceful stroll around the traditional Okinawan village on sandy paths, with gentle giants, Fukugi trees lining the sides. The Fukugi trees act as windbreaks since time immemorial, a veritable shield against the fierce typhoon seasons.
Bise village (備瀬地区)
Address: Bise, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun 905-0207, Okinawa Prefecture
6. Denku-no-eki Haso Park
The Denku-no-eki Haso Park is best visited in spring, where the wide range of flowers found there can be seen in full bloom. Make sure to grab a few servings of the goat milk cookies found there, a delectable snack that promises a unique taste. A respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Denku-no-eki Haso Park is a perfect slice of heaven where you can unwind, take in the fresh air and just enjoy yourself.
Denku-no-eki Haso Park (田空の駅 ハーソ公園）
Address: 1334 Gushiken, Motobu-chō, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture 905-0201
Feel the sea breeze at these locations
Beach fronts are always a sight to behold in Okinawa. Look out into the horizon at these locations and experience the salt spray on your face.
7. Cape Zampa
The only cape with a lighthouse, Cape Zampa is definitely worth a visit when you are visiting Okinawa. The view from the Cape is breathtaking, where you will be treated to great views of the island and the cool ocean breeze. For an even better experience, take the time and effort to climb up the lighthouse.
Remember to don a hat and easy walking shoes for the journey up.
Address: 9201 Zamami, Yomitan-son, Nakagami-gun 904-0328, Okinawa Prefecture
8. Sesoko beach
The Sesoko beach delivers clear, white sands bordering pristine waters. If you gaze out into the ocean, you may catch sight of Mount Gusuku on the neighboring island of Ie Island. Don’t hesitate to dip your toes or even wade into the waters under the watch of the lifeguards stationed at the beach. There is a myriad of activities to get up to on the beach. For more ideas, check out this article on the best activities on the hidden beaches of Okinawa.
Address: 5583-1, Sesoko, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture 905-0227
Looking for a place to stay?
Having a comfortable place to stay as you end your day is a joy for any trip.
If you are traveling with the whole family, check out this article on where to stay on the Okinawa Main Island for under USD150.
If you are looking for something fancier, we have just the thing for you with the Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Hotel. Located just 10 minutes away from the airport, it’s a perfect blend of convenience and luxury. Check out our review of the Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Hotel.
Golf course and a resort hotel together. That’s what Kanucha Bay Hotel & Villas promises. You can be assured that your every need will be met when you check into the Kanucha Resort. To find out more, check out our review of the Kanucha Bay Hotel & Villas.
The epitome of luxury and comfort, check into the Ritz Carlton Okinawa and be pampered. Treat yourself to authentic Okinawan cuisine with the on-site restaurant after you take a dip in the indoor pool. Read our review on the Ritz Carlton Okinawa to find out more.
Come experience beautiful Okinawa!
These recommendations are based on the award-winning film ‘Jimami Tofu’, for those interested in the trail map, you can download it from here
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