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Posts Tagged ‘Kokusaidori’

After a while of relaxing by the pool with a chilled glass of Orion, we felt that we were just about ready to head off and do some exploring, in what could be seen as a different country rather than just another part of Japan – Okinawa, but more on that later. Seeing as we weren’t receiving our rental car until tomorrow, we had to make use of our 1 day monorail pass that we had picked up earlier at the airport. On today’s agenda was a famous pottery district on Naha – Tsuboya and of course one of the most famous roads of the island itself – Kokusaidori. 

Jumping on the monorail we got off at the nearest station and started making our way over to Kokusaidori of which Tsuboya is a turn off about 10 minutes down the street. On the way we grabbed a bite to eat at the local Mos Burger and noticed that the Mos Burgers here had a slight variation on the menu from the mainland –  they had additional toppings of the Goya vegetable. The Goya vegetable depicted to the right is an very bitter vegetable which is extremely famous in Okinawa, I haven’t looked into the research as of yet, but many believe that the Goya vegetable is one of the main reasons why Okinawa has a staggering large amount of people aging to up and beyond 100 years old. Needless to say, in my opinion the Goya vegetable is pretty unlikable due to its bitterness and will most likely not be liked by anyone who only likes mainstream food. Fortunately for us there was a typical Mos Burger chili dog on the menu, so I downed a few of these before making our way into the entrance to Kokusaidori. 

Kokusaidori is a very famous area of Naha, and is characterized by several American related goods stores, and more importantly little souvenir Shisa gifts made from pottery and the like. The street is filled with shops where you can pick up anything from T-Shirts to Beer glasses with the local lingo stamped. There is a strong American presence on the street, and most tourists inevitably end up here when staying in Naha. To go along with this there is several bars and restaurants selling American food if that is what you’re into. Along the street there is two very notable stops, the first being Blue Seal Ice Creamery which has made itself as one of the more famous brands on the island, and the Jump shop selling unique merchandise from the Jump brand with a noticeable Okinawan difference. While not so famous, but equally as impressive in terms of taste is a small frozen Yogurt store where you pay per gram and you can choose from a wide variety of flavours and toppings. If you end up finding the yogurt store as it is not as well known as Blue Seal, definitely stop by to taste arguably some of the best frozen yogurt you could probably get your hands on. While your shopping on Kokusaidori, if you get lucky there will be some form of traditional dance and drumming along the street raising money for something. Whether you choose to give any money or not is up to you, but either way you’ll get to see some traditional arts of which you might usually need to go to some kind of festival or bar for. 

Finishing off with Kokusaidori we made our way into Tsuboya Pottery district. Getting to Tsuboya requires you walking through a long arcade with a plethora of shops on both sides as per usual Japanese style. The shops range from dried fish to souvenir stores, however you’ll know when you’ve reached Tsuboya as there will be pottery everywhere. If you can’t find your way, kindly ask people along the way and English or not they should be able to point you in the right direction if you say ‘Tsuboya’. Tsuboya starts at the end of the arcade and goes for about 1 kilometer and eventually ends up on a main road. You’ll notice the small lion type creature on most of the roofs in this area as it is the local guardian ‘Shisha’. This is probably the most popular souvenir in the area as every pottery shop having Shisha’s in all shapes and sizes or even a Shisha carved into plates. Before splurging on a pottery souvenir I suggest walking for about 10 minutes to get a taste for what each store has, as there is a large variation in price and quality from store to store. A quick tip is if you want a souvenir pick up a small Shisha statue, the guardians always come in pairs and if you get one, the other is obviously free. The best part of this is if its a gift, you can give two to friends and family for the price of one. After picking up our own souvenirs we made our way by Monorail to the DFS factory outlets of Naha.

DFS Factory outlets has a monorail stop right outside the building and if you keep your eye outside the monorail there is no way you’ll miss this building. There isn’t a lot of selection in relation to high end fashion, which is a shame unless your wallet is full of cash, but at the exchange rate we were getting at the time, everything in general cost us more than what we would of been paying back at home so we skipped out on buying a lot of nice clothes. Needless to say there is a huge variety to choose from the high end brands of Gucci, Channel, Hugo, Ralph and the like. When we were done it was getting dark and there was still a bit of rain that was coming down every once and a while so we made our way back to Chisun Hotel and Resort and called it a day, as we had a full day up at the Ocean Expo park coming up. 

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