5 Must-Buy Souvenirs When Traveling to Okinawa
A lot of tourists visit Okinawa for its atmosphere similar to other countries. This area, which has developed its own unique culture, has a lot of popular local products and other fascinating products. Here we will be talking about our recommended Okinawa souvenirs.
Chinsuko is something commonly eaten during celebrations back in the Ryukyu Dynasty. A lot of people have come to love it and it is now considered the most popular souvenir in Okinawa. This simple baked sweetis made with wheat flour, sugar, and lard, but is light with a hint of sweetness. Arakaki Chinsuko is the birthplace of this treat. Arakaki Pastry Shop opened in 1908, and the current Arakaki Chinsuko, which operates on Kokusai Street, opened in 1978. You can sample various flavors of Chinsuko in the store, so you can choose which flavor you like best. The light bite-size chinsuko is largely popular among women. There are flavors like plain, sea salt, salt and pepper, purple yam, chocolate, and brown sugar, among others. We recommend the variety set which lets you savor all of the flavors little by little.
2. Awamori Cake
When we talk about Okinawan liquor, then it's definitely awamori. If you plan to go to Minyo Izakaya, you will be able to see customers talking and dancing with each other with awamori in one hand while listening to a musical performance using sanshin, a traditional Okinawan stringed instrument. Of course, you can bring awamori as a souvenir but if you don't want a drink you can buy a treat instead. The awamori cake from Okinawa Farm, is, as what its name suggests, a cake made withawamori, and it is well-known for its taste. Originally, brandy cake was popular a long time ago and what followed the trend was not rum but awamori. This product was created from the idea of using awamori in making the cake. This cake would taste good with sake that has been fermented for 3 years. This product has received the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Award in the fair where souvenirs from all over Japan gather.
3. Royce' Ishigakijima Chocolate
A common souvenir when travelling is chocolate. Of course it's also available in Okinawa, but this chocolate is slightly different. This chocolate, produced by Royce' Ishigakijima, goes well with food and fruits like mangoes, pineapples, and muscovado. The rich sweetness of mangoes and the natural sourness of pineapples produces an exquisite blend with the chocolate. They also have shikuwasa (Okinawan lime) and awamori. There sell these for an affordable price of 486 JPY for 9 pieces. Buy several flavors as a souvenir and try to eat and compare them with everyone. They also have potato chips dipped in chocolate for a salty-sweet snack you can look forward to.
4. Beniimo Tart
Purple yam is one of Okinawa's popular products. Beniimo Tart, a sweet which uses this as an ingredient, is remarkably popular. You can really feel the exquisiteness of this sweet from the plentiful purplish red yam placed on top of the boat-shaped dough. This product is mainly sold in Okashi Goten, a chain operating within Okinawa. There are workshops in branches in Yomitan, Matsuo along the Kokusai Street, and Onna, where you can view the manufacturing process through the glass. There's also a space allotted for eating newly-baked tarts. In addition, the Onna branch, which is best known for their gate's design inspired by Shuri Castle, lets you experience making beniimo tarts. If you give your handmade tarts to someone as a present, they're sure to be pleased.
5. Yamahara Shikuwasa
What comes into your mind when we talk about Okinawan fruits? Pineapple is a popular product but the fruit that we want to introduce to you is shikuwasa, Okinawan lime. You should buy a bottle of its 100% juice as a souvenir. Its name is Yamahara shikuwasa, since it's shikuwasa harvested in Yamahara in the northern part of Okinawa. The ripe, sweet ones as well as the green ones have high nutritional value and produce a great blend when mixed together. This produces a delicious and easy-to-drink juice. Since the manufacturing system is consistently carried out by the seller Matayoshi Yakusoen from the farm management to the processing and management, you can drink this without any worry. You can dilute this with water before drinking it or mix it with liquor. Children will be sure to love it if you use it in jelly or ice cream.*Photo is for illustrative purposes only.
A lot of people visit Okinawa throughout the year, so there are various souvenirs like sweets and folk crafts. Although we have focused on food and drinks in this article, there is a wide selection of souvenirs you can choose from like the Menso-re tumbler only sold at Okinawa Starbucks, the Ryukyu glass made by melting old glass bottles, and shiisa goods which are patterned from a legendary beast which is said to be a charm to ward off evil. Choose an Okinawan souvenir that matches the receiver!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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