Okinawa's kitchen, the Makishi Public Market, is a very famous tourist destination. Here are a few ways to help you fully enjoy this market.
What is the Makishi Public Market?
The Makishi Public Market, established in 1972, is a very busy and popular market known as the kitchen of the people of Naha in Okinawa. There are more than 150 stores that sell Okinawan products like seafood, vegetables, fruits, meat, processed food, condiments, and souvenirs. Many people visit this place, including both locals and tourists, as the market is close to Kokusai Street in the center of Naha. The 1st floor is mainly for shopping, and Okinawan cuisine can be enjoyed on the 2nd floor.
Enjoy the atmosphere of the market
One of the fun things to do in the Makishi Public Market is to purchase and taste the unique Okinawan food while experiencing the energetic market environment. The 1st floor is the main shopping area of this market. There are specialty stores around the building that sell products like perishables, confectionery, health food, cosmetics and tobacco. The seafood corner sells unique seafood like the double-lined fusilier fish, the knobsnout parrotfish, spiny lobster, and other kinds of seafood including rare shellfish. Okinawan cuisine mainly uses pork, so pork is the main type of meat on offer and they have rare cuts that are hard to find elsewhere. They also have a coffee stand where you can enjoy a coffee or shikuwasa (Okinawan lime) juice.
Once you are satisfied that you’ve fully explored the 1st floor, the next thing on the list is shopping. The price of a product may differ between stores, so select your item carefully. Processed food, confectionery and condiments are recommended as souvenirs. The seafood sold can be tasted on the spot by taking it up to the 2nd floor. Also, a day around the 18th of every month is "Market Day" in the Makishi Public Market. On these days they offer some discounts, and you might have a chance to see the a tuna cutting show.
Eat the seafood you purchased from the 1st floor, at the dining hall on the 2nd floor
The biggest charm of this market is that they have restaurants that can cook seafood purchased from the 1st floor. After carefully selecting your seafood, you can take it upstairs. There are about 10 restaurants in the 2nd floor dining hall. Some of these restaurants offer to cook the seafood in recommended ways to suit each particular item. They will charge 500 JPY per person to cooking 3 different dishes. Isn’t it great that the seafood you purchase is cooked and ready to eat on the spot? We especially recommend fried double-lined fusilier, knobsnout parrotfish sashimi, butter-sauté or sashimi green turban, and grilled or sashimi lobster, all of which are delicious because they're Okinawan specialties.
Taste the delicious food of the 2nd floor
The 2nd floor is a dining hall with about 10 restaurants and souvenir stores like the Chinese food restaurant Tsubame Shokudo, the Okinawan food restaurant Dotonbori, and Kiraku, a restaurant with 120 dishes of both Chinese and Okinawan origin. They offer a variety of Okinawan specialty dishes like Okinawan soba and goya champuru, and every day it'sf illed with people. For dessert we recommend the very popular sata andaagi, a snack similar to fried doughnut holes, from Ayumi, a store specializing in that snack. There are a few restaurants with multilingual support, so please do not hesitate to ask questions about the menu.
Stroll the area around the market
When you are satisfied with shopping and dining, why not walk around the neighborhood of the Makishi Public Market? There are some interesting streets like Heiwa-dori, Mutsumibashi-dori and Ichiba-Hondori, a shopping center that has recently developed as a restaurant area. There are other stores that sell toys and confectionery, and the standing drink bar is also recommended. Yachimun-dori, a street with many stores selling pottery and earthenware, would be nice for those interested in Japanese crafts. This is an area perfect for an fun, aimless stroll!
Have you developed an image of the Makishi Public Market? In this market, you will be able see, taste and experience things that are only found in Okinawa. Please visit the Makishi Public Market, the fun and energetic kitchen of Okinawa.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.