[Okinawa] Around 600 Shops to Visit! An In-Depth Guide to the Treaesure Trove that is Kokusai-Dori!
Kokusai-dori is one of Okinawa's tourist attractions. Lined by numerous souvenir shops and gourmet restaurants, it is packed with visitors and tourists from inside and outside Japan every day. With that, here are some of the attractions and spots that you have to check out at Kokusai-dori and its surrounding areas!
- What is Kokusai-dori?
- Looking to Buy Souvenirs in Bulk? Head to the Major Stores at Kokusai-dori!
- Makishi Public Market – A Treasure Trove of Ingredients and Souvenirs
- Cute Miscellaneous Goods Unique to Okinawa as Souvenirs!
- Get Okinawan Pottery at Tsuboya Yachimun-dori!
What is Kokusai-dori?
Located in Okinawa’s Naha City, Kokusai-dori is a famous street that is known as Naha's largest commercial district. It spans approximately 1.6km from end to end! It will take around 30 minutes to walk down the whole street. There are around 600 shops selling various products, including souvenir stores, variety stores, restaurants, hotels and other establishments on this street, drawing in throngs of visitors in search of souvenirs and food that are unique to Okinawa. The area around Kokusai-dori is also dotted with spots that are recommended for those going on a souvenir tour. Read on to find out more about the attractions at Kokusai-dori and get information on its surrounding areas!
Looking to Buy Souvenirs in Bulk? Head to the Major Stores at Kokusai-dori!
If you are someone who doesn’t have a lot of time or want to buy large quantities in a single outing, then it would be best to go to large-scale souvenir shops that offer a wide selection of products. The area near Kencho-mae Station on the Yui Rail is home to a string of popular major stores, including Washita that offers the slightly rare and unique Ryukyu's cosmetics on top of the other Okinawan specialty products. It is also where you will find the Okinawaya Main Store that sells awamori (Okinawan distilled liquor), character goods that are only available in Okinawa and many other products that make it look like a department store. And don't forget Okashi Goten, a store that specializes in sweets that use Okinawa’s famous beni-imo (sweet purple potato).
Makishi Public Market – A Treasure Trove of Ingredients and Souvenirs
The Makishi Public Market, found behind the Kokusai-dori, is nicknamed the “kitchen of Okinawa”. Selling Okinawan vegetables and fruits, rare seafood and fresh produce caught from Okinawan coastal waters, and souvenirs for tourists, it has become a spot that is enjoyed not just by locals, but by visitors as well. This market has an area filled with eateries where you can taste Okinawan dishes, so indulge in authentic dishes unique to Okinawa to your heart’s content. Make sure to go around the market, too.
※The market will be reconstructed due to aging and deterioration, so a temporary market will be set up about 100m from the Daiichi Makishi Public Market starting July 1, 2019. The market is scheduled to reopen at its original location around 2022.
Cute Miscellaneous Goods Unique to Okinawa as Souvenirs!
Cute sundry goods that will make you remember Okinawa are also recommended for yourself and as souvenir for those back home! There are many shops at and around Kokusai-dori where you will encounter miscellaneous goods that scream “Okinawa!”, such as Shisa (lion statue) that is known as guardian deity of homes, and Ryukyu glass that will let you enjoy various kinds of beauty at any angle. If you go a little further to the back of some of the other streets leading from Kokusai-dori, you will be welcomed by a collection of fancy variety stores! Try to find a souvenir you like.
Get Okinawan Pottery at Tsuboya Yachimun-dori!
Tsuboya Yachimun-dori is a street that is within walking distance from Kokusai-dori. Filled with quaint buildings, it is a place where you will see pottery products that incorporate a strong, Okinawan vibe. This street is lined with about 45 workshops, stores and other establishments that will give you a glimpse into the history and tradition of pottery in the region. So, make sure to take a leisurely stroll through Tsuboya Yachimun-dori.
*The image is for representative purposes only.
Enjoy Tropical Sweets While Shopping!
Okinawa is known for its fresh tropical fruits! So, if you get tired from walking, rejuvenate your body by eating fresh fruits! Kokusai-dori is home to numerous stores where you can enjoy ice cream and gelato that are made using Okinawan fruits, such as the famous BLUE SEAL. Go for that break in between shopping outings and savor some sweets that you can only find in Okinawa.
Did a spot pique your interest? If you are going to Okinawa, you should check out Kokusai-dori and its surrounding areas! You are bound to encounter wonderful items and delicious food.
*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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