Okinawa Island Guide

Everything on Okinawa Island from A to Z | The charm of kominka – traditional Okinawan houses

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Okinawa Island Guide

The charm of kominka – traditional Okinawan houses

Over the past few years, cafés, restaurants and pensions situated in old-fashioned Okinawan houses with tile roofs have grown considerably in popularity among locals as well as tourists seeking the real Okinawan experience.

There has recently been a revival of interest in old traditions, not only in Okinawa, but also in mainland Japan. In line with this trend, people in Okinawa have started using old houses for various purposes after restoring them when necessary. Traditionally, houses were built without nails, and they had a himpun — a partition wall between the gate and the main building — a well and a barn in the garden. These particular features of houses give you an idea of how Okinawans used to live in the old days. You can enjoy Okinawa soba, aguu pork and many other Okinawan specialties at cafés in traditional Okinawan houses in a relaxing and airy space where time seems to pass you by.

 

Privacy and hospitality in a traditional house

Chanyaa is a traditional Ryukyuan house built more than 50 years ago. This house is nestled in Bise, a unique village in northern Okinawa featuring a path lined with fukugi trees and old houses. Guests can enjoy a healthy Japanese breakfast prepared with fresh ingredients grown by the owner and local farms, and premium beef or pork for dinner. Sanshin and traditional Ryukyuan costumes are available for use free of charge. Chanyaa accommodates only one group per day.

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This house is made up of two sections, the omote-za and the ura-za, and guests can enjoy a quiet country landscape from the veranda of the omote-za. With a Buddhist altar inside the house, Chanyaa offers an experience rather like a home stay, as if you were invited to a private home.

 

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Chanyaa
580 Bise, Motobu Town
090-6862-4712
Daily/Lunch 11:00-15:00 Dinner 17:00-21:00 *Reservations required

 

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Ryukyu cuisine and awamori

Ashibiunaa is a restaurant for Ryukyu cuisine and awamori, housed in a traditional Ryukyuan building which used to be the residence of member of the sanshikan (privileged classes) in the Ryukyu Kingdom. From home cooking dishes like Okinawa soba and champuru to kyutei cuisine and set meals, Ashibiunaa offers a large variety of Okinawan dishes at affordable prices.

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Enjoy the view of the beautifully designed courtyard while relaxing in the veranda seating area.

 

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Ryukyu Sabo Ashibiunaa

2-13 Tonokura, Naha City
098-884-0035
Lunch 11:30-16:00 Dinner 17:30-22:00
Closed Obon holidays (Aug. 26-28, 2015)

 

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Okinawa soba and aguu pork specialty restaurant

Ufuya serves Okinawa soba and aguu pork dishes in a traditional Ryukyuan house built about 100 years ago. You can enjoy Okinawa soba for lunch and various dishes prepared with Okinawa’s supreme pork, aguu, for dinner, including shabu-shabu, pork steak and multi-course meals. Ufuya is located near the Nago Pineapple Park.

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Aguu and Okinawan cuisine Ufuya
90 Nakayama, Nago City
0980-53-0280
Lunch 11:00-17:00 Dinner 18:00-22:00
Open daily

 

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Okinawa soba restaurant in a garden setting in Shuri

Shimujo is an Okinawa soba restaurant operating in a restored traditional Ryukyuan house with hundred-year-old camellias and 150-year-old stone walls in the garden. The restaurant offers the opportunity to ponder the history of the island as you enjoy tasty Okinawa soba.

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The most popular set menu item comes with sanmainiku soba, an assortment of small dishes, jimami tofu and jushi prepared with seasonal ingredients. (¥950)

 

Shimujo

2-124-2 Shuri Sueyoshi-cho, Naha City
098-884-1933
11:00-15:00 *limited servings
Closed Wed

 

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A kominka café in the south

Makabe China is situated in a 110-year-old red tile roof house that has been transformed into a café. The building, which survived the Battle of Okinawa, has been designated a Registered Tangible Cultural Property by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs. Bullet holes are still visible on the wood columns of the house. At the café, Okinawa soba as well as set meals with champuru dishes and desserts are available. The café’s interior is decorated with old pottery and picture collections of previous generations of occupants of the house.

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Makabe China

223 Makabe, Itoman City
098-997-3207
11:00-16:00
Closed Wed

 

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