Okinawa: Kokusai Dori, Medina for shopping and food lovers in Naha
The street stretches for almost 2 miles having all that you need! If you are a shopaholic or a real epicurean or you are looking for a place to buy souvenirs and save them for you and your loved ones, Kokusai Dori, also known as the Miracle Mile, the best place to visit in the whole Okinawa prefecture. Let's explore this beautiful place!
Japan, also called the land of the rising sun, has always been incredibly fascinating to me. The culture seemed so different from my culture, but at the same time, it's actually very similar. Hence, visiting Japan was always a bright redpoint on my bucket list. My hotel (Mercure Hotel) luckily was very close to the train station. I will list my hotel information down below. Around 3 pm in Naha, Capital city of Okinawa, as I was idly gazing at the passing monorail from my window, it hit me: "I absolutely cannot waste even a single moment while I'm here. I can rest and relax when I'm dead. I don't know when I will get a chance to revisit this incredible place!" That was the beginning of my exhilarating and fast-paced experience of Okinawa. Mercure Hotel is 4-star hotel having all the amenities and located at a very good location near to the Family Mart and train station.
Money Spent: 7,377/- Japanese Yen (approx.) per night including breakfast.
“You don't know how much days left in your life. So try to make most out of it ”
After a quick and refreshing bath, I spritzed some perfume, locked my room, and made my way to the train station. I was particularly excited about traveling in the monorail. However, that wasn't the surprising part of the train journey. Upon entering Tsubogawa Station, I was stunned to see how impeccably clean and well maintained the station was. I bought a ticket for the Miebashi Station. Even though the train was crowded, it was comfortable.
Money Spent: 230/- Japanese Yen
After getting off, I made my way out of the station to the street, which is approximately 900 meters away from the station. I was starving, so I decided to first satiate my hunger. At Jango Jango restaurant, I opted for Tacos filled with veggies with NO MEAT. Oh, I forgot to mention this: I'm on a vegetarian diet at that time, No I did not turn non-vegetarian on my trip, no I didn't die of hunger in Japan. Even though the Japanese palate mainly includes non-vegetarian food in their palette, they still have many eatables that a vegetarian person can enjoy! However, it is crucial to keep in mind that the Japanese palate consists of many side dishes that can be non-vegetarian. So, it's always better to ask about the ingredients in your food. I realized this because I got a side of Fish soup with my all-vegetarian lunch. The restaurant was small, but they served all the local Okinawan dishes. The interior was bright and very pretty, They had wooden tables for sitting and most importantly, the food was absolutely delicious. Money Spent: 500/- Japanese Yen
Kokusai Dori is filled with various eye-catching shops, and it seems like they sell absolutely everything in this world! There are shops that sell touristy souvenirs, there are all sorts of Japanese brands there, and then, there are shops that sell unique Japanese products. In the tourist spirit, I bought a T-Shirt from a small shop called Island Brothers. The street provides a wide range of cuisines when it comes to food: Japanese, American, Mexican, Seafood, Chinese, and many more. I suggest a small village near Kokusai Dori: Yatai-Mura having many shops for food. Money Spent: 800/- Japanese Yen (approx.) on T shirt
This is an excellent place for wine enthusiasts to explore, however, if you're feeling adventurous, Japan's Habushu is the drink for you. Habu snake is stewed in awamori, which provides its distinct taste. Since I was pretty full from my lunch at the Jango Jango restaurant, I decided to indulge in something sweet. Okinawa is famous for its ice cream brand Blue Seal. They have a great variety to choose from. However, the flavor that caught my eye was Okinawan salt cookies. Salt in ice cream: That's right! The taste can only be described by one word: heavenly. The novelty of the ice cream flavor can blow anyone's mind, but the overall amalgamation of sweet and salty perhaps makes a great analogy to the Japanese cuisine. In my opinion, this ice cream is one of the greatest highlights of my trip! Next, I made my way to purchase the infamous Shisa of Okinawa. It is a traditional Ryukyuan artifact built like a lion of Chinese design. Okinawa is famous for its pottery and showpieces. Shisa always come in pairs: a male with an open mouth and a female with a closed mouth. They are considered as guardians of the house and are placed on both sides of the entrance of a home and believed to keep evil at bay.
Money Spent: 330/- Japanese yen (approx.) for a single scoop of ice cream and 550/- Japanese yen (approx.) for shisa
Apart from unique shops and eateries, the street of Kokusai Dori also offers a wide variety of entertainment and miscellaneous activities. The street is filled with talented musicians, dancers, and other artists showcasing their talents. The street is alive with people having fun and engaging in activities they love! The air was electric with excitement! A small street Heiwa-Dori, which is the inner parts of Kokusai Dori offers arcades, shops for gaming, and other souvenirs. One can never run out of things to explore here.
Later that night, my fellow traveler and I went for dinner at a restaurant in Naha. I forgot the name of the restaurant. He had Sushi, a famous Japanese dish. Unfortunately, as I already mentioned, I was on a vegetarian diet on this trip, I was not able to experience it. But it doesn't mean that I can't visually appreciate the art of food.
In my opinion, to experience Kokusai Dori on its best. The best time would be to visit sometime between 5 pm and 11 pm. The streets are bustling with people and are alive with excitement. It's an excellent time to experience the nightlife as well. However, there isn't much to the nightlife of Okinawa as most businesses, clubs, and restaurants close up by 10 pm. Kokusai Dori is a place you must visit if you are in Naha, Okinawa. Reaching the street is pretty easy if one opts for public transport like buses or trains as they are cheap and comfortable. One can take cabs as well. However, they are comparatively expensive. Let me know your favorite parts of this journey, or if you've had some experiences of your own, share them in the comments section down below. Many more exciting and exciting adventures are coming soon. To stay updated, subscribe to the newsletter. Bai Bai!
Reviewed by Stuti Saran