Okinawa: Zamami & Naha
EXPLORING OKINAWA'S Zamami and Aka Islands, then FINISHING UP IN Naha.
[ 2011 ]
Okinawa is that kind of Japan but kind of not place, due to historical reasons. We started off by taking a boat from Naha to Zamami island, an island just west of the main city, then taking a stroll around.
Zamami Island is small and very walkable, with little beach coves every so often. The main town is condensed, so getting across it takes only several minutes on foot. It has a very small community vibe, one where everyone knows everyone. People are extremely laid back and casual.
We went in late April/early May, and the water was quite cold. The beaches are swimmable, but due to the temperature, not the most comfortable. The water is clear, and in some places there is an abundance of fish, but there are sea snakes that hide in the coral so beware of them.
Here are a few food spots on Zamami that I'd recommend:
This fried fish, Gurukun karaage, doesn't have much meat but is quite tasty. Keep in mind though that this restaurant doesn't have rice, though.
La Toquee's rafute, Okinawa's well known way of cooking pork, is a must. It's tender and juicy, and a treat to eat.
Marumiya is a good place on the island for dinner. Soki soba, Okinawa's version of ramen, is fat noodles and a nice piece of pork in a light broth. If you've had Hawaii saimin, the flavor is very similar.
Naha is a lot bigger as it is the central city in Okinawa. The vibe is very different as well, it's culturally quite diverse and feels somewhat like a mix of Japanese, American and Chinese cultures. There are a lot of businesses geared to internationals, a big reason is due to the big American military presence there.
The nearby Churaumi Aquarium is one of the major attractions as it's one of the most well known aquariums in Japan. It will take a big chunk out of your day as it's big and not central, but it houses a wide range of animals, even whale sharks.
Foods aren't any different from what we had on Zamami, but we did get our fill of seafood at Makishi Food Market.
Makishi Fish Market
Lined with vendors with fresh fish, they'll prepare sashimi for you right there. You can grab a table upstairs and they'll come up and deliver your order to you.