Naha, Okinawa

Exploring Naha City: Kokusai Street!

Posted In: okinawa
Yesterday we decided to check out a part of the island we haven’t been able to really explore, Naha City, the capital of Okinawa Prefecture. This modern city was once the commercial center of the Ryukyu Kingdom back in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods. Home to the restored and rebuilt Shuri Castle, the formal royal palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Read all about our adventures at: Shuri Castle, here and the Naha Tug-of-War, here.
Kokusai Dori , literally “International Road”, is Naha’s main street and it stretches for roughly two kilometers through downtown Naha. It used to be called “The Miracle Mile” because of it’s rapid recovery after the post-war era. Kokusai Street is full of hotels, restaurants, markets, street vendors, souvenir shops and boutiques. There is a little something for everyone. The best way to see it all is to spend some time on each side of the street.
^^ i couldn’t get over how cute these baby pineapples were ^^
^^ you will find shisa dogs in every shop across Kokusai Street ^^
^^ shamisen made with read snake skin ^^
^^ mangos and pineapples galore ^^
^^ ryukyu glass in hues of blue, handmade in Okinawa ^^
^^ the okinawan purple sweet potato is used to make sweets such as, ice cream, milk shakes, pies, manju and jam^^

^^ yes, that’s a penis shaped cookie … don’t ask ^^
^^ frog purses are apparently all the rage, ew! according to this seller, they are used to attract wealth and abundance^^
^^ enjoying a scoop of my favorite ice cream, Okinawa Salt Cookies! ^^
^^ choosing your own sex is not as cool, haha ^^
^^ tree climbing stuffed dogs, no big deal! ^^
^^ you could smell this place a block away! best part: free samples! ^^
We’ve been wanting to explore Kokusai Street for a while now, after only passing through during the Tug-of-War Festival last year!! It did not disappoint! Before moving here, when i thought of Japan what came to mind were, crowds, busy streets, tons of vendors and goodies all over, like what i had seen in movies that featured Tokyo. But besides Naha City, Okinawa is nothing like this and it was nice to visit a place that sort of embodied this.
Q: Am i the only one that pictures Japan to be like what we see in the movies?

  • Kara

    I got my Shisa Dogs on Kokusai Street. I vowed to have a set different than the horrid ones they sell on base!

  • Thanks 🙂 and OMG i knoow they had them in a couple of shops and i wanted to buy them all!!!! ^-^

  • These photos are so bright and colorful! And those little pineapples are totally cute!!!!

  • Awesome, thanks!!

  • Thank YOU!!!!! ^-^ and you definitely should plan a trip!! there are sooo many things to do here! From touristy things like the city/shrines/castles/aquarium/parks to beautiful turquoise beaches and tons of fun local things to do as well 🙂 And if you do get here in the next two years let me know because i would totally show you guys around! and if you come when i'm not here i can tell you the must places to go !!

  • Laura, I am loving all of your photographs! I've always wanted to visit Okinawa 🙂 Many of G's friends live there so he really wants to plan a trip 🙂 If I ever make it over, I'm most definitely letting you to know to show me around! x

  • I got chased by one of those frogs once and they tried to make me kiss it add to the luck….my childhood is filled with crazy stories like that.

  • Gracias!! 😀 Me pone muy feliz saber que te gusta mi blog!! Aqui tenemos un cuarto extra por si quieres visitar! ^-^

  • Glad to hear i'm not the only one 😀 and yes!!! Seoul is most definitely on my travel wishlist and your pictures have made me want to go even more! 🙂 The ebay seller i linked sells this from the Philippines! It's so weird knowing these things are sold in more than one place, they are so nasty!! lol

  • Teresa Johnson

    Hey laura esto me hace quere darte a ti y a gustavo una visita… Me gusta mucho tu blog

  • You are not alone because anytime I think of Japan, I pull up whatever movies have told me about it. WHICH oddly enough Seoul is EXACTLY like, but I think that comes with the whole living in the capital thing. If you have the chance to come to Seoul you'll love it and won't be disappointed. Great photos and those frog purses…I thought that was a Mexican thing it's so weird how many cultures are closer together than we realize.