Shima ninjin 島人参 or 島にんじん are Okinawa island carrots.

Nakagusuku village, where I live, is known in Okinawa for its carrots. The village mascot, Gosamaru (named for the Ryukuan lord of Nakagusuku region), wields a fan (うちわ, uchiwa) in one hand and a carrot in the other. He adorns the side of buses, banners, and important landmarks. He also shows up to events and matsuri, even to anti-drunk-driving rallies (held at the empty lot by the town sign across from our house).

Tsuken-jima, a.k.a. Carrot Island, is located off the coast (you can see this island from the second story of my house). Tsuken-jima is also known for carrots (obviously). Technically, this island is considered a part of Nakagusuku town area, although it can only be accessed by ferry.

Most of the carrots grown here are orange, but some varieties come in yellow or purple. I think they are pretty tasty, and I really advocate supporting local farms and businesses. It always tastes fresher closer to the source.


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