Omiyage お土産 are souvenirs. I posted about omiyage in general, but what should you bring back from Okinawa or send to friends back home? These are some of the things I have sent to friends or taken with me to give to the host when we stay at an AirBnB. Here are a few of the top omiyage that are distinctly Okinawan… (don’t get me wrong, the weird KitKat flavors are interesting, but not really unique to Okinawa).
chinsukou ちんすこう: small cookies/biscuits, made mostly of lard, flour, and sugar. Not recommended for vegetarians or Muslims, since it is usually pork lard. You can find various flavors such as brown sugar, salt, milk, sweet potato, and even sakuna.
Okinawa brown sugar 黒糖 (pronounced kokutou): cubes/chunks of brown sugar are sold in bags (and sometimes as candies). Also many other omiyage items will be flavored with Okinawa brown sugar.
shikuwasa (fruit, juice, etc) シークワーサー or シークヮーサー: small limey citrus fruit. You can buy the juice concentrate, or snacks/candies made using the flavor.
beniimo tarts 紅いもタルト: these are super popular omiyage. It is a small tart with the Okinawan purple sweet potato flavor. They are very pretty. They even make some for dogs now!
Okinawa soba 沖縄そば: packages of Okinawa soba.
awamori 泡盛: the local liquor. You can buy small or regular size bottles.
spam スパム: while not especially Okinawa exclusive, it is extremely popular here in Okinawa, and not many people on the mainland of Japan eat this. There are many types (similar to Hawaii, really), and some may be exclusive to Okinawa.
Shisa シーサー: these come in pairs, and are replicated like the larger ones you see all over Okinawa on buildings, houses, etc. These range in very cheap, to very expensive. You can buy them about anywhere, but for nicer ones check out the pottery districts in Tsuboya or Nanjo.
bingata 紅型: beautiful Ryukyuan technique for dying fabric. You can buy all sorts of items made from this fabric: coin pouches, purses, scarves, shirts, kimono, hair-ties, or even framed pieces of the fabric.
Ryukyu lacquerware: Ryukyu lacquerware has a unique style compared to other Asian countries.
ujizome うーじ染め: a technique for weaving and dyeing fabric using sugarcane leaves (uji うーじ in Okinawa language, 染め zome is dying). Items are a beautiful green color.
umeshi うめーし: Okinawan chopsticks (hashi 箸). They may look plain at first, but have an interesting history.
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