I mentioned this izakaya 居酒屋 in a previous post. But Paikaji ぱいかじ is really a great place for eating and drinking, probably one of my favorites. Since it is a local chain, it has a few locations, mostly in Naha area. Luckily there is one not too far from RyuDai. By the way, the name Paikaji means “wind that blows from the south” in the Okinawan language from the Yaeyama islands.
I recommend reservations since they get really busy. Even my husband can call and get reservations, so you don’t need too much Japanese. Though I don’t think anyone has ever spoken English to me at this particular location… perhaps the ones in Naha might since they are closer to the tourist areas.
When you enter, take off your shoes and store them in the shoe lockers. Warning: my husbands enormous shoes don’t really fit too well in these… so it may not close and lock if you have really large feet. Anyway, from here they will show you to your private room; there are different rooms depending on the size of your group. Since it is often just me and the husband, they give us a small room. Luckily, no worry about sitting on tatami, the floors are cut out so you can swing you legs under comfortably (though some of the other rooms might be regular tatami style or even western tables, it depends on the branch you go to!). The rooms are decorated with Ryukyu themes, and some of the host staff wear Ryukyu-style kimono. There is also someone who plays sanshin– s/he will even come around to your room and play just for you! Some locations might do more live shows with music and singing, but I have only been to the branch in Ginowan.
From open until pm, draft beers are only 100yen. So cheap. And they come in nice frosty mugs. They also have daily specials, cocktails, awamori, etc. I always just get beer though.
The food menu is varied– from local dishes to Japanese dishes to “western” food. Not to exaggerate but everything I have ever ordered here has been awesome (and I don’t think that is just the cheap beer talking!). Goya pickles, rakkyou tempura, age-doufu, chanpuru, garlic potato, hirayachi, yakisoba, etc… it has just always been tasty. There are even some “pizzas” on the menu. While most the menu is in Japanese, there are pictures, so I think you shouldn’t be too lost if your Japanese reading skills are not so great.
Ordering is very easy since you have “bing bong” at your table. Just push the button and moments later someone will come by to take your order. They allow smoking in here after a certain time (~8pm and later), but since the rooms are divided I have never been affected by cigarette smoke.
After you are done eating/drinking and pay your bill, just have one of the staff call a DAIKO or taxi service for you. There is a large parking lot here, so you can drive and DAIKO back to your home if you drink.
I should take more pictures of this place, but I am always busy eating and drinking so I often forget…
address, located across from Okinawa International University: https://goo.gl/maps/WENLCncDRJQ2
Here is there website where you can make web reservations a few days in advance, as well as check the menu and other locations! http://paikaji.jp/