I will admit it– though I am a student, I still like to occasionally get my nails and hair done, get a massage, etc. While many places here in Okinawa cater to Americans, many of them can be overpriced, or on occasion, have poor service (not to name names… Cocoks). So I try to go outside this comfort zone a bit, and instead explore the more local places. Honestly, even though my language skills are not that great, so far I have not been to a place that wasn’t willing to work with me, and the service has always been excellent.
The easiest method I have found is by using a website, Hot Pepper Beauty. I can search by area and type of services, as well as look at photo galleries, read reviews, and book appointments, all online. For me this is a game changer– rarely (in Okinawa) do beauty places do walk-ins, which for me, personally, is… difficult. I am not really much of one to plan and call on the phone, etc, so being able to check out available places online and then use an online booking system is, well, magical (okay I exaggerate a tiny bit, but really it is quite nice). As a bonus, many places have online coupons, and you can earn points good for any type of service at any location. It is really very convenient and easy to use. Sure, I get spam mail in Japanese about specials and coupons (probably I could turn this off or just use a better mail filter, but whatever).
Not all salons use Hot Pepper Beauty, but many of the big ones do and some of the smaller ones as well, giving a wide range in choices. For me, I love being able to use this online service for my beauty appointment needs, so I would highly recommend trying it out if you are in Okinawa. Some of the small salons don’t use Hot Pepper Beauty, but instead I can schedule appointments using the LINE messaging app.
I have had great experiences with salons through this website, including (but not limited to): Bianca (eyelash extensions), Total Beauty Stella (nails), Lux Riche (nails), Anan Aveda (hair), Para gel (nails), Tingara (massage and bedrock stone bath), Love Nail (nails), Pedi Lounge (nails), Taffy (nails)… just to name a few.