Summer in Okinawa can get pretty hot and humid. What better way to refresh than with sudachi udon? Citrusy, salty, and cold.
Sans Souci in Kitanakagusuku is a Ryukyu x Kyoto style cafe. It is no secret… everybody knows about this place! This cafe is listed in all the cafe books and travel guides for a good reason… the food is delicious! There is udon, both hot and cold, as well as a few other dishes, cafe drinks, and several Japanese style sweets options.
During summer time only they also serve sudachi udon, which is exactly what I needed today. The lunch set comes with a drinn, too.
For dessert I of course had the matcha mini parfait. It was so good… tons of matcha flavor layers.
The price is a bit high, 1550円 total, but definitely worth it for the high quality food at this trendy cafe.
Again, my coffee and cute cafe addiction cannot be curbed. This charming cafe is located in Urasoe, and there are some parking spaces in front of the shop.
I went here after seeing some pictures on social media– and wow, this was indeed a good place to try out. Inside is bright and cheerful with a sort of middle-east inspired vibe, and the decor beautiful. Outside there is a hammock and some additional seating. The owner is a friendly world traveller as well. Also there is free wifi (yay!) so you can stick around and do work for awhile.
The menu had a few things on it; I went with the cheese sandwich set (soup, salad, and drink) and a cafe latte. Everything was delicious and fairly reasonable price. Definitely a fantastic stop for lunch or an afternoon coffee/snack! I brought my laptop and got some work done in this relaxing environment while enjoying my lunch coffee.
喫茶店 kissaten: traditional Japanese tearoom/coffeeshop serving drinks, sweets and light meals; often they have a nostalgic vibe as most of the shops look as if they’re stuck in time.
I have a thing for the retro kissaten. Something about them just feels peaceful once you step through the front door. Sure, there are tons of trendy, cute, modern, hipster cafes with high-end coffees and stylish desserts sprouting up everywhere but for the quintessential Japanese coffee shop experience an old-style kissaten is where it is at.
Today took me to CoffeeShop Laramie コーヒーシャープララミー. There is no parking at the shop, so you need to go to the paid parking lots (there is one around the corner for 100y/30 min). This place is only open Fridays and Saturdays, from 1-5pm.
As I walked up, the outside says “Coffee & Pancakes” plainly on the outside. A step through the door, and you are in a difference time and place. There are 2 working jukeboxes, some table seating, and counter seating. A quick warning, the seating is a little low to the ground; if I had brought my husband (194 cm) he would have had a hard time fitting. The menu is pretty simple, pancakes, desserts, and drinks. I think they may occasionally have some light meal on the menu but there was not today.
I ordered the pancake and coffee set for 850yen, with the Laramie blend coffee (might as well try out the house coffee). While I was waiting for my food, an older gent came in got a coffee, played some songs on the jukebox, and read the newspaper. It added to the retro atmosphere. There are vaguely some “Hawaiian”-themed items up, which made me chuckle a bit and the shop is entirely wood-paneled.
I noticed when I went to pay that even the cash register is retro! I admit, I thought that was a nice touch. Anyway, the shop staff was kind, the food and coffee was really good, plus an awesome retro atmosphere. If you are looking for a retro kissaten in Okinawa, I would definitely recommend trying out this little place in Naha.
Recently, a new Japanese sweets shop has opened up in Kishaba (Kitanakagusuku, central) called Yoyo an factory. As like others, it is located in the back of a small neighborhood with narrow roads. There are hardly any signs outside the house marking it, but you will see some plain white-ish shop flags in front of the door. There is space for probably about 5-6 cars to park.
Walk up the concrete stairs and step inside the old converted US military house. Inside, it is very organic and simple feeling, but very beautiful in its simplicity. There are some old wooden Japanese candy molds on display, with various shapes and designs.
You can get dorayaki and daifuku (160 yen each) to go, or you can eat-in with a drink. Your choice of drinks are coffee, ice tea, and matcha (500yen). I ordered a matcha with 1 dorayaki and 1 daifuku, with tax the total was nearly 900yen. An average price for these types of things, though maybe a little bit high. Everything was really good though. I think this was a really nice space to take a tea break, and the location is very good. If you live in Okinawa and want to try some Japanese style confections, this is a lovely place to do so.
Yes… ANOTHER coffee find from the magazine (Coffee & Donuts in Okinawa City, More Coffee in Okinawa). Cafe Mondoor is located in Itoman, in the southern area of Okinawa. It was not the easiest to find, located off some back street. And parking is not obvious… I parked in a location with a sign (in Japanese) that said for people visiting the surrounding neighborhood establishments, so don’t panic when you get here, there is parking next to the alleyway that leads to the cafe. Maybe when they finish the construction in the area, it will be a little less of an adventure to find.
Cafe Mondoor is located on the second floor; inside is a little trendy, but in a good way, with lots of wood accenting. The atmosphere was pretty relaxing and comfortable. I ordered the Einspanner coffee (Viennese Coffee which is espresso and whipped cream) and tiramisu, both were really good. This was yet another excellent find– I have certainly gotten my 500yen worth out the magazine. I can recommend this lovely stop if you happen to find yourself visiting the Itoman fishing port area.
The other day I came across an amazing find: a quiet coffeeshop nestled into a small neighborhood of Okinawa city. Down a side road, and then into an unpaved sort of parking area it stood before me.
It’s name is “Genten.” From the outside, you may think it almost looks only like someone’s house (well perhaps it was at some point). There was another customer just leaving as I entered; I was greeted with a delightful atmosphere reminiscent of another era.
Recently, I have been “cafe hopping” カフェ巡り, and have seen so many super-hip, trendy, vintage-inspired, retro-modern coffeeshops, but those were all very modern and very hipster… places to see and be seen. This was different. I had the impression of a late Meiji-era kissaten (喫茶店, coffeeshop). And while it had a charming retro feel, it was clean and bright. I was seated, and he asked “iced or hot?” This is it for the menu, guys so simple! So I said “iced” and the gentleman started preparing his special roast (from beans he roasts himself)… some minutes later out came coffee and a slice of homemade cake.
Simple, yet delicious. And so relaxing. For only 500yen.
I think even if you don’t speak Japanese, the communication here is simple. It is a nice place to relax, chat, have some coffee, and perhaps forget the modern world.
I am amazed this type of place can stay open, so hidden away. Then again, if customers and tourists were constantly streaming in and crowding the tables, it might lose its charm. I highly recommend this stop in Okinawa. It may just spirit you away.
A frequent pastime (hobby) here in Okinawa seems to be “cafe hopping.” Perhaps because there are so many small, and large chain, cafes dotted around everywhere from the hills to the beaches to the city blocks. Each of them have their own theme or things that make them a little different or special, and many people enjoy going around and discovering what that is.
I have written many posts on different cafes I have come across (search the keywords or check out Okinawa Restaurants, Cafes, & Stores). I haven’t made a post about every cafe I have ever been, nor have I posted them on Instagram, because there are far too many! I try to keep it down to the smaller ones, or the lesser known ones to foreigners. Some are very trendy, and others are a bit quieter. I find the best ones have almost no real menu, just the specials of the day. And, although I feel like I shouldn’t need to say this, always take yen (not US dollars or credit card), since most simply are not set-up for electronic transactions.
If you visit Okinawa, be sure to look for some of these hidden gems all over the island. While the ones in places like American Village, Senaga-jima, Kokusai-dori, and other major tourist hotspots are easy to find, there are many more “off the beaten path” that may surprise you.
Cokofu is located in the eclectic Minatogawa Stateside Town in Urasoe. The name stands for: Coconut × Kokuto 黒糖 (brown sugar) × Fu 麩 (wheat gluten).
It is a mix of Okinawan style and some Kyoto style… it is interesting!
The best part? Vegan-friendly! I ate delicious soy milk and Okinawa brown sugar ice cream, drizzled with brown sugar syrup and sweet crispy fu on the side. I also had the fizzy kumquat juice drink (so really more like a soda than a juice). All the sweets and cafe drinks are made with soy milk, no regular milk is even available. There are several types of teas, coffee, and natural juice drinks to choose from. The menu is in Japanese and English, with pictures, so it should be easy to order.
Everything looked so good, and I actually wanted to try some of the Kyoto-style sweets, but it was warm out, I had already ate lunch (and was kinda full), so I opted with something a little smaller. Overall– AMAZING! I will definitely be back here to try everything else.
**There are some parking spots (maybe 2-3) for the store so you do not have to pay for parking!
Time to share a small gem located in Ginowan. It is on top of a hill up a narrow road off of Pipeline-dori, actually situated in a peaceful neighborhood near a lot of Americans… but somehow this place remains untouched.
There are other hammock cafes in Okinawa that you hear about all the time. But this one is really nice and quiet. It has a beautiful view overlooking Ginowan, plenty of parking, sweet and friendly owners, and the lunch plate is mostly (if not all) vegetarian and vegan. How has this place stayed so hidden?
For 1200yen you get a plate of the day, drink (hot/ice coffee or herbal tea), and dessert. It was all really good. Admittedly service was a bit slow/haphazard, but hey, we are on island time. This is a great place to relax with a slow, healthy, and delicious lunch! There were many colorful hammocks to relax in. It was perfect for a beautiful day. Keep in mind if you go, the menu listing was all Japanese and I had the impression only Japanese was spoken since no one attempted to speak English with me (all our conversation was in Japanese). That being said.. there is no menu to really choose from, just the plate of the day is offered, so why not go for it (oh and remember to remove your shoes at the door)!
I finally stopped for lunch at a cafe I have passed dozens of times, but never really noticed before. The building is aging a bit, and the sign was never very obvious; I vaguely knew there was something there, but never really sure if it was open or not.
The name in English is “The 3 Little Pigs,” like the fairytale. Inside was a little eclectic, with some piggy decor and other random things, but quaint and clean. There are 9 parking spaces outside the cafe, too, so plenty of parking available unlike some other places. After I arrived, several tables starting filling up fast. I was a little surprised, but apparently many local people know about this place!
Anyway, the menu is in Japanese and the staff probably only spoke Japanese, though there was a mix of kana and kanji on the menu, you can probably stumble through with minimal knowledge of Japanese. I ordered the cheese and egg sandwich (which also came with a mini yogurt)), as well as the cake/drink set. You can choose from 5 different cakes and between coffee, tea, or soft drinks. I chose the coffee cheesecake and hot blend coffee.
Service was fairly quick, and the food was really good! Plus it was a good price: 600yen for the sandwich set, and 750yen for the cake/drink set (the drink included 1 free refill). I was impressed overall. This is definitely a nice stop for a decent lunch in Ginowan.
Oh, and the bread made in shop is gluten-free! I don’t know that most menu items were actually gluten-free, but they sold small loaves of their bread at the counter~~ Also the main dishes use genmai 玄米 (brown rice) instead of white rice to be a little healthier!
Today I needed a little cheering up, so I decided to check out a place offering sunshine– Sunny Side Cakes, located in the northern part of Ginowan.
Just some quick info: here are a few parking spaces by the shop building, so no need to park on the street. There is an eat-in area of the shop as well, and they offer some drinks and dessert sets, or you can do take-out. They also do custom cakes.
Anyway, I entered the bright and cheery shop. Some info was English but most of the labels were in Japanese, so of course I was asked if I understood. Well, yes, of course, but it may be nice to know for those of you uncomfortable with reading/speaking Japanese that someone who speaks English is available.
There were a fair number of choices, but I had already decided that the shop’s “cookie sandwich” was a must. There were quite a few flavors, but I predictable ended up with “Cafe Nuts” which was a coffee and nuts flavor… delicious!! I also went ahead and got what was labeled as a “German Cake” of some sort (I forget the name now); it tasted similar to a non-chocolate German chocolate cake. Anyhow, I liked both confections quite a bit, and they were reasonably priced. I would definitely recommend checking out the cute shop if you find yourself in the northern part of Ginowan near Rt 330 (not far from the Ginowan town office).
I am still continuing through my Okinawa Porte magazine, so here are some more of the shops I have visited.
Kramp Coffee (Awase): Parking is down the street, 2 spaces in a lot marked for Kramp Coffee. Otherwise.. well, there is a MaxValue shopping strip across the street with tons of parking; so you should probably not abuse their parking lot, but I doubt they notice. Anyway, I ordered the “melted latte” and lemon cream crumble, both of which were delicious. It was kinda expensive though (1100yen total). You can order in or takeout.
Tamagusuku Coffee Roasters (Naha): This is in Naha, so you need to use a pay parking lot. The coffee is very good, the owner has several beans you can check out before ordering. I ordered a coffee and waffle, the price was decent and it tasted really good. The atmosphere was very chill.
Mahou Coffee (Naha): not in the book, but I stopped by anyway. The atmosphere here was unique, though kinda strange. Very vintage hipster, but very quiet (house rules: no picture-taking, loud chatter, etc). A good place if you want silence and no conversation or music, otherwise you will want to do takeout or go elsewhere. I got the No.10 Cappuccino; it was a house recommendation with 3 shots of espresso. It was indeed a very nice cup of coffee.
Previous coffee posts, some are from the magazine and some are others I have visited:
LaLa Zorba is another vegan restaurant in Naha, not too far off from Kokusai-dori. It recently started opening for lunch! It is billed as “ethnic vegan” food.
Since it is in the downtown Naha area, parking is pay parking lots. The restaurant is located on the second floor of a small building.. look for the Tibetan prayer flags at the stairway. The restaurant decor is definitely hippie-ethnic style.
I entered about noon on a Sunday, and it was pretty quiet. I chose the “plate of the day” with Indo-style curry. I also could not help but add on a side order of momo (dumplings). The service was actually pretty quick and it didn’t take too long until my food arrived. The plate was beautiful, and tempted you to eat it; very tasty. But the momo dumplings… SO delicious. If you come here, the dumplings are a must. They also had gyoza but I did not try these (yet… I will definitely be returning to try more food from this place). Overall, it was a bit spendy (plate was 1300yen, dumplings 300yen) but I think it was worth the cost, especially those dumplings.
Again, another vegan place in Okinawa that proves you don’t need to be vegan to appreciate vegan food!
Yes, another coffee post (read the previous post). But I cannot help but hit all the spots in the Porte magazine.
Today’s stop was Yamada Coffee in Ginowan, not far from the intersection of Rt 32 and Rt 330. I have actually passed this coffee roaster dozens of times, always meaning to check it out but just never getting to it. So I pulled up, but there are only 3 parking spots, so luckily there was just 1 left. The outside is a little plain, and the inside is sort of that industrial-hipster kind of vibe.
I sat down at one of the counter spots and checked the menu– fairly simple, all drip coffee was 500yen per cup (and you could get a refill for 150yen!). The main choices were by taste/roast: Winey, Velvety, Mellow, Bitter, and some other choices of the day that change. There are also some milk coffee drinks, parfaits, and cheesecake.
I ordered the Mellow, and of course, a piece of cheesecake. So I watch the artist making their creations, and after some time I am served. So good! The coffee was definitely a superior quality bean and a professional roast. And the cheesecake was delicious, more of an American style than the Japanese “rare” or baked cheesecakes you usually find. Overall I was very impressed. It may not be an everyday kind of place, but worth the occasional indulgence for sure.
They also do carryout, as well as sell their roasted beans~ definitely stop by here for an amazing cup of coffee. Next time I want to try one of their parfaits… they also looked amazing.
Mofgmona is a a really quaint cafe located in Ginowan that serves both lunch and dinner, as well as having various pottery and handcrafts for sale. There is a parking lot with marked spaces for the cafe just past it.
From the outside, you cannot help but want to enter. Inside is so cozy, but plenty of space several customers. The menu is fairly simple (Japanese only), with only a few choices. Upon request, a vegetarian plate-of-the-day can be made; lots of local vegetables are used in every dish. You also can choose between turmeric rice and brown rice. Sometimes the service is a little slow, but it is because they make everything there; one time service was incredibly slow, but the waitress brought me out a free dessert, so really it was a win for me. The price is reasonable enough as well. I can’t help but recommend taking a slow and relaxing lunch at this lovely cafe!
Recently I decided to investigate some places listed in an Okinawa monthly magazine (Porte, sold at bookstores and convenience stores for 500yen). This month’s theme was coffee… and I love coffee.
BB Coffee (Awase): Very hip space, both indoor and outdoor (as well as plenty of free parking). Stanford-chan is the resident doggy, very adorable. I got a cafe latte and caramel donut; both were outstanding but pricey. In the morning from 7am until 11am you can actually get a free breakfast set (toast and salad) with ANY drink purchase… good deal. Since I was there for a donut, I actually skipped this offer which I am sure was strange to them. The outdoor space is dog-friendly. As an update, we returned and brought the dog along for breakfast, it was quite nice. My husband got one of the sandwiches and enjoyed it immensely.
Theater Donuts シアタードーナツ (Koza): This is actually a movie theater and donut shack all in one! There is a separate theater space (ticket required, it seems they mainly show documentary type films), as well as a regular eat-in space overlooking Koza. I got the sunny lemon donut and cafe au lait. The coffee was nothing special, but the donut was really good. I love the decor here, it is very cool. Parking unfortunately are pay-to-park lots in Koza, otherwise the price was pretty reasonable.
Miyazato Tofu Donut Shop 宮里豆腐ドーナツ店 (Takahara): This shop also sells tofu… I guess they got the idea to sell soy based donuts as well. There is no eat-in area here, and parking seems to be the side of the street. Anyway, there are a few different options to choose from; I chose the walnut brown sugar (くるみ黒糖) which while tasty was wayyyyy too sweet for me. You can also order fresh soy milk to accompany it (yum, definitely recommend this!).
Outside of Okinawa city area
Matayoshi Coffee farm 又吉: Actually this is located in Higashi, but was featured in the magazine. My husband and I drove up on a nice weekend to explore. The coffee is grown in Okinawa, and they sell Okinawa coffee as well as blends. It is pricey… the taste is fine, it isn’t like Kona coffee delicious. Anyway, they also sell baked goods from Bakery and Cafe Coo (located in Nakijin) which are really tasty. You can also walk around the farm area, and there are cabins/camping spaces for rent. Overall, it is a cute little day trip.
Cafe Station is located in Urasoe, fairly convenient from Rt.38. It shares a building with HottoMotto (fast food chain bento store), and there is plenty of parking.
When you enter, you order and pay on the first floor, then go to the second floor where the eating area is. Pick a nice comfy chair and relax; they will bring your order up to you when it is ready. There are about 6-7 lunch set choices… I usually choose a pasta. The menu is all in Japanese, no English, but they have pictures and it is mostly katakana since it is more “western-style.”
In addition to lunch sets, you can get dessert sets. The desserts come from a really fancy bakery, Piednue (which has a store front elsewhere if you want to try just it). The baked cheesecake and the chiffon cakes are divine. Overall, it is a really nice cafe to check out while in Okinawa.
In Naha there is a very cute crepe shop called sweets cafe O’CREPE; I think the word “quaint” comes to mind. Actually, it is sort of Martha Stewart-countryside kind of adorable and quaint.
Anyway, it is off a quiet street, located on the second floor… you may even miss it if you aren’t looking for it. Despite the rather drab outside, once you step inside, it is just so cute.
The menu consists of both sweet and savory crepes, as well as cafe drinks. Overall, it is a bit pricey to be honest, but the setting and atmosphere more than made up for it. Anyway, I ordered a sweet crepe and a hot tea, the total was around 1100yen. There was some English on the menu, so ordering shouldn’t be difficult if you don’t speak Japanese.
Minatogawa 港川 is located in Urasoe 浦添市; in this neighborhood is an area called “Stateside Town.” It is old military housing which has been converted into trendy small cafes and shops.
First thing I must mention: parking can be AWFUL. There is only one pay parking lot, and while some of the shops have their own parking spaces, it is pretty limited. If you decide to visit, try to go during non-peak hours and days. Not only is the parking terrible, but the roads are very narrow and thus with so many tourist cars, it can get hectic. But all this said, don’t let this deter you from visiting this cute neighborhood!
Within this area are many tasty things to try. I won’t list all of them but I will give you an idea…
Recently I tried Secondo Casa (it used to be the location of Pizzeria Onda, now relocated to Naha). I went for lunch and ordered the mushroom cream pasta which comes with salad, bread, and drink. Honestly at 1400yen it was a bit expensive, but still very tasty. But everything in this neighborhood is a little on the expensive side, so it is not out of place.
La Vita is a French/Italian type of place; when I went for lunch a few years ago it was so-so. Not particularly amazing, but decent.
The other day I tried out yet another cute cafe in Okinawa, this one located in Tomigusuku (south part of the island). It is called Maitoparta, and specializes in waffles, as well as having some gourmet coffees.
Technically, this is a “dessert cafe” not a breakfast cafe. Well, whatever, I ate brunch here anyway. You can get a savory waffle set, but I wanted one of the sweet ones. I went with a honey/nuts/vanilla ice cream waffle and a soy latte. You can also choose between 2 types of waffles, or get a “mix.” There are also a bunch of different flavored waffles to choose from, toppings, etc. It was actually pretty affordable compared to other pancake and waffle type places I have been– 830yen for the waffle and drink set I ordered.
There are a decent number of parking spaces outside, but it filled up fast. The cafe was very clean and cutely decorated inside… it was full of young to middled aged ladies. The wait for my food was fairly quick, too… overall it was a very nice experience, and I can see why it has gained popularity. Of course, this is calorie rich, so only a special occasion treat.
Slowlife Cafe is a beach-themed cafe located in Ginowan. I pulled up, and parking seemed a bit… well, anyway I pulled up the curb where some other cars were parked, so I think it was okay. The cafe is on the 2nd floor, so it has a pretty nice view if you go out to the terrace.
Anyway, the interior was very nicely decorated and comfortable, sort of “beach chic” with natural wood and ocean colors. The menu was only in Japanese, but not too complicated as there are only 4 items on the menu for lunch: plate of the day, pasta of the day, don (rice bowl) of the day, and sandwich of the day. Each come with soup, salad, and drink, all for 1000yen; if you add the cake of the day, it is an additional 150yen.
They didn’t have all of the -of-the-days written out anywhere like most places, instead the server listed them off. Though it seemed he was not confident that I would understand much because I was a foreigner, he said them all fairly quickly and without much details. I didn’t bother to correct him on that or ask more details, as I pretty much knew I would get the pasta anyway and I added on the cake since it was cheesecake. Not that he was rude or anything, quite the opposite, very friendly… just a lot of times as an obvious 外国人 people tend to assume you have zero grasp of the Japanese language. Everything was pretty good; not superb, but for the price I thought it was pretty decent. I enjoyed eating in the relaxed atmosphere. It definitely seemed like a trendy but not expensive place where young 20somethings could eat, drink, and enjoy life slowly not too far from Tropical Beach in Ginowan.
Nikka Pokka is a cafe in Urasoe also known as “Avocado House.” This is because it features many dishes with avocado– yum!
It is kinda of a weird place to be honest. At night, it is actually some sort of club. I don’t really know, but it is really clean and doesn’t have a weird club vibe or anything. It is really set up just like a typical Japanese ladies’ cafe. I use the word “ladies’ cafe” for small, cute, clean places where the majority of the clientele are adult ladies (20’s to 50’s usually).
Anyway, there are a few parking spaces outside so it is not to difficult to get in and out of. The menu is only in Japanese, so come prepared.
The lunch sets come with soup, salad, puchi dessert (small size dessert), and drink bar (which only has tea and coffee, fine for me but other people may find this weird). Many lunch entrees include avocado in some way, but there are some pastas and such without avocado. I usually get what is called the “avocado plate,” which comes with an avocado cream pasta and 2 half sandwiches (one is avocado cream cheese and the other is potato salad). It is pretty good. It may not be super fancy, but it is only 1000yen and fills you up. I always enjoy it here, so if you are living in Okinawa and like avocados, you should really try it out sometime.
Let me start with: this is by no means a fancy, Italian restaurant. It is a reasonably priced sort of fast-food chain restaurant with “Italian” pastas. There are also some fancy little cakes, too, for cafe time. I would not choose here over a real Italian cafe or restaurant, but if you are feeling lazy and want something easy… this works. If you want “real” Italian, check out one of these other places in my previous post.
I go here sometimes since it is decent for a quick lunch. It is consistent, and a decent value. It is easy and does not take too long. The menu usually has some English on it, and there are pictures. You can order a smaller size pasta or a larger size. So if you are looking for something easy to order and “western-ized” in Japan, this is a nice place to try.
Typically I order the smaller pasta with the salad/drink set, coming to 900yen. This is the perfect amount of food for me, but perhaps if you have a bigger appetite you will choose the larger size.
There are a few of these in Okinawa (mostly Naha), usually situated in strip mall type areas where there is plenty of parking. I usually go to the one in BarClay’s Court, Urasoe: https://goo.gl/maps/eiDKWvRS4n22
So I fully realize that crepes are, in fact, originally a French food. However, crepes are wildly popular as a street food in Japan (especially among ladies) and somehow, Japan has adopted them and given them their own style. Japanese crepes are quite different than crepes I have eaten elsewhere so they might surprise you; they use almost no butter (if any) and the fillings are not cooked (just rolled and stuffed in). When it is served, it generally looks like an ice cream cone.
The weather is starting to turn nice recently and work is still quiet since school is not back into full swing yet, so I took the opportunity to sneak out and get an afternoon snack.
I went to a little known place called Cafe Waka-waka located in a back neighborhood of Nishihara town. There are only 2-3 cramped parking spaces, but luckily I was able to park.
On the outside it doesn’t look like much, but when you enter… it is quite a cute and trendy cafe. It was quiet, with only 1 other group of girls eating there. At the counter, I ordered a crepe (it was called mango “cheese”), paid, and waited at one of the tables for a few minutes until it came out. The menu consisted of sweet crepes, savory crepes, and cafe drinks… it is even sort of a little in “English,” though some of it might not make much sense unless you can read the katakana below it, or are a really experienced Engrish-reader.
It was really good, packed full with vanilla ice cream, mango chunks and sauce, sweet cream cheese (but not like the kind you spread on bagels, instead more like rare cheesecake), and cinnamon sprinkled on top. The price was 470yen, which ordinarily is near my limit of how much I like to spend on dessert snacks, but compared to places in the mall which charge over 500yen for crepes, I thought this was a very good deal and I left satisfied. So if you are near Nishihara town and craving a Japanese-style crepe, I recommend checking out this local cafe.
It was pouring down rain, so our original plans of going to one of the parks was undoubtedly cancelled, but we decided to still try the pizza cafe in Nanjo we saw signs for a few weeks ago.
On the main road were some flags that said 「ピザ」(pizza), so we turned off onto a smaller, twisty road and kept following the small wooden signs with the name of the cafe until we finally reached it at the top of the hill. Had it not been down-pouring buckets of rain, the view would have been gorgeous. But Mother Nature was not feeling cooperative. The building of the restaurant was really beautiful wood and interesting features. The 2 shisa outside the stairs made me giggle (sorry no picture, as we were running inside to get out of the rain). At the entrance of the restaurant, you take off your shoes. Inside were a few tables and an outdoor porch (which again, would have been lovely on a nice day).
We settled in, the menu was quite simple; 2 types of pizza, pasta of the day, salad, muffin, and some drinks. My husband and I ordered a “large” mix pizza (I took of the little meats and put them on his side of the pizza) and a salad to split, plus a hot hibiscus tea for me. It was quite delicious, but the total was a bit high (3500yen). My husband and I dubbed it Southern “Pizza in the Sky.” In Nago (up north), there is a pizza cafe just like this one, whose actual name is kajinhou 花人逢 , but most Americans refer to it as Pizza in the Sky.
The owner/workers seemed a little surprised to see us, and I suspect they must not get a lot of foreign clients (they also gave us a free muffin for dessert). They were extremely kind and helpful, and asked where we were from, how long we lived in Okinawa, and how did we find the cafe. Of course, I simply said “we saw the sign and followed it,” which I think must confuse them (or possibly amuse them).
Anyway, I definitely recommend trying this place out if you are in Nanjo and want pizza with a view. No pictures of the view or building this time around due to the heavy rain, but that just means I will need to visit again.
This small coffee cafe is hidden off Rt 34 in Ginowan. It is clean, modern, and relaxing. This was the perfect choice for a rainy day.
There are a ton of coffee options, hot sandwich sets, and a few other miscellaneous. There is also free (and fast!) WiFi. The food coffee are really good and not too expensive, especially compared to some other places here. I had the egg-mayo, although you can choose 2 different types if you wish… but I am boring. It came with kabocha soup andfresh green salad. I also got a cafe latte, and for dessert the Okinawan brown sugar pound cake. The baked good rotate constantly, and everything homemade.
There is also a study room off to the side, available for anyone’s use. The owner speaks some English and the menu is in both Japanese and English.