Coffee Stand Hibari-ya: 珈琲屋台ひばり屋

An oasis in the middle of Naha’s concrete jungle: Hibari-ya coffee stand.

I wandered through the back alley, promising my husband a cup of coffee was waiting for him. Sure enough, we came upon what looked like someone’s backyard garden. We went up to the nice lady owner in the booth and ordered 2 iced cafe au laits; it is a pretty simple menu, no fancy drinks here (which I don’t mind).

We sat in the shade under the awnings, sipping our coffee and enjoying some peace before heading back into the crowded noisy streets around Kokusai-dori. It was the perfect stop while shopping in Naha.


Coffee Specialist Nietzsche: 珈琲専科にーちぇ

珈琲 koohii: coffee

Another day, another coffee. This time I ventured to another retro kissaten (coffeeshop) in Naha, called Nietzsche.

There is free parking in 2 spots: behind the shop (2 spaces), and in the park across the way (16 spaces). It is very cute and inviting on the outside, very spacious inside with 2 floors. Inside is also a treasure trove of retro coffee gadgetry. The atmosphere is really quite amazing. As a word of warning, it is an adult oasis, and young children are not encouraged to enter as a way to keep that peace.

The menu is mostly coffee, and a few dessert options. I got the retro toast set and an ice coffee; it was quite wonderful. If you are looking for an amazing retro kissaten experience in Naha, this is definitely it.


Pork Tamago Onigiri: ポークたまごおにぎり

ポーク po-ku: pork

たまご tamago: egg

おにぎり onigiri: riceball

In this case, “pork” refers to spam. As any good Hawaiian will tell you, spam is most definitely an appropriate filling for musubi/onigiri (riceballs wrapped in nori/seaweed). They are eaten for breakfast, a quick snack, lunch, whenever. Here in Okinawa, people feel the same way. So that’s where this cute little shop called Pork Tamago Onigiri comes in– super fresh onigiri with spam, cooked in front of you.

Now, I don’t eat pork. But my husband does. When he heard about this shop he wanted to try it, so since we were in Naha, off we went towards the Makishi Market area to find it. The shop is located in an alley off the Makishi Market area and not hard to find at all; I remembered passing it a few times before while I was in Naha and wondering why so many people line up for spam onigiri.

It was a Sunday morning, but luckily there were only a few people ahead of him in line. He chose the spicy carrot, egg, and spam onigiri (it is called supaishi ninjin shiri-shiri スパイシー人参しりしり on the menu). I think the menu had English to some degree, and at least pictures, so it is not difficult to order. It took about 15 minutes until his order was ready; they were back there cooking and assembling… everything is made fresh to order! It was actually a pretty huge serving and my husband quite enjoyed it. This is not your typical conbini onigiri that has been sitting on the shelf for a few hours. Needless to say, now I know why it is always so busy at the small shop! They are even opening a branch at the Naha Airport~~ if you are a spam-lover, definitely check out of these shops.


Cat Cafe: 猫カフェ

猫 neko: cat

ニャン nyan: meow

ニャンコ nyanko, or even ニャンちゃん nyan-chan: a somewhat childish or cute way to say cat, like kitty

カフェ kafe: cafe

Have you ever wanted to experience a Japanese cat cafe (neko cafe)?

Today I visited a neko cafe in Naha, not far from Kokusai-dori. The name of the cafe is にゃんそーれ “Nyan-so-re”, a playful version of “menso-re” めんそーれ which is Okinawan for “welcome.” An English cat version would be more sort of like “meow-so-re,” I guess if that makes sense.

Anyway when you enter, like many Japanese establishments, you remove you shoes and put them in the cubby, donning a pair of cute cat-themed slippers. There are also small lockers for your purse (back by the cashier, she will give you a key). The cafe is divided into 2 rooms: the first is the dining area, where you can watch the kitties through the glass while eating. The second is the area where you can play with the kitties.

They have different plans you can choose from, and not to fret… they have English translations, so even if the workers don’t really understand/speak English, you will not be lost here if you do not speak Japanese. The time rates for play-time start from 30 minutes (500 yen). They also have drinks, light meals, and desserts. You may have drinks in the kitty area, but eating is only outside the kitty room. When you are ready and have ordered what you would like, let the staff know when you are ready to play with some cats and they will give you a pass with the time your entered written on it. There will be a connecting area with a sink to wash up before and after playing with the cats.

Inside is the fun part… kitties everywhere! There are handouts with their names and pictures, tons of cat toys, manga and books (some cat-themed), air-conditioning, couches. Some of the cats will sleep and some will be social, and some may even be playful. It was a nice way to spend some time, since my husband is allergic to cats, and the price was pretty reasonable. I payed about 1200yen for my time and drinks/food there (30 minutes play time/iced tea with the kitties, then affogato while I watched and relaxed on the other side for almost another half hour).

They also have many, many cat-themed goods available for purchase. It was hard to resist…

Note: You may take picture of the cats, but no flash.

address for Neko cafe Nyanso-re 猫カフェにゃんそーれ:

**There are 3 FREE parking spaces right next to the cafe!

Sueyoshi Park & Shrine: 末吉公園&宮跡

On a rainy day, I headed out to Sueyoshi shrine located within the Sueyoshi park 末吉公園 in Naha near the Shuri area.

There are a few parking areas; I parked in the larger parking area, off of rt 82 here. There is also another parking lot by the Mori-no-ie MinMin 森の家みんみん community center, but it is also located next to a nice open area where the elder people play bocce ball or gateball so it might be crowded. These parking spots are at the OPPOSITE end of the park from the shrine, so if you only want to visit the shrine, drive to just north of the park, where there is a small area you can park in. However, I decided to enjoy a nice walk through the park today.

Despite the drizzle, it was a nice day to walk around. There are many inner paths weaving through the forested area and crossing the stream. Most of the paths are easy to follow, but some are a bit slippery. There are a few historical markers to check out along the way too, in both Japanese and English. This park is especially known for the fireflies (hotaru 蛍, ホタル) during May-July! Well, right now it is autumn, so obviously, none for me today. There were also plenty of places to have a nice picnic or rest; tables and benches seemed to pop up all over the park. And there were trash bins and toilets convenient in a few areas. I also noticed (despite the rain) a guy and his kid with bug-catching nets, so the wildlife is plentiful considering it is in the city.

At the community center, I picked up a paper map, though it was not terribly useful but combined with my phone GPS I was able to get around okay, just matching the “park sites” to google maps (the walking paths nor park sites are not labelled in google maps). The paper map got sufficiently crumpled by the end of my “hike.”

I made my way to the shrine; warning it was a descent into the park and then a decent slope upwards, some stairs, etc, so it was not exactly a leisurely stroll. It was not terribly strenuous, but I did burn some calories. Up at the shrine, there was an old man manning the booth for omamori and fortunes (and bottled drinks), and another old man sweeping. Then inside the shrine there was another older man assisting with prayer. Honestly, this was much busier than I expected! It was peaceful and quiet though small, and had gorgeous views over Naha (I climbed higher than I realized getting up there). The original shrine was destroyed in WWII during the Battle of Okinawa, and was restored in the 1970s.

Afterwards, I walked around all the small areas for worshipping various local gods, and over to the Ginowan-Udun grave, the Ginowan-Udun mural, and eventually making my way through the wooded paths back to the parking area.

Some tips:
1. Don’t wear slippahs, wear real shoes with good grip. I fell on my okole after slipping on some slimey, mossy rocks.
2. Depending on the season, bring bug spray (maybe in winter you will not need it). It is usually a damp forest, a few mosquitoes are around, though it is not so bad compared to other places.

*A great place to stop afterwards for croissants is nearby! Kouign Croissant Bakery: クロワッサンの屋クイニー

photos on imgur link below (if you go to the site itself you can also see some of my commentary):

Sueyoshi Park & Shrine

address for parking area:

address for Mori-no-ie Minmin community center:

address for Sueyoshi Shrine: