Enjoying Delicious Gourmet to Your Heart’s Content at Yataimura on Kokusai Street
Yataimura opened in June 2015, and here you will find 21 establishments of different genres offering Okinawan and Japanese cuisine, as well as Western dishes.
One of the best ways to get the most out of Yataimura is to hop from one establishment to another, choosing whichever shop that strikes your fancy. You can sit at the outside tables to enjoy the openness, raise your glass with your neighbors, or find a seat at the counter and engage in friendly banter with the staff and learn about spots in Okinawa that are off the beaten track. The different atmosphere at each of the establishments is one of the allures to the Yataimura.
The hours of operation are from 12:00 to 24:00 (depending on the Yatai establishments). It’s a great place to swing by at any time of the day, be it for lunch, a snack, dinner, or whenever you like.
Still, many visitors may need some assistance in finding where to go, so we’ll introduce four recommended establishments by genre for you to try. We hope you enjoy our suggestions.
Situated immediately to the right from Nanzan Street. Looking to enjoy the delicious meats of Okinawa? Then Team Yashinoki is the place you want to go. The tantalizing aroma of grilled meat will lure you to grab a table.
The most popular item on their menu is the Agu Hamburg, made with equal parts of Agu pork and beef and served sizzling on a hot plate. You can choose from three types of sauce: the house original, Ponzu, or cheese. You also wouldn’t want to pass up their smoked dishes. When smoked, the extra fat is extracted and the Umami is enhanced in the Kunchama (Okinawan for pork neck) bacon. With an appetizing aroma and a moist texture, it goes so well with a nice cold beer. We also recommend the potato salad, smoked quail eggs or cheese, and the smoked cheese potato salad with Spam.
To enjoy original dishes prepared with Okinawan ingredients, we recommend a visit to Buta-no Toriko. It is located on the right-hand side of the Hokuzan Street entrance and offers seats at the tables and counter with a little more room than the other shops in Yataimura.
The “Shio de Taberu Agu Gyoza (Agu gyoza with salt)” is a very popular choice at Buta-no Toriko, serving over 400 dishes a month. It’s a little different from your typical gyoza which is often eaten with a sauce. At Buta-no Toriko, they serve it with a side of blended salt, containing Kume Island salt, Shima Masu, and others. This gyoza is so tasty that many visitors come by once a day on their two-day trips to Okinawa. The Okinawan Ketchup Yakisoba is another favorite and many people order it together with the Agu Gyoza. This Yakisoba uses Okinawa Soba and is seasoned with ketchup, so it’s a popular choice for families and the kids especially love it. For an alcoholic beverage, try the Sour with frozen Shikwasa citrus instead of ice
Shima to Ate
Situated at the heart of Yatimura is “Shima to Ate”, offering great seats to enjoy the food and entertainment held (irregularly) on the stage, right at the front.
This popular establishment is well known for the approximately 150 varieties of Awamori available on any given day. Don’t know which one to choose? Don’t worry. There’s an Awamori Meister at Shima to Ate, who will ask all the right questions to find out your preferences and suggest the best way to enjoy Awamori. A great Ate or side dish to accompany your Awamori is the Tsuke Mozuku, with thick Mozuku seaweed from Kume Island. The sauce is prepared with chicken broth carefully extracted by cooking the chicken for over five hours, then blended with soy sauce and grilled green onions. It has a refreshing lightness but also a rich Umami taste. Another dish you’ll want to try is the “Pine Buta no Aburi Rafute (seared Rafute with pineapple pork)”, prepared with tender pork raised with pineapple feed.
For an authentic sushi experience at Yataimura, visit Chokotto Sushi on Chuzan Street. The interior is decorated with Okinawan textiles and wooden décor from Hokkaido, creating a nice atmosphere.
The seafood for the sushi is delivered directly from Hokkaido and is very fresh. Mainly serving rare seafood from Hokkaido and Okinawa, Chokotto Sushi adds extra tender love and care to the Edomae style of sushi, and brings out the best in each of the sushi they make. You can order from just one sushi to an assortment, so you’ll enjoy your visit no matter the size of your appetite. Also, their Ezokko Meshi not only is photogenic but is certain to delight you with the Ikura almost overflowing from the bowl.
How did you like our suggestions? From first-time visitors to seasoned travelers, we hope you will enjoy the Yataimura on Kokusai Street when visiting Okinawa.
Yatai establishments aren’t the only things you’ll find at Yataimura. There are various entertainment events organized by Yataimura, as well as markets offering specialty items from across Japan, and other collaboration events are held here. Be sure to check out their official website before you visit.