Makishi Public Market, which is a part of locals’ everyday life, is the place to go if you’re looking to enjoy Okinawan food and interact with locals. It’s a popular tourist destination, where you can find abundant colorful fresh fish, huge cuts of pork, and tropical fruit and vegetables. Here’s our report on this charming market! ※The market will temporarily close starting June 16, 2019 due to renovation. It will reopen on July 1, 2019 at a temporary location (former Nigiwai Hiroba).
Makishi Public Market is a 2-minute walk from Kokusai Dori (International Street), the central part of Naha. It was established in 1972, when Okinawa was returned to Japan after the U.S. occupation. It’s still just as lively as it was back then. It is known as “Naha’s kitchen,” and it’s the perfect place to go for those who want to enjoy Okinawan food and interact with locals. There are more than 100 shops at this 2-story market. Fresh meat and fish—indispensable in Okinawan cuisine—fill the first floor, and Okinawan eateries are on the second.
There is a pickled food section right at the entrance to the market. The stores there sell pickled Okinawan vegetables, like goya (bitter melon), shima rakkyo (island scallion), and green papayas. They provide samples, so go ahead and try them if there’s enough room in your stomach. There’s also a coffee stand in the market. Other than coffee, they serve a drink called hiyashi lemon (chilled lemon), which is made of Okinawan shikuwasa (a type of citrus). It’s popular among locals and market staff members alike.
The majority of meat at the meat section is pork. You’ll be able to find pig parts unique to Okinawa, like mimiga (ears) and chiraga (face).
The fish section sells colorful fish, clams, and shrimp. They are arranged as if to showcase their vibrant colors. Lots of people take pictures to capture the beauty.
The second floor of the market has multiple eateries that serve Okinawan dishes like Okinawa soba and goya chanpuru (bitter melon stir fry). Some shops serve rare Okinawan delicacies, like hija jiru (goat soup) and irabu jiru (sea snake soup). Some shops cook up the ingredients you purchased on the first floor. You’ll have to pay the cooking fee on top of however much you spent on the first floor for the ingredients, but lots of tourists love getting the chance to taste Okinawan ingredients at their freshest.
The appeal of Makishi Public Market isn’t limited to things described above. It’s becoming increasingly popular as a photo spot. Take pictures of vibrantly colored fish, fruit, and the impressive chiraga to capture the charms of the market. Also, taking pictures of staff members’ smiles and moments of interactions with them will help you have a more vivid memory of the day when you revisit your pictures. Definitely experience Okinawan culture and lifestyle to have a more fulfilling trip!
The market will temporarily close starting June 16, 2019 due to renovation. It will reopen on July 1, 2019 at a temporary location (former Nigiwai Hiroba).
Tomigusuku City・Itoman City
Nanjo City・Yaese Town・Haebaru Town・Yonabaru Town