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Have a comfortable stay and learn the art of Ryukyu (ancient Okinawan) cuisine at Kominka Akabana, a cozy Yaese Town inn.
post : 2016.10.19 09:00
Opened in February 2016, Kominka Akabana, was originally an old style house built more than 55 years ago with traditional Ryukyu red tile roof. It is located in Yaese Town, about a 20-minute drive from Naha Airport.
The building is of a structure designed for hot climates like Okinawa so a pleasant breeze wafts nicely through this old style house so you may not want the A/C. Large groups or families with children can will be comfortable in the large 15-mat tatami room.
You may notice the beautiful tapestries dyed with Uji (sugar cane leaves) and other features of the inn’s décor
The blue flower vase made at local pottery shop, Youzangama.
The Kuchaguwa – back room -- was used as a birth room and a bedroom in old days
Tatami beds are popular with people who enjoy the smell of fragrant grasses. It is a pleasant scent that that brings relaxing sleep.
You can rent the whole house alone or up to five people for 15,000 yen per night. A sixth person in your party will just carry an additional charge of 3,000 yen per night. This is a great deal for five or six people! *Tax is included.
Not only can you stay in an old style house, you can learn Ryukyu cooking! Owner Ayano Abe, is actually a culinary scholar and teaches guests how to prepare traditional Ryukyu cuisine. The cooking experience is held in the inn’s kitchen. *Advanced reservations are required for the cooking experience.
The menu varies but Abe clings with what’s traditional. Generally, guests can learn to prepare three classic Ryukyu dishes.
Today’s menu: Nakami Jiru (soup with pork intestines), Kuubu Irichi (sautéed kelp),Tanmu Dengaku (mashed local taro)
Ryukyu cuisines may seem too simple to enjoy at first, but you will appreciate the taste of the ingredients more when you prepare and eat them. To get the most out of the flavor of each ingredient, Abe uses bonito and pork-based soup with no MSG. This soup brings out the depth in each dish nicely. Long ago, people had limited ingredients and had to consider carefully when welcoming people from foreign countries and serving meals. These dishes contain love and wisdom in addition to the ingredients and represent a great opportunity to get in touch with Okinawan history.
Ms. Abe used to own a restaurant that served mainly island vegetable dishes. Local customers often asked her the names of local vegetables. She was shocked to discover that even local people don’t know much about what kind of vegetables grow in Okinawa. She began to feel a sense of urgency that the unique island vegetables and traditional Ryukyu cuisine using local items might disappear soon. The restaurant experience was her trigger for becoming an expert on Ryukyuan cuisine. Passing the dietary culture down to next generations became an important goal for her at that time and she made a decision to attend a culinary school to develop her expertise.
“I would like to pass my experiences and knowledge about Ryukyu cuisine to younger generations,” Abe says.
Well-known tourist destinations, Valley of Gangala, Okinawa World and Gyokusendo Cave (limestone cave) are located fairly close by so this inn is perfect place to stay for people who want to enjoy the south side of the island.
There are few accommodations where you can stay and also learn about Ryukyuan cuisine the way you can at Kominka Akabana. Please consider it for a wonderful experience with your family or friends!
Address: 38 Kochinda, Yaese Town, Shimaijiri-gun, Okinawa
Rates: 15,000 yen/night (whole house, up to five people);
3,000 yen for additional person
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko