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A Specialty Shop You’d Want to Stop By for Shaved Ice after a Great Day at the Beach; Tanaka Kajitsu-Ten (Fruit Shop)
post : 2018.12.16 07:00
Tanaka Katjitsu-ten opened for business in June of 2014 in Onna Village, in the central region of Okinawa Island, and although the history of the shop is still young, it is known as one of Okinawa’s most popular shaved ice and fruit specialty shops.
Development of Onna Village as a tourist destination began even before Okinawa’s reversion to Japan. Marine activities are well-known there and the sunsets from the great beaches are spectacular and attract many visitors particularly first-time visitors to Okinawa. Tanaka Kajitsu-ten is located about five minutes away by car from Manzamo and Seragaki Beach, and is a very popular spot in the warm months on Okinawa, full of people looking to cool down with icy treats after a day of fun in the sun at the beach.
Tanaka Kajitsu-ten opened two years after its sister shop, the Hawaiian Pancakes House Paanilani opened for business. The owner, Hiroto Tanaka, reflects back to that time saying, “After moving to Onna Village, my network with the locals expanded and among them were many fruit farmers. They told me that when the harvest was abundant, the prices of fruits went down; mangoes they grew wouldn’t sell for even 100 yen each in such years. On the other hand, when the harvest is poor, it’s even tougher. I wanted to do something to contribute to the village and the people here who have been good to me, and so I set about to purchase mangoes and pineapples that the farmers couldn’t sell, and produce they were selling at Onna-no Michi (Road Station) at fair prices, to make shaved ice and jam.”
The menu includes “Okinawa Katjitsu-no Kobore Kori (overflowing Okinawan fruit ice)” (980 yen) which uses an abundance of Okinawa’s tropical fruits; Shaved Ice (580 yen) which you can choose three varieties from the 13 kinds of syrup available; Mango Parfait (980 yen); Mountain Mango Parfait (2500 yen) which uses a whole mango; and Fresh Passionfruit Ice (600 yen). Every one of the items on the menu sounds so good.
I think my personal recommendation is the Double Mango Shaved Ice Special (1,200 yen). With a generous portion of diced mango topped on powdery, cloud-like ice, it may look simple, but you can really enjoy the rich scent of the mango and its wonderful sweetness. When the wave of mango sweetness hits you, take a few spoon-full of the snow white ice and adjust accordingly. Once reset, hit that wave of mango again. Take your time and let yourself go into the wonderful world of mangoes and soak in the Okinawa dream.
At Tanaka Kajitsu-ten, they have a special technique to make their shaved ice in how each mouthful melts in your mouth like fresh snow. They take out their ice from the freezer to let it sit for over two hours in room temperature. Once the temperature gets close to zero degree, the ice is shaved very fine so that it’s fluffy and melts instantly in your mouth.
The Shaved Ice is popular with the visitors to Okinawa for its size and the colorfulness that people like to share on their SNS. The Blue Hawaii, Lemon, and Strawberry syrup combination creates a pretty rainbow-colored shaved ice cone. It’s not very common in Okinawa to be able to choose three varieties from among the many selections, so, many Okinawan families like this as well. For those of you who want to enjoy a taste from the past and the sensational world of color, the syrup selection includes Yogurt and Bubblegum (cola flavor), and you can enjoy 2,000 various combinations with the selection offered.
“Okinawa has many shops that have various items made with Okinawan fruits, but many customers choose to come to our shop, and somebody once said, ‘I came last year and enjoyed it and wanted to come back again when I was on Okinawa.’ That made me feel happy,” says Ayano Oshiro, a staff who transferred to the shop from the sister shop, Paanilani. She proudly recommends the Mango Parfait which you can enjoy the mango in three various ways; diced mango, mango ice cream, and homemade mango sauce topped on whipped cream. For tropical fruit lovers, this mango mania is a welcome. After trying the three icy treats, I understood a little more on why people wait in line for a taste of the shop’s wonderful treats.
You can enjoy your orders inside the shop, which has a laid back feel and interior of a shop you might find near the beach somewhere in Hawaii. The chic, peppermint green walls, the skeleton and pictures of sharks, ammonite fossils and harpoons. These all create a casual, relaxed and grownup feel to the shop. It’s a perfect place to take a break especially in the summer months when the sunrays are strong and you need to recharge after a day of fun on the beach. At the counter are stools of various designs and there are table seats as well, so you can kick back and enjoy yourself during the off peak seasons inside.
There are also selections of homemade Tanaka Kajitsu-ten Okinawa Tokuno (Rich) Jam available at the shop. As they say, their jams are ‘fruitier than fruits’ and made carefully by professional hands who manage to really concentrate everything great about fruits into a jar of rich-tasting jam. Their popular jam is the Kanjuku Osama Mango (fully ripe, king’s mango), which contains two to three mangoes in each jar. They spend the two days they’re closed a week and even then, they can only make about 150 jars which sell out instantly to customers who order them every year. You may have a hard time choosing which to buy among their four selections, which are: the Jonetsu-no (passionate) Passionfruit made with thickly ripened and carefully selected passionfruit, the Shima (island) Banana & Mango which combines mangoes with creamy bananas grown in Okinawa, which adds just the right amount of tartness, and the Mango & Peach Pine, blending mangoes and a type of pineapple with a peach-like aroma grown in Ishigaki, an Okinawan island known for their various brands of pineapples. Well, you can buy them all and enjoy the variety!
You can also find original items like Paanilani mugs and T-shirts that you can pick up for friends, bosses, family or anyone else you know who’d appreciate gifts that aren’t so touristy. They’re different from the common confectionaries and traditional souvenirs, so they make great gifts, too.
Whether at the sea or anywhere else after a day of enjoying Yomitan Village, Tanaka Kajitsu-ten is a great shop to visit.
Address: 2503 Seragaki, Onna Village, Okinawa
Telephone: 070 5279-7785
Business Hours: 11:00-18:00 (Last Order @ 17:30)
Closed: Tuesdays & Wednesdays
*Prices quoted in the article are current as of July, 2018.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Nobuya Fukuda