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Staying Cool in Okinawan Summers! Your Memories will be Multiplied 1.5 Times at [1.5 gakuya ~ocean~] (in Nago)
post : 2019.01.11 10:00
The northern region of Okinawa Island is a hugely popular area for sightseeing and can be reached in about two hours by car from Naha Airport. You can enjoy the rich nature of Okinawa on your drive, but it can be a long trip. So why not stop by at [1.5 gakuya ~ocean~], a smoothie café where you can enjoy a delicious and healthy smoothie while enjoying the spectacular Okinawan ocean view.
Exit at the Kyoda IC of the Okinawa Expressway and head north on Route 58 to reach Yabu, Nago City, where [1.5 gakuya ~ocean~] is located. In the neighborhood where you can feel the nostalgia in the air, you’ll find traditional Ryukyuan-style homes with paths aligned by tall Fukugi trees, planted to protect the community from strong winds. The name of their shop comes from their hopes that it would be a place of comfort and relaxation between what they numbered as 1 being home, and 2 being workplace.
While I was there, I met a couple on a sightseeing trip who stopped by for smoothies. They ordered the popular tropical fruit smoothies, the Dragon Fruit and Mango Mango. The café offers items that are completely sugar-free, and they also hand make their caramels and peanut butter and various other healthy ingredients.
The owners wanted to offer a place where visitors can feel comfortable, so they’re very focused on customer service. The “gakuya” in their name comes from two kanji characters that mean “fun” and “house” and combined, and it can also mean “dressing rooms” backstage. The shopkeepers enjoy communicating with the customers and hope to offer a relaxing “backstage dressing room” for the customers so that they can shine on the stage of life. Unlike most shops where the staff see you off with an “arigato gozaimashita (thank you)”, they send you off with “kyo-mo yoi ichi nichi-wo”, meaning “please enjoy your day”. In casual chats, they offer recommendations on great places to go in the area that are off the beaten track. Their hospitality is another attraction of the café aside from the smoothies.
I took the opportunity to go by the places they recommended. The first place was about five minutes away on foot from the shop. It was a Fukugi tree lined street that was like a tunnel of greenery. The shade was comfortably breezy and it was delightful. It was a great photo spot, too, with lush greens in the background that complimented the colorful smoothies. This is a great hidden spot to stop by in the summer, where you can cool down with your smoothie in hand.
The other spot was Yabu Beach, a special, secret spot for the true Yabu lovers. On the day I went, the beach was deserted and I enjoyed the peace and quiet. Smoothies go so well on the beaches in Okinawa, especially on hot days. I talked with the couple I met at the café, and it turned out the boyfriend was a photographer. He was very happy about the delicious smoothie from [1.5 gakuya ~ocean~] and their tips on where to visit in the neighborhood. They were happily taking photos and making great memories.
When you’re in the northern region of Okinawa, I really hope you’ll grab a smoothie and stop by the places they recommend at 1.5 gakuya ~ocean~. You won’t regret it. In fact, you might enjoy it so much that you’ll lose track of time and be a little behind schedule. But that’s ok, vacations are supposed to be that way sometimes, right?
Before saying goodbye, the photographer-boyfriend showed me some of the pictures he took. I saw photos of his beloved girlfriend with such lovely expressions. The photos showed how much they were truly enjoying themselves there.
[15 gakuya ~ocean~]
Address: 30-3 Yabu, Nago City, Okinawa
Business Hours: 12:00-15:00 (Lunch) & 18:00-22:00 (Dinner) Last Order @ 21:30
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Yu Murakami