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GARDEN PANA Offers an Abundance of Ishigaki Island’s Herbs
post : 2019.12.24 23:00
[GARDEN PANA] is situated on a small hill above the community of Sakieda, about 30 minutes by car along the coast from the more urban area on Ishigaki Island. “Pana” in the Okinawan language means “flower”, and here, there is a vast garden with various flowers and herbs, as well as a café and shop.
The café offers a lovely lunch prepared with plenty of herbs, as well as desserts and herbal tea. At the shop area, they have various seasonings, mainly made by Garden Pana, and also a wide selection of goods that they recommend. Of course, people are welcome to just visit the shop.
Growing in the garden are about 50 varieties of herbs, tended by growers who work exclusively at the garden. There are popular herbs like basil, mint, as wells as Okinawan herbs like Gettou and Pipachi, and when in season, lemons adorn the trees. You’ll also find goji berries or wolfberries that we don’t often see. Visitors are welcome to tour the garden freely, and on some days, the staff comes along to introduce some of the plants.
As you stroll through the garden surrounded by the beautiful greenery, colorful flowers, and embraced by the delightful scents while overlooking Nagura Bay, you’ll find yourself thoroughly relaxed and enjoying the lovely spot.
The bright orange flowers in the photo above are nasturtium flowers. Both the leaves and flowers are edible, and the leaves have a slight kick to them.
Founded 24 years ago, GARDEN PANA began when herbs and medicinal plants were still not very common the owner, Toyama-san, wanted to make products made with plants and herbs found on the island since long ago. This was inspired because back then, there weren’t many notable souvenirs from the island unlike today.
The building that houses the café used to be Toyama-san’s home, and the café opened about four years ago. He wanted to show people that you can enjoy herbs easily and that they were truly delicious.
Shown above is their popular menu, Basil Donburi (rice bowl) with lots of herbs. The herbs on the side dish are basil, mint, Chomeiso, Handama, and fennel. These are gathered from the garden upon order, and they’re all edible. As you enjoy the rice bowl, you can tear the fresh, juicy herbs to add to your spoonful and enjoy varying tastes. The seasoning used on the ground beef is their original basil sauce which is available for purchase.
In the bowl, too, are herbs to add to the enjoyment. The lunch set includes a beverage, and you can choose among the seven various herbal teas that are also available for purchase.
Their lunch menu also offers Pita Bread with Herbs, Soup with Island Vegetables, Pana Style Reimen cold noodles, and another dozen or so items to choose from. All of the dishes are seasoned with various herbs and are very delicious and healthy.
Recommended for a relaxing tea time is their fresh herbal tea. Several types of freshly picked herbs are placed in a teapot and served.
With one sip, you’ll taste the difference compared to the dry type of tea leaves. It’s refreshing and very aromatic. Accompanying the tea is a lovely dish of biscotti with rosemary. The petals floating in the cup are rose and Bengal rose petals that flower in abundance during the winter.
At the shop next to the café are various items produced by Garden Pana and soaps and select items from their sister shop, La Cucina, on Okinawa Island. At times, they send oils with herbs grown in the garden to La Cucina, where they use them to make soaps and other items.
They also offer dried herbs, lemons, local chili peppers and others that were harvested here at the garden. They offer them by weight, so you can choose whatever you’d like and make tea or use them in your cooking.
Above are their original flavored oils, herbal mixes, and blended herbal tea. The herbal oils are prepared by soaking in the herbs while they’re still fresh. They offer about 20 varieties of goods, including seasonings and syrup.
About once a month, they hold a small market they call PANA de Marche, and offer soap-making workshops and yoga, and you can check out their monthly dates for the market through their website/Facebook.
Kabira Bay, Ishigaki Island’s famous scenic spot is just five minutes away from GARDEN PANA by car, so drop by when you’re enjoying a drive on the island!
You can get ice cold herbal tea and mojito (non-alcohol) to go, so you can enjoy cold and delicious drinks when on the island during the hot season.
Address: 239-14 Sakieda, Ishigaki City, Okinawa
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (Lunch until 11:30 or until sold out)
Closed: Wednesdays & Irregularly on Weekends and Holidays
Okinawa CLIP Editorial Dept.