Okinawa Tourism Information:385△Storeproducesthegentlesoundofthetriangleofpeople,products,andtheislands.

385 △ Store produces the gentle sound of the triangle of people, products, and the islands.

post : 2015.07.20 19:00

You have had many conversations with local people while traveling.  Have any of the conversations ever come back to mind suddenly?  Even if the conversation was just too easy, it remains etched into your memory of the trip, and you will know it some time later. 

The memories come back to you with beautiful sceneries which caught your eyes, something scrumptious, and a little different smell of life unique to the land.  They are very precious because they bring us from an ordinary life to an extraordinary one with no need to travel. 

At this market, headed by a 90-year-old lady, several women gather in an open space facing the street from 8AM to 10AM and after 4PM to sell the local vegetables, fruits, sea food, and processed products in a traditional style. 

Today I would like to introduce you a souvenir shop called “385-jima △ Store,” which I would like you to visit when traveling in Miyako Island.  It is a small shop surrounded by green groceries, grocer’s shops, and souvenir shops run by local women at Miyako-jima City Public Market in the downtown of Miyako-jima City.    

After she experienced working as a reporter at a small newspaper company in Miyako Island and an information magazine writer at a publisher in mainland Okinawa, she entered a university of arts in Kyoto.   After spending for a while outside of Okinawa, Ms. Makiko Sunagawa came back to her hometown island.  As she has lived both in and outside of the island, she can show a variety of charms of Miyako Island through tourists’ eyes. 

At this idyllic market where local ladies gather, Sunagawa-san, who was born in Miyako Island, selects and sell “something good for body and mind” from specialty products around Miyako Islands while handling the tourism information office and a parlor.  She is the one that gave me many pieces of advice just like a childhood friend when I was at a loss where to go at my first visit to Miyako Island. 

The standard of selecting products at this shop which she opened in 2012 is “something that makes you feel handmade warmth and the characteristic of Miyako Island.”

“Salala” is very smooth like sand at Yonahamaehama Beach.

For example, “The most gentle sugar in the world” (756 yen) is carefully made from sugarcane without using any agricultural chemicals nor chemical fertilizers and has a smooth touch like beautiful beach sand in Miyako Island.  In order to create the gentle touch, “there is nothing special done but the producer make it very carefully without getting lazy.”

Speaking of “gentle,” she has products gentle to your skin.  An after sun lotion which provides cool moisture to your heated skin after sunburn called “Uruoi (moisture) of Miyako” (650 yen) is made using extract from leaf gel of aloe vela grown with strong sunshine in Miyako Island. 

In addition to that, I would recommend “massage oil” (1,900 yen) made using chomeiso (button parsnip), which has been loved as a folk remedy since the old times in Okinawa, soaked in sesame oil for a long time and “getto (shell ginger) aroma water” (1,620 yen) made using distilled getto grown organically by therapist living in the island.

Miyako-jima is known as an herb island.  The long-lasting fragrance of herbs of the island has a fairy good reputation also in Okinawa. 

These are precious cloth with which it takes more than two months to finish weaving one bolt of cloth using choma (ramie) known as a material of ancient cloth. 

In addition to herb products which Sunagawa san herself used and would recommend, saying “It was good!,” her shop has traditional handcraft items like a wallet, a business card holder, etc. of Miyako Jofu (ramie fiber cloth), and heartwarming products like “Message cards,” a combination of Miyako language and cute illustration.   

If you eat this noodle, you can learn five Miyako words.  “Uzumaki Soba” is 780 yen for three different-colored noodle.

Products are made using representing plants of Okinawa such as getto (shell ginger), adan (screw pine), etc.

“Look, what do you think of this?,” people who are engaged in handmade products come to her for advice when they think of commercializing something.  “Where do you suggest that I should go on a rainy day?,” a lady who travels alone comes and asks her.  The shop where different people gather is a literally 385-jima △ store which connects people, products, and the islands in a triangle.    

People in Miyako Island is famous for being especially kind to others among good-hearted people of Okinawa known in “Ichariba Choodee (Once we meet, we are already brothers or sisters.)  Actually a person from Miyako Island around me is so kind-hearted that I sometimes want to say “superserviceable.”  When you travel to Okinawa, please extend your trip to Miyako Island.  Please enjoy a wonderful meeting with the island people with clear eyes as well as the sea of Miyako Blue!

385-jima (Miyako Island) △ Store

Address: 1st Floor, Miyako-jima City Public Market, 1 Hirara Shiozato, Miyako-jima City, Okinawa
TEL: 0980-79-0807
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 18:00(November to March) 10:00 to 19:00(April to October)
Irregularly Closed

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer  Nobuya Fukuda