Okinawa Tourism Information:EnjoysomegreatfoodwhilevisitingOkinawa'ssacredspots.“Shokunojunreiagariumaai!(apilgrimagetofood)”inNanjoCity

Enjoy some great food while visiting Okinawa's sacred spots. “Shokuno junrei agariumaai! (a pilgrimage to food)” in Nanjo City

post : 2017.02.03 08:00

Nanjo City is said to be the place where an ancient deity created the Ryukyus. Kubou Utaki in Kudaka Island, Seefaa Utaki in Chinen, Hamakawa Utaki in Tamagusuku, Baten Utaki in Sashiki, Kaniman Utaki in Osato have been the main utaki (sacred places) to locals for centuries.



A unique event that combines food with the Okinawan spiritual culture is going on through February 5th, 2017 in Nanjo City. Restaurants and cafes in Nanjo City are offering special menus using local ingredients in homage to the local culture and history.


I will introduce some special dishes from six of thirteen restaurants, such as Hikiyose Tofu (a culinary celebration of ocean and land with seven kinds of vegetables) or the Ukkaa Course provided by a watercress farm, which is based on the legend of Tida Ukkaa.



First, I would like to introduce the Kodaimai Set with salad and an all-you-can-drink soft drink fountain (2,000 yen) from Café Yabusachi. They use wild rice for in honor of the local myth of Ukinjyuhainjyu—a story relating to the rice farming history in this area. They offer juushii (seasoned rice) made of black and red wild rice, white rice, hijiki seaweed from Yonabaru Town, rafutee (simmered pork belly) that was one of the royal dishes in Ryukyu Kingdom period, jellies,  local vegetables and other local delicacies.


Next, I'm introducing the Agariumaai Ecology lunch box (from 1,000 yen) by Azama Moon Light Terrace (inn and restaurant). The name “Agariumaai” is from the old story of Amamikiyo. Sauteed chicken with herbs, baked fresh fish, taro with soy sauce and sugar and other small items are wrapped in gettou (shell ginger) leaf. Contents vary each day. Let’s enjoy great harvests from the field and the ocean as we appreciate what we get from nature!

How about a Sukuna Burrito (620 yen) from taco shop Uchinoyamachi? It was discovered after several trials with different kinds of vegetables and herbs, that handama (a type of local spinach) was the best match in terms of color and flavor in a burrito. A great view of a sacred mountain Sukunayama on Chinen Peninsula can be seen from the restaurant. Local people believe that ancient herbalist, Sukunahiko, might have visited the mountain to search medical herbs as documented in the Kojiki (Japan’s oldest historical record). While there is no proof that Sukunahiko actually visited this spot, people believe the story because the mountain's name is similar to the ancient herbalist.


Now, I would like to introduce a great dessert: Kaminoshima Gokoku Zenzai (500 yen) by douce cafe nanjo, a specialty coffee shop located in Chinen. They opened in April, 2016. The chilled bean dessert with pumpkin sauce was made in the image of the moon over the ocean. Sacred Kudaka Island can be seen from the café surrounded by blue ocean. So they decided to make a dessert to honor the island. Red beans and sea salt from the island are used for this healthy dessert. I felt my body become purified with each bite.


Some drinks are next. A soy milk drink, Seefaa Ougon (gold) Latte, comes from Nangoku Fruit Parlor JyoGoo. This drink contains soy milk, turmeric, cinnamon and mango honey. The parlor is located near Seefaa Utaki (a World Heritage site). Magatama (a comma-shaped bead) were once found in the area, so they decided to make something gold-colored.


Finally I would introduce the Rainbow Tea Onari blend (300 yen) from Garden Kuu Café where they sometimes offer workshops on growing vegetables without using agricultural chemicals.


Onari Kami Shinkou, a belief in the spiritual power of women has been practiced in Okinawa for a long time. During the Ryukyu Kingdom period, one woman, Kikoeookimi, was elected to a high rank and served the king. Her inauguration was held at Seefaa Utaki. The Oaraori ceremony is reenacted once every four years in Nanjo City. Butterfly peas (said to be good for women's health), shikuwasaa (local citrus) and hibiscus are used to brew this very beautiful tea.

Oaraori ceremony (photo provided by Sutorizumu Co., Ltd.)


The event, Shokuno Junrei Agariumaai was produced by Vitamin N Renkeitai (Nanjo City Shoukoukai, Nanjo City Tourism Planning, Commerce and Industry Department, Nanjo City Tourism Association, East Home Town Okinawa Co. Ltd. And Sutorizumu Co. Ltd. ). The purpose of the event was to connect great restaurants in Nanjo City with key cultural and spiritual points.

Kids playing in Kakinohanahiijaa (photo provided by Sutorizumu Co. Ltd.)


“Nanjo City is full of sacred places,” said Kinjo from Sutorizumu. “Please visit them and offer prayers.” Kinjo went on to describe the bright eyed kids in Nanjo City who politely greet people. “You can often see kids jumping from the bridge for fun in Oou Island—a famous tourist place,” Kinjo continued. “You don’t see that kind of scene anymore in town. I believe kids in Nanjo City are brought up right and the city is full of charms.”


Milk sama in Tsuhako (photo provided by Sutorizumu Co., Ltd.)


Why not experience the charms of Nanjo City through Agariumaai? You can collect a series of stamps at each sacred spot and receive Vitamin N original sweets after visiting three restaurants.



Shop Information



Café Yabusachi

Address: 646-1 Tamagusuku Hyakuna, Nanjo City, Okinawa

Tel: 098-949-1410

Hours: 11:00-sunset

Closed: Wednesday (open if holiday)


Azama Moon Light Terrace

Address: 1245 Chinen Azama, Nanjo City, Okinawa

Tel: 098-948-4133

Hours: 11:30-19:00 (last order)

Closed: Thursday



Address: 754 Sashiki Tedokon, Nanjo City, Okinawa

Tel: 080-6480-5467

Hours: 11:00-18:00

Closed: Wednesday


douce cafe nanjo

Address: 1265 Chinen Azama, Nanjo City, Okinawa

Tel: 098-988-3699

Hours: 12:00-18:00

Closed: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday


Nangoku Fruits Parlor JyoGoo

Address: 311 Chinen Kudeken, Nanjo City, Okinawa

Tel: 098-949-1080

Hours: 9:00-18:00

Closed: Irregularly (may close for inclement weather)


Garden Kuu Café

Address: 1620-1 Sashiki Tsuhako, Nanjo City, Okinawa

Tel: 098-947-6576


Closed: Irregularly




Nanjo City Shoukoukai

Address: 43 Sashiki Sashiki, Nanjo City, Okinawa

Tel: 098-947-1283



Okinawa CLIP photo writer: Noriya Fukuda