Okinawa Tourism Information:Kumoji,NahaCity,aBanquetVenueforTonightis“Botan-ya”

Kumoji, Naha City, a Banquet Venue for Tonight is “Botan-ya”

post : 2018.04.13 18:00

One day on January.
Good bars / izakaya are gathered in the area between Kencho-mae Station and Miebashi Station, and it is definitely the oasis for drunkards. This area is so-called “Kumoji.” And, a banquet venue for tonight (lol) is “Botan-ya.” It is sited in the great location of Kumoji area, and it is managed by an owner who has a lot of unique experience in his life.

“Botan-ya” is sited in the great location of Kumoji area, and it is 5 minutes walk from Kencho-mae Station or Miebashi Station. 

By the way, I think “izakaya” is the unique Japanese business category which has a good taste and blended with lots of good things. Especially, “Botan-ya” is the izakaya of the izakaya. The attractive part about “Botan-ya” is that their original dishes which features both foreign and Japanese styles. Nobutsuna Miyagi, the owner of Botan-ya, learned both styles through his experience while he worked at Japanese restaurants in Australia and Nagoya. So, he will not serve otoshi (compulsory appetizer) at random to entertain customers.

First, let’s make a toast with beer. Otoshi of the day is “Simmered fried eggplant" and "Cream of Chinese cabbage soup."

Before Miyagi opened Botan-ya in 2012, he worked at a luxurious small restaurant in Matsuyama, the best nightlife district in Naha City for 4 years. “It was a complexed restaurant with a nightclub and small restaurant. Customers went to the restaurant to entertain their guests, so every dish on the menu was priceless. Mama-san only asked me to buy the really good ingredients.” Miyagi said. He left such an ideal work environment for chefs and opened his own izakaya because he wanted to “serve delicious dishes to many customers.”

Shiny Bousushi (pressed sushi) with seasonal bluefish. I want to eat the whole someday!

“Roasted Bouzushi with Seasonal Fish (750 yen)” and “Steamed Egg Hotchpotch with Truffle and Cheese (480 yen)” are the advertising menus of Botan-ya.

Miyagi himself loves dishes that go well with Japanese sake, fish, and Japanese dish. Actually, his family manages an authentic Yaeyama cuisine restaurant called “Tantei” in Shuri. His background and experience in Australia give him ideas of creative fusion cuisine.

Bonito broth and cheese are condensed in “Steamed Egg Hotchpotch with Truffle and Cheese,” and this is the ultimate dish with western and Japanese styles. Every time I remember it, I cannot help smiling with pleasure. 

When Miyagi flew to Australia at the age of 24, he did not make a reservation for any hotels, but he brought a griddle to cook takoyaki with him. That was why a staff at the airport questioned what it was.  

Nobutsuna Miyagi, the owner 

Thanks to his naturally friendly character, he became friends with chefs from all over the world and he experienced many things while he was in Australia. For example, he got everybody’s attention by showing katsura-muki (rotary cutting) of Japanese radish. When he cooked cabbage roll for his French friend, he was surprised because his friend said, “I have never had this food before.” When he asked his Italian friend to make Italian dressing, he said “there is no such thing.” He also learned how to cook kimchi from his Korean friend. He told me a lot of unique experience he went through. 

Also, through his experience on managing a Japanese restaurant in Australia for 11 years, he realized how wonderful Japanese cuisine was. 

Seasonal Okinawan Vegetable Tempura. It was my first time trying baby corn silk tempura!  

After Miyagi returned to Japan, he decided to learn the authentic Japanese cuisine from the beginning again. After he found a good chef in Nagoya on YouTube, he e-mailed the chef and asked, "I don't need salary, so can I work with you as an apprentice?"  Later, he started training in Nagoya to gain more experience. 

He was 34 years old then. His story gave me courage to start something all over again at the age of 34.

Anyway, the basic he learned in Nagoya helped him to come up with creative dishes with a variety of ingredients. Customers come here repeatedly to enjoy eating creative dishes that many people cannot imagine of. 

This is “Salt-boiled Grouper.” Grouper is high-class fish, and there are more than 20 kinds of grouper. Miyagi is good at choosing good fish, and his recommended grouper is “Giant grouper.” 

You might already recognize it, but the attractive part about this izakaya is not only dishes, but also Miyagi’s interesting life story. When you go to this izakaya for the first time, it is better to sit on a seat at counter and talk to him directly. Don't you want to know why he went to Australia? If so, let’s ask him. He speaks English, so this is a good izakaya to take people from overseas and teach them how wonderful izakaya is. 

Popular juicy Japanese-style Omelet. It looks like liquid is going to drip off.

I entered Botan-ya at 18:00, and by the time I felt happy by drinking and eating, this place was packed with lots of customers. A large group of businessmen, regular customers, and a pair of ladies, they were all having fun here on Friday night. When I finished drinking fermented banana flavored Japanese sake and left the izakaya, it was still in the early evening.

Regularly about 10 kinds of Japanese sake are served at Botan-ya, and each of them is 680 yen (1 glass).

I felt happy with no reason, and then head to a wine bistro after that. 

Address: 1-13-2-1F Makishi, Naha City
Tel: 098-867-4387
Business Hours: 17:30-25:00 (final order @ 24:00)
Closed: Sun & Japanese national holidays
Parking: N/A

Okinawa CLIP photo writer Aya Asakura