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Experience the “Deep” Side of Okinawa! A Recommended Day Plan in the Koza Area of Okinawa City
post : 2020.12.19 07:00
With the big military base situated in the city, you’ll meet many Americans and people from across the world walking along the streets of Okinawa City. The city has always had a very unique atmosphere, with deeply rooted American music culture and various other features. The businesses that line the streets offer goods that you’ll only find in Okinawa City, and here, many of the businesses accept US dollars, too, as they cater to many foreign visitors. So here it is! We’ll be introducing some of the shops and facilities that create the unique atmosphere of Okinawa City. We hope that you’ll take the opportunity to get to know and enjoy this city so that you’ll also be enchanted with Okinawa even more.
Charlie’s Tacos: A Popular Spot with the Locals and Foreign Visitors
When enjoying local Okinawan gourmet, you can’t skip the famous taco rice and tacos that both the locals and visitors love. At Koza Park Avenue, one of the most well-known spots in Okinawa City, there’s a long-established restaurant that’s been offering tacos for many, many years, perhaps even one of the very first establishments to do so.
Charlie’s Tacos was established in 1956, and has offered nostalgic tastes to their customers since their opening and has remained one of the most popular spots to go for tacos in Okinawa. Inside, you’ll see numerous autographs of famous people that have also come by to enjoy their specialty tacos.
The taco shells at Charlie’s is their house original and has a chewy texture that goes well with the taco fillings. The sauce contains local chilis and adds a nice kick and brings the flavors together.
One of the most popular choices on their menu is the Taco Set. It offers all the great tastes of beef, chicken and tuna, and is a great choice for first-timers or those who can’t decide what to order. They also have a wide selection of other great dishes, and one of our recommendations is their Steak Sandwich, a delicious and filling sandwich overflowing with great taste.
Information for Charlie’s Tacos
Address: 4-11-5 Chuo, Okinawa City, Okinawa
American Style Items that are Great for Souvenirs
Embroidered patches are cool fashion statements, and at Patch Shop Tiger EMB, you’ll find a wide collection that’ll make any collector envious, and styles that are unique to Okinawa City.
Serving mostly to customers from the US Air Force and Marine Corps, Patch Shop Tiger EMB is serious when it comes to these patches. They even have NASA patches and collectors from across Japan flock to the shop to buy them. They also take requests so you can have your name or whatever you like embroidered, so they’re perfect keepsakes from your trip or as gifts from Okinawa.
Information for Patch Shop Tiger EMB
Address: 4-10-3 Chuo, Okinawa City, Okinawa
Okinawa City’s Delicious Souvenirs
For a light snack or as a treat to take home, visit Goya Cake, located within walking distance from Patch Shop Tiger EMB. You’ll find Goya Cake near where the entrance to Park Avenue and Route 330 intersect.
The Chiffon Cake or sponge cake by Goya Cake is soft, not too sweet, and never gets boring. They’re so popular that you may come across them in local supermarkets. At Goya Cake, you can choose from a wide variety of their Chiffon Cakes displayed in the glass case.
Goya Cake first began when Mr. and Mrs. Goya, second generation Japanese-Peruvians, added their original touches to the Peruvian orange cakes and started selling them at flea markets in Okinawa. Today, they not only offer their special Chiffon Cakes, but also meets the demands of the times and their customers buy offering pound cakes made without using white, refined sugar, and also vegan cakes made without any dairy.
They also have a great selection of decorated cakes for birthdays. You can also get roll cakes and Chiffon Cakes by the slice so you can enjoy a nice snack on your break between your visits to various places.
Information for Goya Cake (Main Branch)
Address: 1-3-1 Goya, Okinawa City, Okinawa
A Bright and Fantastic World Lit Up with Evening Illuminations at [Southeast Botanical Gardens]
After enjoying great food and shopping in Okinawa City, on you go to the last stop! The Southeast Botanical Gardens in Chibana, Okinawa City. The vast grounds of the Southeast Botanical Gardens, also known as the lotus paradise, is a great place to enjoy a relaxing, leisurely time.
Here, you can join the number of fun workshops that are available throughout the year, like the Botanic Bottlium, where you and decorate and plant inside a glass bottle, and others according to season. The workshops are great for kids and adults of all ages. The restaurant within the Gardens is open until 22:00 (last entry at 21:30) so families, couples, and all the visitors can take their time to enjoy the Gardens.
The Southeast Botanical Gardens offers beautiful sights, fun experiences, and delicious meals, but there’s also another great attraction—evening illuminations! Illuminations are set to start on November 27 this year (for the year 2020, illuminations began on October 30 and will continue to May 9, 2021). Feel the night breeze as you stroll through the tropical gardens and take in the magical world of lights.
*This evening photo is from the Lotus Festival that was held to the end of June, 2015 (shown for illustrative purpose).
Information for the Southeast Botanical Gardens
Address: 2146 Chibana, Okinawa City, Okinawa
Besides the places we’ve introduced to you in today’s article, Okinawa City offers other great facilities to visit! The city has convenient access as it’s close from the expressway exits, so you can just casually swing by. For those of you looking to know more about Okinawa City, the Okinawa City Tourism Association offers guided night tours and other fun things to do, so whether you’re a first-time visitor or a frequent visitor, there’s always something new to discover here.
Okinawa CLIP Editorial Dept.