Food & Diet on the Okinawa Islands

It was only 100 years ago that the kingdom of Okinawa was incorporated into Japan, and the southern islands still maintain their own distinctive culture, language and cuisine. Okinawan cooking tends toward stronger and spicier flavors than Japanese food, and is more heavily influenced by Chinese cooking styles.

Pork is a very important ingredient, and every part of the pig is used, from pig's feet and pig's ears to pork tripe. Other ingredients include local seafood and native tropical vegetables and fruits.

okinawa rafuti


Black sugar and awamori (an Okinawan brandy-like liquor made from rice) are used in cooking along with soy sauce and miso (fermented soybeans). Kooreegusu is a condiment made from red peppers marinated in awamori.


Stir-frying is a common cooking method, and Okinawan chanpuru is basically a stir-fry using some combination of tofu, leeks and eggs plus other ingredients - Okinawan menus will usually have a number of chanpuru dishes listed.

okinawa chanpuru


Another typical dish is rafuti, pork stewed in miso, soy sauce, sugar and awamori, which is very similar to a Chinese dish called kakuni. Toofuyoo is a strongly flavored super-concentrated tofu concoction that's eaten in tiny bites as a snack while drinking - it's a bit like Velveeta cheese that's been compressed until it's reached an incredibly dense state.

A popular foreign-influenced dish is taco rice - basically a taco that uses rice instead of a taco shell. It also happens to be the author of this page favorite food in Japan for the last few months.


okinawan taco rice, okinawa diet guide




Here are some menu items you might run across. Many menus list the Okinawan term first, followed by a Japanese explanation.


rafuti -- chunks of pork stewed in awamori, soy sauce and miso

sooki -- pork stewed with bone sookibuni-- spareribs, usually flavored with salt, lemon, and/or ginger

minudaru-- pork stewed and flavored with sesame

nakami-jiru or nakami no suimono -- pork tripe soup

ashi-tibichi -- stewed pig's feet

mimigaa -- pig's ear in vinegar

deekuni -- daikon radish and pork stew

kuubuirichi -- konbu (seaweed) and pork stew

hiijaa sashimi -- raw goat meat

hiijaa-jiru -- goat meat in soup

chanpuru -- stir-fry with eggs, leeks and/or tofu

goya chanpuru -- chanpuru stir-fry with goya (bitter gourd)

maaminaa chanpuru -- tofu and bean sprout stir-fry

soomin chanpuru -- chanpuru with soomen noodles

nakami irichi -- pork tripe and miso stir-fry

hira yaachii -- Okinawan-style okonomiyaki

jiimamii-dofu -- peanut tofu

toofuyoo -- concentrated Okinawan tofu

sunui -- pickled kombu (seaweed)

iriko -- tiny dried fish, roasted

yaeyama kamaboko -- Okinawan-style fishcakes

papaya misozuke -- papaya pickled in miso (fermented soybeans)

shima rakkyou -- pickled shallots

yakisoba (Okinawa-fuu) -- thick noodles fried with vegetables

soba (Okinawa-fuu) -- soba noodles in soup with vegetables

sooki soba-- pork spareribs (with bone) with soba noodles in soup

juushii -- rice porridge (zousui)

fuuchibaa juushii-- rice porridge with a bitter leaf vegetable (yamogi)

saataa andagi -- Okinawan doughnuts

Orion-- Okinawan beer

awamori -- an Okinawan liquor made from rice

North Okinawa Tours

 JTB Okinawa Japan TOurs Northern Okinawa Tour
On this tour visit many of the North Okinawa’s famous sites like Churaumi Aquarium ( the world's third largest aquarium), Ryukyu Mura where you can experience living history, and many more exciting places. Lunch included.
  >> Details
JTB Okinawa Japan TOurs Nakijin-jo Castle World Heritage Bus Tour
On this tour visit many of the North Okinawa’s famous sites like Cape Manza, Churaumi Aquarium ( the world's third largest aquarium), Nakijin-jo Castle, Nago Pineapple Park. Lunch included.
  >> Details
JTB Okinawa Japan TOurs Okinawa Marine Walk from Nago (Departs at 9:00 am)
Enjoy walking underwater through Okinawa's clear ocean by simply putting on a special helmet which draws air from the surface, you can breathe normally even while underwater and explore Okinawa's beautiful coral reefs.
  >> Details
JTB Okinawa Japan TOurs Okinawa Jet Skiing, Banana Boat & Super Mable Tour
Enjoy all 3 of these thrilling marine sports out on the open water. 
  >> Details


Miyako Islands Hotels & Resorts

 Location  Rating  Hotel Name
 Miyako Is. 4 star hotel Hotel Atoll Emerald Miyakojima
 Miyako Is. 4 star hotel Miyakojima Tokyu Resort 
 Miyako Is. 4 star hotel Hotel Breeze Bay Marina 
 Miyako Is. 5 star hotel Shigira Bayside Suite ALLAMANDA