Shopping in Okinawa—from grabbing a loaf of bread to that new designer handbag
Have you ever experienced having a hard time finding a supermarket while traveling in Okinawa as you're not quite sure what to look for? Maybe that's when you're driving from Naha airport to north for places such as Churaumi Aquarium, and you want to make a stop for a light snack.

Although there are numerous buildings and all the signs look the same, if you already know what local stores look like and what they sell, you won't have to waste your time trying to find one.

So, here are five major supermarkets which you will most likely encounter anywhere on the island.

Max Value

AEON MaxValu (Max Value) storefront

Max Value (MaxValu) is one of the supermarkets operated by AEON and easily noticeable with a big red sign.

Their pricing is neither cheap nor expensive. They always have a big variety of snack foods, from fried chicken and fried Okinawan doughnuts to lunch boxes and sushi.

An assortment of fried foods and snacks at MaxValu Various types of sushi at MaxValu

When it comes to sushi, I prefer Max Value for its wider selection of sushi. Not to mention, sushi sold in supermarkets here is safe and delicious so you don't have to worry about getting sick.

While making a stop at Max Value, you can also make your kids who might have gone grumpy from the long drive pleased with this fabulous section, a bewildering array of small snacks!

A wide array of children's snacks can be found at MaxValue

As you can see in the picture, each one can be purchased for a small price so the kids will be thrilled to pick whatever they want. Usually, there are small baskets installed nearby for kids to use, making it even fun for them to shop.

Prices so cheap for snacks that children can pick many more than just one!

It might seem like nothing, but I remember my childhood being overjoyed about picking out favorites from a numerous selection of snacks, and as a matter of fact, I still love it!

Max Value also has a wide array of alcohol to choose from!

A wide selection of beer and chuhais to pick from at MaxValue

Additionally, if you're low on yen, their ATM accepts most international debit cards.

An AEON ATM inside MaxValue (pink in color)

Big Express

AEON Big Express storefront

Big is also a chain supermarket of AEON, carrying good quality products that are generally cheaper.

Big Express' cheap snack breads Big Express' cheap cup of noodle selection

If you come across one of the Big chain stores, I'd recommend stopping by. We love to visit one by our house for ice cream as this saves us around 50 yen each compared to most other stores.

Big Express' cheap ice cream selection Big Express' cheap ice cream selection

As Big Express is also apart of AEON, look out for the pink ATM if you need cash too.


San-A storefront

San-A is the major local supermarket whose pricing is almost the same as Max Value. I'd venture to say that their levels of product quality are on the same level comparatively as well.

As San-A and Max Value are fairly competitive, and you choose to stop by San-A instead, don't forget to take a look at the many souvenirs that you can purchase and either take back with you or send home!

Beni-imo snacks for sale at San-A Ingredients to make Okinawan donuts and crepes at San-A Pure sea salt on the shelves at San-A

If you're not a tourist but live here, I'd also recommend grabbing a huge block of tuna for a quick and healthy dinner: maguro-don.

If you’re up for it, you can easily make it by just chopping it up in tiny pieces then put them on a bed of rice. After pouring some soy sauce mixed with a little bit of wasabi, enjoy the meal. You will just love it!

A block of tuna (maguro) or slices of sashimi to enjoy at your place

However, If there's a San-A and Max Value nearby, I would opt shopping at San-A for groceries and Max Value for snacks.


Kanehide storefront

I rarely visit the store myself, but when I plan on getting a lot of canned drinks I do make sure to go there. They're so cheap that I want to get more than how many I originally planned to get.

Cheap cans of shikuwasa drinks at Kanehide

They also have a wide selection of Okinawan awamori (liquor) to try too. I would prefer to mix it in a glass with ice having 3 parts awamori to 7 parts water. Though, you can drink on the rocks or even substitute water for juices or even coffee.

Kanehide's liquor and awamori selection


Union storefront

Union is a local store that is open 24/7. They carry groceries, dairy products, alcoholic beverages, and snack foods.

Jasmine tea / Sanpin tea (sanpin-cha) at Union

Although their general pricing is very reasonable, when you shop for fruits there you should check the quality.

Union often offers huge discounts depending on the day, and we never miss getting some meat for our pup, @Marron, every Sunday.

Meat that we purchase for our Pup from Union

What we like about Union the most is, in their snack food section they have local's favorite traditional snacks. It depends on the chain but mochi, Okinawan doughnuts, Okinawan pound cake and more can be found.

Mochi and muchi that can be bought fresh from Union Traditional Okinawan snacks such as pound cake

Supermarkets do look the same in what they sell, however, it is very interesting if you take a deeper look at price, quality, and quantity.

Well, I hope this one helps you shop during your stay in Okinawa anyway and happy shopping!
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of Okinawa.Org.
About Author
Snow is the wife of @David, co-founder of Okinawa.Org, and a local national. She dedicates her time contributing posts about the Japanese language in the Language Corner forum as well as posts about Okinawan culture and other amazing things to do in Okinawa in the Okinawa blog.


Kanehide has turmeric tea (I forget what it is called in Japanese) which is hard to find in other stores.
Hello, Kanehide does have taumeric (ukon/ウコン) drinks that's why we would choose them when it comes to getting drinks.:)
But you also can find taumeric tea bags in other stores too!
This is such a great post!! I personally like san-a because of their fresher fish, but we do go to Union when we are low on budget. :p
I know this is an old post but rumor has it there might be another supermarket to add to this menu and some people say it will be next year but others say they haven't heard anything and i'm talking about COSTCO. From my point of view Okinawa desperately needs a COSTCO. According to JapanUpdate talks are in the works for a new store located in Itoman. Now this rumor was made in September of 2019. Okinawa supermarkets don't offer much in variety of foods and most are really expensive. A COSTCO is foods from all over the world as well as Japan but the prices are yes a little expensive but its also in bulk ( BIG SIZE). For example at Kanehide a package of 300 grams of hamburger meat goes for like 300 yen to 500 yen or higher depending on the type of meat like pork, or beef, or mixed. At COSTCO you can get like 1,000 grams or higher of the same meat for the price like 800 yen, just an average guess.
What i'm saying is compared to Japanese supermarkets the money you spend for 1 weeks worth of food which is a lot of money and that money you spent could have bought you 3 weeks worth of food from COSTCO. But i know for a fact that these Okinawa Supermarkets have been fighting COSTCO for years trying to stop them from coming into Okinawa just like Lawson and Family Mart tried to stop 7-Eleven and because these supermarkets fear COSTCO as they should because COSTCO is better value and better quantity of products for the money.
So has anyone heard any other rumors about COSTCO coming soon to Okinawa and what do you think about having a COSTCO on Okinawa?

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