Fun things to do in Okinawa
Goya Day isn't necessarily a holiday in Okinawa. However, it's the recognition of a traditional fruit grown in Okinawa, goya. While being classified as such, most outside of Asian countries wouldn't believe so as it is bitter in taste; it's known more widely around the world as bitter melon.

Goya is a staple of many Okinawan dishes as you can cook—or even order—a lot of traditional foods prepared with it. The most popular that you'll find on a menu is goya chanpuru. Though, it can be found battered, fried, and sold in tempura shops or sections around the island as well. Some even throw it in their pasta!

Goya can be served in just about every dish, to include pasta too!

There are many varieties of goya, from the Chinese to Indian. However, the goya grown in Okinawa closely resembles the Indian variety in shape, color, and size, being long, green, sometimes with a curve of a banana with a rough texture.

Pictured below is how large they can get as it can be seen next to a number 2 pencil.

A long straight goya pictured next to a #2 pencil
Do you know where to buy one this large?

Goya is one of the healthiest foods that you can include in any dish as it is chopped full of multiple vitamins and minerals.

There is 40% a daily serving of Vitamin C within goya. It also packs 8% of Zinc which is important for those looking for a good night's sleep. It's also said to help with fatigue and heat exhaustion—which you'll get plenty of in Okinawa's summers. Goya can also reduce blood sugar and cholesterol in the body, if you can get past the bitterness, too!

Goya Day, albeit it not a traditional holiday and not recognized by many, comes every year in Okinawa on May 8th as numbers, too, are important in Japan; go meaning five and ya for yattsu (when counting in Japanese: 1, 2, 3…).
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of Okinawa.Org.
  • Like
Reactions: local-mom
About Author
David is the Founder of Okinawa.Org. When he's not busy with business and administrative dealings on the site, he's out looking for the smallest things in the largest areas that may be overlooked by many.


While I was at one of the beaches on Senaga Island tonight, I thought that this was a close likeness of those that are huge Star Wars fans that always post on May 4th (Star Wars Day).

Star Wars Day: May the Fourth Be With You
Star Wars Day: May the Fourth Be With You

Except, you shouldn't only celebrate Goya Day on May 8th; it should be "celebrated" all year round with many meals planned with goya in it, whether it be mixed with the main course or eaten as a side dish. Goya is very healthy and it might just be the reason why there are so many Centennials (people 100 and older) living here in Okinawa.

Sign In or Sign Up

Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Create an Account

Article Information

Last Update

More in Eat

More from David

Share This Article