Sightseeing What To Expect On A Trip To Kokusai Street

There have been a lot of new places built for tourists in Okinawa lately. However, I believe Kokusai Street (Kokusai Dori; International Street) is the first thing that most tourists tend to visit while here.

So, I thought I would give some useful information on the exciting tourist destinations today.

Kokusai Street is located within a 10-minute drive from Naha Airport and stretches roughly 2 kilometers.

If you are driving, paid parking lots are plentiful and located around the area but the fee varies from place to place, so driving around a bit to find a cheaper one might be a good idea if you're visiting on a budget.

If you choose to use the monorail, there are two stations at both ends of Kokusai Street. One of which is Kumoji Station which is connected to a shopping mall, Palette Kumoji, and the other is Makishi Station.

Kumoji Station - The first monorail station located on the most southern end of Kokusai Street Makishi Station - The last station located on the most northern end of Kokusai Street

I prefer to get off at Kumoji Station as many stores are lined on the street. Additionally, it's so lively that you might be more excited to stay in the area longer.

Kokusai Dori is a long street lined with various businesses such as Okinawan souvenir shops; clothing stores; restaurants and cafes; and even bars and clubs past sundown. So when you go, make sure to have plenty of time to spend there!

This intersection somewhat marks the center of Kokusai Street and is recognized by the Starbucks on the corner

Although many tourists tend to stay on the main street, many locals will branch off to the smaller streets that tend to look like alleyways at some points.

Wonder what you can find on those small side streets?

A LOT OF GREAT STUFF!

Looking to try some local traditional snacks during your stay? Then these small streets are a must to have a look down!

Heiwa Dori - A famous street to find mostly souvenir vendors, but, there are snack vendors Ichiba Hondori - A street filled with many snack vendors

Here are snacks that you can find on these streets to give you an idea of which ones you might want to look for. I’d personally recommend getting as many as you can because each one is sold at a reasonable price, and, is delicious.

Street vendor selling delicious Okinawan snacks Okinawan snacks for sale at a street vendor off of Kokusai Street

Chinbin
Chinbin is Okinawan crape made from flour that has a brown sugar flavor while being a little bit soft with a chewy texture. In the local culture, Chinbin is made in hopes of the wellbeing of children's health on May 4th by the lunar calendar.

As a matter of fact, it is so easy to make at home so why not consider to purchase a bag of Chinbin powder from a store too!

Chinbin powder which can be bought at many street vendors or at local supermarkets

Muuchii
Typically, muuchi has plenty of flavors wrapped in a shell flower's leaf, which can be brown sugar-flavored, beni-imo flavored or just simple sugar flavored.

Okinawan children love muuchi so much as often they make their own in the kindergarten.

However, mochi is very sticky so you need to be careful when giving it to small children or the elderly as it can be a choking hazard!

Muuchii / mochi for sale off of Kokusai Street at a vendor

Konpen
If you love peanut like snacks, this is exactly what you should get! Konpen is an ancient traditional snack with a long history and was used to be offered to the Ryukyu Kingdom's King. The peanut and sesame paste inside gives it an elegant and enjoyable flavor.

Konpen - a peanut-like snack sold at vendors down the side streets of Kokusai Dori

Lemon Cake
I never fail to grab some of these cakes whenever I find them in a store. If you ever run across these, pick some up as you will absolutely love them!

Lemon cakes found at vendors off of Kokusai Dori

Machigai
I know from its shape, some people might wonder how it's supposed to be eaten. To be honest, I am not quite sure, but I do remember just breaking it in pieces or just biting it from any angle to eat.

Machigai - Can be found at street vendors off of Kokusai Street

As you can see from its figure, the snack has a meaning which is "tied" and "connected". Machigai has been used at Okinawan engagement ceremonies as an essential item. Also, this sesame topped on the surface has a local meaning which is the hope of having a larger family.

Despite the crunchy look, the texture is soft.

Kogashi
It's made from sticky rice which gives it a very interesting texture, which I recently bought and enjoyed eating them all up! It is often seen at many Okinawan occasional events such as Obon and Shimi.

Kogashi - Found at many street vendors on the side streets of Kokusai Dori

Kogashi is made in many shapes including fish, fruits, and flowers.

Pineapple on a Stick
When it is kind of hard to figure out how to put a knife into a whole pineapple to dice, without cutting yourself, this would be the best way to enjoy Okinawan pineapple!

Pineapple cubes sold on a stick at a street vendor off of Kokusai Street

Kokusai is a street packed with so much fun for everybody. I hope after reading this that you will discover something new to do with your time in Okinawa!

Pottery shisa that can be picked up from many of the souvenir shops off of Kokusai Street Pineapple snacks, usually sold in many places around Okinawa, but are prevalent at vendors on Kokusai Street A street vendor display down a side street of Kokusai Dori
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of Okinawa.Org.
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About Author
Snow
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.

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I love the vendor in the picture and usually I get a couple of the snacks there. I don't think they take cards so don't forget to bring some cash!
 
Some 40 years ago if I remember right, the street was filled mostly with clothing stores and some restaurants . Maybe a few Okinawan souvenir stores. It was a place where lots of GI's would go on the weekends. It was really a laid back place back then. It was mostly an open air market with the canopy over it. Nice write-up on it. Thanks.
This corona virus really did my travels in this summer.
 

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