Tired of eating ramen, sushi, and bento lunch boxes every night? Then worry not, because you are able to get Okinawan food in Tokyo to spice up your meal rotation. If you’re on a budget and aren’t able to travel to the sunny and tropical beaches of Okinawa, make sure to visit these restaurants to satiate your appetite for the southern delicacies of Okinawa.
Okinawa is the southernmost prefecture of Japan, with a cuisine that has been influenced by Mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan to create cultural and culinary delicacies that are unique to the island. Okinawan food is also known as Ryukyuan cuisine after Okinawa’s Ryukyu Kingdom was unified in Okinawa in 1429. Dishes filled with vegetables, fruits, and pork abound in Okinawan cuisine. It’s also known as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, responsible for the long-living centenarians of Okinawa. Strapped for cash and can’t visit Okinawa? Then check out these Okinawan restaurants in Tokyo, they’re sure to hit the spot!
Okinawan Restaurants in Tokyo
1. Okinawa Paradise
Okinawa Paradise in Shinjuku is known for its fun and friendly atmosphere. Located in the red-light district of Kabukicho, this izakaya abound with Okinawan dishes such as Rafute Pork, Umi Budou (Ocean Grapes), and Okinawan Tofu. Paired with their nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink) option, the combination of Okinawan food and beer will ensure a good time. The owner, Shingo Tamaki, is known to play the sanshin (a traditional three-stringed banjo from Okinawa) every night and lead sing-alongs in the bar.
2. Akasaka Tantei
Costing a bit more than your average Tokyo eatery, Akasaka Tantei takes a different approach to Okinawan food than the rest of the Okinawan restaurants on this list. Featured on the Michelin Guide for 7 years in a row, Akasaka Tantei is home to unique dishes that blend traditional Japanese dishes and Okinawan cuisine, making for delicacies that are sure to please. Using only produce straight from Okinawa, and with options for dining in a private room, this Michelin-starred Okinawan restaurant in Tokyo is a great option for someone who craves island flavors in an upscale but relaxed environment.
If you’re looking for Okinawan restaurant in Tokyo that fits your budget, then check out Miyarabi in Ikebukuro. Just a 4-minute walk away from Ikebukuro Station, this Okinawan restaurant has specializes in Ryukyuan cuisine with tofu dishes such as sukugarasu tofu (salted fish served atop fresh tofu) and tofuyo (a fermented Okinawan food). If you happen to be there on a Monday, Thursday, or Friday, then you will see a traditional Okinawan dance performance.
Taketomijima is named after one of the most beautiful of Okinawa’s islands. It would be easy to overlook this hole-in-the-wall restaurant as you explore the streets of Ginza. However, if you happen to find this hidden gem, then make sure to order their sashimi, made from fish imported from Okinawa. Don’t forget to pair that sashimi with Okinawa’s awamori, an alcoholic beverage that is unique to the shores of Okinawa made from rice. The traditional Okinawan food combined with the scenes of Okinawa being projected onto the walls will make you feel as if you have been transported there.
If you’re ever in the mood for Okinawan food in Tokyo, try some delicacies of the southernmost island of Japan at one of these Okinawan restaurants in Tokyo. Eat like an Okinawan, and maybe you’ll find yourself living to 100 years, as well!