Kids Web Japan

Okinawa: Okinawa Soba

Okinawa soba topped with braised pork belly and fried fish cake

Tropical Food of Okinawa

Okinawa Prefecture is the most southern prefecture of Japan, and is made up of numerous islands. Being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, people from all over Japan visit to enjoy diving, relaxing, and more in the year-round warm climate.

Hibiscus and other tropical plants can be seen all over the islands.

Clear blue skies stretch over the white sandy beaches and azure ocean of Okinawa.

Okinawa is also known for its distinctive food culture, which blends tropical influences with Japanese cuisine. Central to Okinawa cooking is a delicious stock made from pork, kombu seaweed, and bonito flakes. This rich flavor is what makes well-balanced and nutritious Okinawa favorites like goya champuru, a stir-fry of egg, tofu, and bitter melon, and the carrot-crammed ninjin shirishiri so tasty. And it is what makes Okinawa soba so uniquely appetizing.

Okinawa Soba Originals

Okinawa soba noodles are firm and thick, and served in a soup with a strong bonito flake flavor. Okinawa soba often comes with a meat topping like sanmainiku (soy-sauce braised pork belly), or soki (pork ribs).

The meat is sweet, tender, and melt-in-the-mouth delicious. The strong, rich flavors are a perfect match for the more delicately seasoned soup.

Deep-fried kamaboko (fish cake) is traditional to Okinawa.

Some Okinawa soba dishes use tofu, aosa seaweed, and other local ingredients for the toppings.

The islands of Okinawa, from the main island to Miyakojima and Ishigakijima Island, each have their own distinct food culture, and version of Okinawa soba. While the flavor of the soup or the thickness of the noodles can differ from island to island, the local love for this dish is the same wherever you visit.

Old-time Okinawa Vibe

Okinawa is not just about blue seas and white sandy beaches. The old stone walls and red-tiled roofs of the villages, with the occasional ox cart passing through, are picture postcard perfect, and the ideal backdrop to experience authentic Okinawa soba.

Some restaurants are built into converted traditional Okinawan houses. Designed with the tropics in mind, they let in refreshing breezes, keeping you nice and cool while you dig into a delicious bowl of hot Okinawa soba.

Traditional Okinawan houses are one-story high and can be opened up to let the cool air in.

Many old houses have Shisa (lion) statues on the roofs and gates to ward off evil.