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Okinawa Nightlife, Japan

Okinawa Nightlife –Japan’s Tropical Paradise

Located nearly 1000 miles southwest of Tokyo, Okinawa is part of Ryukyu, one of Japan’s four large archipelagos. Contrary to popular belief, Okinawa is not an island but a prefecture whose major island is Okinawa Island. The other smaller islands of the prefecture also have their attractions, but they don’t have much of a nightlife.

Nightlife in Okinawa City and of Naha, the island’s capital, is very lively and varied. This Okinawa Nightlife Guide will attempt to point out a few spots that are well worth a visit.

Okinawa Nightlife – Eating out

Okinawa’s food is quite different from the traditional Japanese food found on the main islands. The locals have somewhat dissociated themselves from the mainland Japan in terms of culture, language and cuisine. The most distinctive local creation is the taco rice, a dish of American inspiration, made of taco meat on top of boiled rice. The King Taco in Naha serves the best taco rice in Okinawa at reasonable prices. Another local specialty is the Okinawan Soba, a variation on the soba noodles found in other parts of Japan. Some good soba restaurants are Chiina Soba, Kishimoto and Banjutei; they serve delicious soba in a relaxed traditional atmosphere. Even sushi is a bit different in Okinawa. The types of sushi on the island are more suited to American and European palates than the traditional recipes. Yoshihachi in Chatan Town has a wide selection of ‘American rolls’, but prices are quite high compared to smaller restaurants.

Okinawa Nightlife – Clubs and Bars

When visiting Okinawa, you have to know that there are some nightclubs that do not welcome foreigners. There usually are signs posted at the entrance, so there’s not much chance of unwittingly wandering into a Japanese-only club. The most frequent reason is that the staff and patrons don not speak English, so tourists who can speaksome Japanese or are accompanied by local friends can talk their way into these clubs.

Many nightclubs in Okinawa city are specially designed with American clientele in mind, due to the proximity of the Kadena Military Base. The so-called rock-houses have great live music and a somewhat nostalgic atmosphere reminiscent of the 80’s and 90’s.

Regular Okinawan discos and nightclubs are usually large and elaborate, and some of them are famous even in Japan. During the summer months, the Naka no Machi district in Okinawa City is swarming with Japanese tourists from nearby mainland cities like Fukuoka. Other popular places are Smuggler’s Irish Pub and Rehab in Naha, NiCHE Martini Lounge in Chatan.

Whichever nightclub you choose, this Okinawa Nightlife Guide recommends that you try awamori, a unique Okinawan beverage distilled from rice, very strong but with a great flavour.

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