On the side of Kokusai Dori in Naha, not too far from the fish market, is located an interesting shopping arcade filled with souvenir shops and restaurants. It is a really nice place to find good quality food that is perhaps more authentic and less commercial than what can be found directly on Kokusai Dori. You can definitely see more locals eating in that region.
The Naha fish market is located not too far from Kokusai Dori. At the market, many vendors display freshly caught seafood from Okinawa’s tropical waters. Colorful fish, shrimps and lobsters are on display. Not so practical to bring a fresh catch to your hotel room? One can buy the fish and it is prepared in the form of sashimi to be consumed on site. The market’s second floor hosts several affordable restaurants that serve Okinawa’s traditional food.
Kukusai Dori in Naha, which literally means international street, features many gift shops and restaurants. It is a great place to spend the evening while visiting Okinawa’s capital. Some gifts that are particularly famous in Okinawa include the famed locally-brewed Orion beer, many types of pork products, and Awamori, a local alcohol. For the more daring, Habushu (or Snake Sake) is an alcohol made from Awamori and snakes. Habushu bottles usually feature a curled-up snake at the bottom.
Amateurs of Japanese trains will be satisfied at the SCMaglev and Railway Park, a museum dedicated to Japanese trains. The museum features historical and modern locomotives including a good selection of Shinkansen express trains and the new Maglev currently being developed. An impressive train diorama and train simulators are also popular attractions. Lucky winners of a lottery can test their driving skills in the Shinkansen simulator.
The Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum, located nearby Zenko-ji temple, stages art exhibit from artists of Nagano prefecture. An annex of the museum, the Higashiyama Kaii Gallery, features artworks from Higashiyama Kaii depicting the beautiful scenery of Nagano prefecture (some examples here). Taking photos of the artwork is prohibited, but there was no issues with taking photos of the museum’s modern architecture.
Gassho Mura (Village) is a touristic attraction in Gero which features traditional Japanese farmhouses that were moved to Gero and preserved as a museum, recreating a typical mountain village of the old days. The Gassho houses feature a steep triangular roof made of dried vegetation. In addition to the traditional Japanese farmhouse, the village also features beautiful gardens.
The Ogawaya onsen hotel is conveniently located in the famous hot spring town of Gero. Only a few minutes walk from the train station, the hotel features spacious bedrooms and both indoor and outdoor baths with a great view of Hida river. The room we were given was especially large and very well maintained. As with all Japanese ryokans, comfortable futons were laid on the tatami mats for us during dinner. A seating area in front of the window offered an especially great nighttime view of Gero.