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.
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.
Karuizawa is a resort town along the Hokuriku Shinkansen in Nagano prefecture. It is particularly popular among Tokyo residents who wish to escape the summer heat. It is a great place to eat at the many restaurants, cafes, and bakeries and to shop at the many fashion outlets located near the Shinkansen station.
I did not get the chance to go in the tower on this trip but our host kindly took us to a nice spot to see the tower itself after closing time. The place in question is in between the Fukuoka City Museum and the Momochi Central Park. The photos I took of this icon of Fukuoka turned out quite nice.
The street leading from Dazaifu train station to the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is lined with gift shops, cafes, ice cream stores and bakeries preparing the Umegae Mochi, which are treats made of sweet azuki bean filling wrapped in a layer of mochi. Some coupons exchangeable for Umegae Mochi were included in our train passes on our day trip to Dazaifu so we got to sample this delicacy which is famous in the region of Dazaifu while walking towards the shrine.
Kurashiki Bikan is a lovely historical district in the town of Kurashiki. The area is known for the historic canals that once served the important rice shipping business of the region. Many of the original storehouses of the Bikan area were preserved and now house trendy cafes, boutiques and restaurants. Nowadays the canals are used to carry tourists around in the traditional wooden boats and serve occasionally for wedding celebrations. The area also features the Ivy Square: the historical brick buildings that were part of the cotton mill are now hosting hotels restaurants, cafes and museums.
The island of Miyajima is most famous for the Itsukushima Shrine. Not too far north of the shrine is located the town’s commercial center where many restaurants and hotels are located. The sector features many stores selling Momiji Manjyu, a special pastry originating from the island. They come with various fillings inside a maple-shaped outer dough.
The island is also known for the World’s largest rice spoon, made from a single tree, which is located on the Omotesando shopping street. Smaller replicas are sold in the many gift shops on the island.
Downtown Miyajima also features a nicely landscaped waterfront beach offering a nice view of the city of Momiji on the opposite coast. Many deers that are accustomed to humans inhabit the sector and may be hungry for some tourist’s shirt. Be careful!