Okinawa, Japan 15: Kokusai-Dori
Written & Directed by James Knott
If you do not see a video box here, then this video can be seen on YouTube.
Take a walk with James Knott down the most famous street in Southern Japan - Kokusai-Dori (International Street). "The Miracle Mile" is full of energy and several times a year you can experience parades and festivals. Enjoy the great shops and restaurants and pick up a few souveniors like Shisa dogs, Awamori and Goya-themed trinkets.
Okinawa is Japan's southernmost prefecture. Over 1.25 million people are scattered across nearly 150 islands.
Okinawa has a unique culture that goes back several hundred years to when it was an independent country known as the Ryukyu Kingdom. This kingdom was known to trade frequently with China and as a result adopted much more from the Chinese than the rest of Japan.
The main island, Okinawa-honto, is surrounded by vivid, bright blue ocean and coral reefs. It is densely populated and urbanized in the south, while the the mountainous northern part of the island consists of just a few fishing villages and dense forests.
The beautiful, sub-tropical setting combined with historical roots that are more intertwined with China than Japan, have created a wonderful culture that is distinctly Okinawan.
Okinawa, Japan 15: Kokusai-Dori
Without a doubt, the most famous street in southern japan is Kokusai-Dori.
"I'm currently on Kokusai-Dori. whether you're interested in eating,
shopping or going out, this street has it all. This is the main drag for
tourists and Okinawans alike."
Kokusai-Dori means "International Street" and cuts through the heart of
central Naha. It got its start when the widows of WW2 began setting up
small shops to sell handmade goods, fruits and vegetables.
Today, this mile long strip of shops and restaurants sometimes called "The
Miracle Mile" - is a top tourist destination, as well as a hub of okinawan
On a daily basis thousands of okinawans come here to take care of their
day-to-day business. Surrounded by the constant buzz of traffic -
pedestrians - and colorful signs and statues.
Several times a year, the street is shut down for festivals and parades and
people from around the island show up to celebrate.
If you are looking for something to eat, then there are options for many
different cuisines and price ranges. There are even a couple of options for
people who miss their fast food and French vanilla lattes.
For visitors, there are no shortage of souvenior shops selling all sorts of
Okinawan goodies like shisa dogs and the island's famous distilled rice
liquor - awamori.
One tip, you can buy the same awamori at a local carryout for a fraction of
Although you could spend an entire day just walking through the cheesy
souvenior shops like here - and here - and here there are many other cool
places to shop like the famous Mitsukoshi department store and other
shops that sell traditional okinawan goods like the three-stringed Okinawan
I, for instance, was able to find several cool pieces of pottery while
shopping on Kokusai-Dori.
The street does not shut down at sundown, and for the night owls, there are a
variety of clubs available and hotels to crash in.
Overall, I'd recommend stopping here at least once to soak up the vibe.
Plus, It's a great starting point for exploring several other places in