Okinawa, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 12:41PM
A Mix of Okinawan and American Culture
The central part of the Okinawa Main Island is a gleeful mix of Okinawan and American culture. Characterized by the highest concentration of American military facilities in Okinawa, the central part of the Main Island is unlike anywhere else in Japan- English signs, used U.S. military goods shops, drive-ins, and live music venues. This mix of culture is called "Chanpuru" in Okinawa.
The Waterfront Area at Chatan is popular with locals and visitors alike. The American Village at Mihama is notable for its Ferris wheel, and its range of Americana-themed restaurants and stores which are popular with Japanese and nostalgic Americans alike. There is also a movie theater there showing both Japanese and American movies. Sunset Beach, located right next to the American Village, is a westward facing beach known for its beautiful sunsets, hence the name, and is popular for barbecues in summer.
Vintage American Goods in Okinawa
Hambee Town is home to a weekend night market which is especially fun for visitors.
Chuo Park Avenue and Koza Gate-dori are popular for live music venues that play anything from old island songs to J-Pop to Top 40 songs.
Along with plenty of entertainment, Central Okinawa has an abundance of historical sites, like the Katsuren Castle ruins, part of the Castles of the Ryukyu Kingdom, and a UNESCO World Hertiage Site. The remains of Zakimi Castle are the perfect spot for viewing Naha Port from afar, and are also home to a local culture museum highlighting the traditions of the area. The ruins Nakagusuku Castle are extraordinarily well-preserved. These ruins are located next to the Nakamurake, or the Nakamura Residence, a traditional Okinawa-style residence with stone walls, red roofs, and lionesque stone guards to ward off evil.
Katsuren Castle Ruins
At Murasaki-mura, visitors can try karate, which originated in Okinawa, and traditional Okinawan dance and instruments.