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A Surprising Slice of Japan

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In addition to secret beaches and unspoiled jungles, the Okinawan archipelago offers a culture distinct from mainland Japan’s. Explore ancient sites such as Shuri Castle, stop in American-style blue-jean shops, and sample dishes and drinks you won’t find anywhere else.
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2-2 Uehara, 竹富町 Taketomi-chō, Yaeyama-gun, Okinawa-ken 907-1541, Japan
Unlike Okinawa’s eponymous main island, Iriomote island is almost completely blanketed by jungle, rivers, and mountains. The balconies of the Nirakanai Iriomote hotel afford views of the rocky outcrops of Tsukigahama beach. From April through...
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388-5 Asato, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 902-0067, Japan
One of the most popular Okinawan dishes is goya champuru, a stir-fry of bitter gourd, tofu, eggs, and sliced pork (or Spam). Try it at Urizn, a local restaurant that has recently opened branches on the mainland. Its version of another traditional...
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Japan, 〒900-0034 沖縄県那覇市Higashimachi, 4, 東町4−6 東壱番館B1
Okinawan folk music is called Ryukyu minyo. The archipelago’s top minyo joint, Shimaumui, is owned by the islands’ most famous traditional singer, Misako Oshiro, who regales mostly elderly patrons in her basement bar. Her music often features...
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2 Chome-4-35 Mekaru, Naha-shi, Okinawa-ken 900-0004, Japan
Awamori—liquor fermented from long-grain Thai rice rather than the short-grain rice used in Japanese shochu—is the firewater of Okinawa. Salon de Awamori, a bar perched on a sleek wooden rooftop, features hundreds of bottles, including Sennen no...