I heard that there is a lively old entertainment area in Naha City called “Sakaemachi Ichiba (market)” where local people gather, so I decided to visit there to feel the local atmosphere. The nearest station of Sakaemachi Ichiba is Asato Station of Yui Rail (Okinawa Urban Monorail).
I took Yui Rail from Miebashi Station near my hotel, passed through Makishi Station which is close to Kokusai-dori (International Street), and got off the next Asato Station.
It takes several minutes on foot from Asato Station to Sakaemachi Ichiba. I walked in the dark night of Sakaemachi for a while, and found one of the entrances to the market.
In Sakaemachi Ichiba, various shops, bars or stalls are lined up in the narrow alleys where you can feel the atmosphere of Showa period (old Japan). It made me feel as if I was in a Southeast Asian country or in the old downtown of Osaka.
At bars or stalls, local people enjoyed drinking, shoulder to shoulder. I thought of having a drink in the market before having a dinner at an izakaya near the market which I had found in a guide book and planned to go, but most people drinking in the market were quite older than me, and I hesitated to join them.
I ended up not having a drink in Sakaemachi Ichiba. After strolling around the market, I headed to “Arakoya,” an izakaya which is famous for “motsuyaki (grilled offal)” and is located in the walking distance from the market.
The guidebook says that Arakoya is quite popular among locals and tourists as well, and the seats will be occupied soon after the opening, but I visited Arakoya in the early evening on a weekday, so when I entered there were few customers, and luckily I was able to sit on the edge of the counter.
Of course, the recommended menus of Arakoya is motsuyaki (grilled offal). They use various pig organ meats, and some of their names were rare and I had never heard of them before. Customers can order motsuyaki from a piece (a stick), and they all had chewy texture and were delicious. Though I forgot which photo is which part, I will list some photos of motsuyaki (grilled offal) for your reference.
I rarely eat motsuyaki (grilled offal) in my daily life, and I didn’t imagine that grilled pig organ meats were so delicious.
There were many local business and young people in Arakoya. People who had just finished their work came in one after another while I was eating, and soon all the seats (and the standing space on the edge) were occupied by customers.
They have normal izakaya food menus as well, but I became hooked on motsuyaki (grilled offal), and tried most of the motsuyaki listed in the menu. In the end, I felt like eating carbohydrates and ordered a salt fried Okinawa soba noodle. Each motsuyaki is cheap (around 100 to 200 yen), and the check was quite reasonable.
I left Sakaemachi, satisfied with motsuyaki and the lively local atmosphere at night.
Arakoya location: 388-10 Asato, Naha-shi