Enjoy Sanshin Live Performance! “Kiyama,” an Izakaya on the Main Street of Miyako Island


I visited “Kiyama,” an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) on Nishizato Street located in the downtown of Miyako Island (Miyakojima), with a friend visiting me from Tokyo. Kiyama is one of new izakayas recently opened in Miyako Island. In recent years, many restaurants or shops have been replaced with new ones on Nishizato Street maybe due to the increase of the number of tourists in Miyako Island.

"Kiyama" (outside)

“Kiyama” (outside)

"Kiyama" (inside)

“Kiyama” (inside)

You can enjoy sanshin (Okinawan traditional three-stringed instrument) and shimauta (Okinawan traditional folk music) live performances in Kiyama. I have rarely visited an izakaya in Miyako Island which provides live performances, as I usually have drinks at an izakaya quietly by myself. And it’s been a while to sit on a table (not on a counter).

They provide a sanshin live performance

They provide a sanshin live performance

I sat on a table with my friend, and first had an Orion draft beer (local beer in Okinawa) and “otoshi (an appetizer included in the service charge),” and “umibudo (seaweed called Caulerpa lentillifera),” which is one of my favorite cuisines in Okinawa. I felt I’m in Okinawa having these dishes and listening to Okinawan traditional folk songs in the background. I thought that maybe general tourists coming to Okinawa like this kind of atmosphere.

Orion draft beer and "otoshi (appetizer)"

Orion draft beer and “otoshi (appetizer)”

“Umibudo (Caulerpa lentillifera)”

“Umibudo (Caulerpa lentillifera)”

Next I ordered a tuna sashimi (raw fish). Every izakaya serves a good tuna in Miyako Island, a small island which is surrounded by the sea.

Tuna sashimi (raw fish)

Tuna sashimi (raw fish)

Next “goya champuru (bitter gourd fried with other ingredients, such as pork, eggs, tofu, and other vegetables)” and a fresh citrus depressa sour. I mostly ordered typical Okinawan dishes on this day as my friend from Tokyo visited Miyako Island for the first time.

 “Goya champuru (bitter gourd fried with other ingredients)"

“Goya champuru (bitter gourd fried with other ingredients)”

Fresh citrus depressa sour

Fresh citrus depressa sour

The dishes introduced above are common dishes served in most izakayas in Okinawa, but next I decided to try “tempura of urizun mame (winged bean) and Miyako zenmai (Nephrolepis biserrata),” which I found in the recommended menus of the day and was unfamiliar to me.

“Tempura of urizun mame (winged bean) and Miyako zenmai (Nephrolepis biserrata)”

Urizun mame (winged bean) is basically a perennial (a plant survives for multiple years), but it is an annual grass in Japan as it withers during winter in Japan (I wonder if it withers in Miyako Island too). Miyako zenmai (Nephrolepis biserrata) is a pteridophyte. The tempura was served with a Japanese dipping sauce.

The tempura was very nice (grasses and plants are my favorite ingredients for tempura) and was the most impressive among the dishes I had on the day.

Music played in the background went well with alcohol. I felt bit hungry, so at last I ordered “nabe panbin” for a snack. “Nabe” means “frying pan,” and “panbin” means “tempura.” It is similar to chijimi (Korean pancake) or okonomiyaki (pancake famous in Osaka).

“Nabe panbin”

“Nabe panbin”

Some customers abruptly went on the stage to join in the live performance, and some people were dancing to the music. Maybe some local people use this kind of izakaya as a nightclub (there is no night club in Miyako Island as far as I know).

I left the izakaya, filled with Okinawan dishes and feeling good with alcohol and music. I felt that the taste of the dishes of Kiyama are not so different from other common izakayas in Miyako Island (they were nice, though), but I recommend this izakaya if you want to enjoy traditional sanshin and shimauta live performances.

“Kiyama” location: 244 Hirara Nishizato, Miyakojima-shi