Enjoy affordable fresh seafood in Okinawa!
A short 15-minute drive from Okinawa’s Naha Airport, you’ll find Michi-no-Eki Itoman, one of Japan’s top-rated Michi-no-Eki, or roadside rest areas. It’s famous for its farmer’s market, Umanchu Ichiba, which is stocked full of fresh local produce every morning, and also for its Itoman Local Products Center Yukura, which is the perfect place to load up on souvenirs. Make sure you arrive hungry, however, as you won’t want to miss out on all the mouth-watering fresh seafood beckoning you to eat your fill at the Fish Market around back.
Don't let its appearance fool you; hidden inside this big ol' warehouse is over 10 individual fresh seafood stands, processed seafood product stands, and even those selling delectable ready-to-eat dishes.
The Fish Market is as its name suggests, a hub of storefronts selling an impressive variety of the freshest, the rarest, the most colourful, and the most delicious locally caught seafood. It’s truly a feast for the eyes—and if you’ve left some room, for the stomach as well!
While they’re prepared to cut and clean any fish you purchase, there are also more convenient options if you’re too excited to wait: row upon row of fresh sashimi, sushi, sashimi rice bowls, and other ready-to-eat dishes (such as grilled shellfish and prawns). I particularly recommend the sashimi, which is cut into perfect single servings so you can pick and choose what you want to try with ease.
Priced beyond reasonable, at 250~500 yen a piece, you can try whatever you so desire with little hesitation. You’ll even find a small seating area loaded with everything you might need: soy sauce, wasabi, sauce, disposable dishes, and chopsticks. Sit and relax while you savor every bite of delicious seafood goodness.
Here's an example of what you might sit down with. Oh, the extravagance!
Without getting lost in the sea of sashimi spread before you, be sure to seek out the locally caught tuna. Itoman City, which boasts a long history as a fishing port, is where you can try bigeye tuna and albacore tuna for practically peanuts!
Costing you only a small fraction of what you’d pay in Tokyo or Osaka, you can indulge in these thickly cut fatty slices of sashimi for a mere 300 yen! Exceptional flavour with a texture so tender it will melt in your mouth instantaneously. The taste is unparalleled.
Raw oysters on the half shell are another popular choice on offer; choose from giant to bite-sized depending on your preference. Prices range from only 200~300 yen each.
If you're looking for something new to try, how about a grilled scallop with sea urchin sauce? It only takes one of these tender scallops coated with sweet, bubbling sauce to leave your taste buds in a state of bliss. Or perhaps a 250 yen grilled horned turban shell from next door is more to your liking? Whatever your preference, there is a wide variety of ready-to-eat dishes for you to choose from!
And finally, you might want to try a “bomb rice ball” before you go. Unlike your average rice ball, this local favourite packs a punch! Seasoned rice, hard-boiled eggs, etc., are stuffed into a processed fish casing and deep-fried to perfection. An explosion of flavour you just have to try at least once.
Whether you're looking for a quick bite to eat or to stuff yourself to the brim, Michi-no-Eki Itoman's Fish Market awaits you. Come and indulge yourself!
【Michi-no-Eki Itoman - Fish Market】
Address:4-19 Nishizaki-cho, Itoman City, Okinawa
Access:A short 15-minute drive from Okinawa’s Naha Airport
Closed:No scheduled holidays (May vary by shop)
Birth place: Osaka Prefecture