Okinawan restaurants
!Ikebukuro -- Miyarabi. 3971-5061, 5396-4866
This is Okinawan food as haute cuisine, with a good number of special Royal-style dishes in addition to the usual champuru stir-fries. Recommended dishes are the minudaru (tender roast pork with a sesame-based sauce), the rather lean rafti (braised pork), the Okinawan soba and the excellent peanut tofu. There's a short nightly performance of Okinawan dance at 8:30. Prices are a bit higher than the typical Okinawan izakaya; budget around Y6000 for dinner and drinks.
mapToshima-ku, Ikebukuro 2-45-1, Ark City Ikebukuro B1F. Open 5:30-10:45pm (LO). Closed Sundays, holidays.
Hiroo -- Hanauta. 5791-2524
A wide range of Okinawan standards and unusual original dishes (like aloe sashimi), plus plenty of awamori.
lateSunmapShibuya-ku, Hiroo 5-17-6, Kawakami Bldg. B1F. (Walk west from Hiroobashi and turn left on the second corner (before Homework's); Hanuta is on the right after 1 min.) Open 6pm-3am daily.
Roppongi -- Shimauta Rakuen. 3470-2310
A small Roppongi izakaya with Okinawan-style food and frequent live musical performances. There's a nominal music charge (Y1,000 or so) when there's a show.
mapMinato-ku, Roppongi 7-14-10, 4F. (near Roppongi crossing on Gaien-Higashi-dori) Open 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Ginza -- Champuruya. 5524-2163
Good Okinawan standards and a lively atmosphere are the draws at this Ginza basement izakaya. The extensive menu includes Okinawan tempura (pork, goya, pickled konbu seaweed), hirayachi (Okinawan okonomiyaki), and stir-fried pig's ears. At lunchtime you can order teishoku sets featuring Okinawan soba and champuru stir-fries (Y800). Budget around Y3500 at dinnertime. Unlike many izakaya of its type, Champuruya provides a non-smoking section.
SunmapChuo-ku, Ginza 3-4-16, Ginza Sunny Bldg B1F. Open 11:30am-3, 5-11pm (LO) daily.
Higashi-Ginza -- Awamori. 3543-9256
150 different kinds of awamori (Okinawan brandy) are on the menu here! There's a fairly standard Okinawan food menu to go with your drinks.
mapChuo-ku, Ginza 7-17-18. Open 5:30-11:30pm. Closed Sundays.
!Yaesu -- Ryutan. 3201-2030
This stylish space is decorated in a rustic island motif, with stone floors and walls and polished wooden latticework. The food is quite tasty and authentic, with plenty of daily specials supplementing the usual Okinawan standards like rafti (pork stew), goya champuru (stir-fry), Okinawan soba and taco fried rice. Lunch teishoku starts at Y980; budget around Y2000-3000 in the evening for ample food.
SunmapChiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-9-1, Kurobei Yokocho (B1F). Open 11am-11pm daily.
Kojimachi -- Kuro Usagi. 3263-2188
The "black rabbit" is a lively after-work pub serving tasty Okinawan food and drink (especially their stir-fry dishes). Prices run around Y500-700 for small dishes. Lunch ranges from Y680-Y1100 and includes unusual dishes like goya-champuru curry.
mapChiyoda-ku, Kojimachi 4-8, B1F. Open 11am-2:30, 5:30-10pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Ichigaya -- Miyarabi. 3261-3453
Miyarabi, which first opened here in 1957, serves some interesting, original variations on traditional Okinawan cuisine - dishes like stir-fried pork and papaya kimchee; goya with mentaiko, yuzu kamaboko, and usual tempura-fried items like Spam and seaweed. Budget around Y5000 for dinner and drinks.
mapChiyoda-ku, Kudan-Minami 3-4-3. Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-10pm (LO). Closed weekends.
Iidabashi -- Shima. 3261-0206
A small, down-to-earth place with authentic food and cheap prices. The menu features nice, ungreasy stir-fried champuru dishes, several varieties of Okinawan soba and assorted snacks to go with your awamori. Seating is on rickety stools at tiny tables.
mapChiyoda-ku, Fujimi 2-4-7. (To get there, exit Iidabashi station's west exit and turn left, walk past the police box and Denny's, turn left on the corner just past Denny's, and walk 50 meters, just past the next side street.) Open 11:30am-1:40, 5-10:30pm. Closed Sundays.
!Koenji -- Dachibin. 3337-1352
A large, lively izakaya that occasionally hosts performances of Okinawan musicians. There's a long counter and big tatami mat area - both usually packed. The staff wear Okinawan costumes, there's non-stop Okinawan music in the air, and the counter is decorated with cans of Spam, taco sauce, and other Okinawan delicacies. The food is wonderful and fairly cheap - highlights include their goya champuru, goat soup, and the papaya pickled in miso. The drinks menu includes original awamori cocktails and Okinawan microbrew beer.
lateSunmapSuginami-ku, Koenji-Kita 3-2-13. (located along the shopping street on the north side of the station) Open 5pm-5am daily.
Kichijoji -- Ryukyu. 0422-21-6015
Mainly a place to drop in for an after-work drink of Okinawan awamori, they also have a full menu. The Okinawan soba is made from nice, roughly cut noodles and served in a peppery soup along with tasty stir-fried vegetables. Some of the other dishes can be a bit oily. The interior could best be described as "tropical kitsch," featuring seashell lamps and seashell beaded curtains.
SunmapMusashino-shi, Kichijoji Honcho 1-29-5, Sun Square 1F. (on a side street a few blocks behind Yodobashi Camera) Open 5pm-midnight daily.
Nishi-Shinjuku 5-chome -- Moremore. 5354-5052
A lively late-night drinking spot with down-to-earth Okinawan fare at very reasonable prices; budget around Y2500 for food and drinks in the evening, or Y500 for lunch. They also serve Blue Seal ice cream.
lateSunmapShinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 4-3-11. Open noon-3am (LO) daily.
Shimo-Kitazawa -- Champrouse. 3413-6489
A three-story Okinawan restaurant - the first floor has a noodle-shop atmosphere, with inexpensive Okinawan soba. The second floor is more of a nomiya, with some 50 different types of awamori; while the third floor is more of a Western-style bar. The same food menu is available throughout, with nicely prepared Okinawan standards.
lateSunmapSetagaya-ku, Daizawa 5-32-7. Open 6pm-1am. Closed Mondays.
Kawasaki -- Gachimaya. 044-230-1235
An Okinawan-style izakaya. No lunch on weekends.
SunmapKawasaki-ku, Kawasaki, Ekimae Honcho 12-1, Kawasaki Ekimae Tower Riverk B1F. Open 11:30am-1:30, 5-11pm daily.
Yokohama Kannai -- Gachimaya. 045-264-1244
This popular Okinawan spot has an extensive menu of standard Okinawan dishes and a large bar, with awamori and tropical cocktails. Some outdoor seating, facing the park.
SunmapNaka-ku, Yokohama, Horaicho 2-5-1. (on the north side of Ohdori Park, about 2 1/2 blocks from the JR station) Open 11:30am-1:30, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.