Okinawa is renowned for having a unique culture that’s distinct from Mainland Japan, and that includes their food. Luckily for plant-based travelers, lots of Okinawa’s famous ingredients are vegan-friendly, from vibrant purple sweet potatoes (紅芋) and goya (bitter melon) to jimami (peanut) tofu and mozuku seaweed.
Here are three fantastic restaurants on Okinawa’s main island that all veggie/vegan visitors should check out during their stay!
UKISHIMA GARDEN is situated in the heart of Naha, just a stone’s throw from the famous Kokusaidori. It’s the perfect restaurant to visit if you’re interested in trying some Okinawan specialties, as it prides itself on using local vegetables and grains.
The menu is entirely vegan, with a range of a la carte options as well as five- and seven-course set dinner menus. The food here is a little on the pricey side, but well worth it. All the dishes are seasoned perfectly and presented beautifully – and of course taste amazing! The veggie taco rice is a great vegan twist on a local classic, and the millet carbonara is a delicate Japanese take on the Italian version. You can also choose from a selection of organic wines to accompany your meal.
Opening hours: lunch – 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM, dinner – 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Closed on Thursdays
ROCKERS CAFE is a funky bar and restaurant that also sometimes hosts live music events. It serves a mixture of vegan, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian food, to create a space where vegans, veggies, and meat-eaters can all enjoy a meal together without anyone feeling like it’s a compromise.
Most items on the menu offer the choice between a vegan and non-vegan version, but it’s definitely not the case that the vegan version has just had the meat taken out. ROCKERS has clearly put a lot of thought into the meals it offers its vegan patrons. Dishes include burgers, taco rice, burritos, and sandwiches, plus there’s a great selection of cakes and cookies for dessert. Portion sizes are generous, prices are reasonable, and the food is absolutely delicious.
If the weather is good, take a seat on the terrace at the back to enjoy an ocean view with your meal!
Opening hours: 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM (11:30 AM to 12:00 AM on Saturdays)
Closed on Wednesdays
Tami’s Vegan Cafe is located in the heart of American Village, just next to the iconic Ferris wheel. They have a lovely outdoor terrace area where dog owners can sit with their four-legged friends.
Another fully vegan establishment, Tami’s also offers a range of gluten-free meals. The menu includes a selection of burgers, pasta dishes, and a daily lunch plate consisting of a number of small side dishes – perfect for those who can’t make up their minds! You can choose from a variety of cakes for dessert, or opt for their popular soft serve ice cream slathered in delicious chocolate sauce. All the food here is reasonably priced and full of flavor, so make sure you stop by!
Opening hours: weekdays – 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, weekends – 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Closed on Tuesdays
Okinawa is a fantastic location for vegans, and these are just a few ideas to get you started. As an added bonus, Okinawa’s famous Blue Seal ice cream brand has three flavors of vegan-friendly sorbet: passionfruit, mango, and pineapple. Enjoy your vegan travels on this gorgeous island!