The Central part of Okinawa Main Island is distinct for its wide variety of coexisting cultures, from traditional crafts and music to American culture, presenting a truly unique mixture for visitors to enjoy. For example, Yomitan is famous for its pottery, and there are many workshops creating unique pottery such Yomitan Tsuboya-style pottery, Yomitan Yama pottery, and Yomitan Yama pottery Kita Kiln. On the other hand, Koza/Uruma is heavily influenced by overseas cultures, and is home to a unique form of Okinawan music created by blending the essence of western-style music with traditional Okinawan folk music. Meanwhile, Chatan is reminiscent of the west coast of the U.S. and is crowded with people out shopping and eating while strolling among the shops.
Yomitan, with its distinctly pastoral scenes is known as “Yachimun no sato” (Village of Pottery, Yachimun means pottery in the Okinawan dialect), as many craftsmen own and manage pottery workshops here. An attractive feature of this area is the wide variety of pottery created in the workshops, including Yomitan Tsuboya-style pottery, Yomitan Yama pottery, and Yomitan Yama pottery Kita Kiln. You can really feel the warmth of the hand-made pottery as you make your way around the many galleries and cafes in close vicinity to the pottery workshops. In Cape Zampa, a famous spot for sunsets, there is a series of 30-meter-high-cliffs from where you can enjoy the remarkable contrast between the white lighthouse and the blue sea. There are also restaurants and a park for enjoying outdoor barbecues in the area.
Koza / Uruma
Okinawa City, near the gates of Kadena Air Base, which is a U.S. military base, is also known by the moniker of Koza, a reference to its former name. Great numbers of visitors from around the world, including many from the U.S., give it a very international city vibe, and has given birth to a kind of Champuru culture (Champuru means “mix” in the Okinawan dialect), a combination of Okinawan and overseas cultures coexisting together. Okinawan Pop, which fuses Okinawan folk music with various musical elements such as rock, Latin, and the blues, is representative of this Champuru culture. Uruma City, next to Okinawa City, has the longest Kaichu-doro (the Road Through the Sea) in East Asia. You will surely feel exhilarated when driving the 4.75km road over the sea.
Chatan with its fashionable shops is a popular area among young people. Mihama American Village and its American west coast theme, is the heart of shopping and entertainment in this area and has many casual clothing stores, Okinawan restaurants, and even has a 60m high Ferris wheel. You can easily spend an entire day in this area without running out of things to do. Notable are the live concerts at night beneath the romantic lights of the Ferris wheel. At Sunset Beach, adjacent to Mihama American Village, you can find many young people enjoying outdoor barbecues, families relaxing under the shadow of the trees, and people having a great time at the beach.