A Guide to the Best Cafés in Okinawa

Read on to discover the best coffeeshops in Okinawa, outside of Naha, where you can enjoy your cuppa with a side of warm weather and ocean views
Read on to discover the best coffeeshops in Okinawa, outside of Naha, where you can enjoy your cuppa with a side of warm weather and ocean views | © d3sign / Getty Images
Ashley Owen

Okinawa’s laidback beach atmosphere perfectly lends itself to café culture, and there’s no shortage of cute coffee shops and seaside eateries to chill out in on the island. Here are eight of the best.

Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture, a subtropical island paradise of sun, sand and surf. Its culture is distinct from that of mainland Japan thanks to its history as the independent Ryukyu Kingdom. You can see influence from China and other Asian countries across the islands, as well as America due to the presence of US military bases post WWII.

This unique heritage extends to Okinawa’s food and drink scene, and the use of locally grown, seasonal ingredients is really popular. Add in the year-round warm weather, gorgeous beaches and ocean views, and you’ve got everything you need for a thriving café culture that’s a joy to explore. Here are Culture Trip’s top recommendations for cafés to visit on the main Okinawa island.

Okinawa is home to a thriving coffee and café scene
Yamada Coffee Okinawa is an achingly trendy coffeeshop tucked away in Ginowan

2. Tuck into iconic ice cream at Blue Seal Makiminato

Cafe, Dessert Shop, Ice Cream Parlour, Dessert

A visit to a Blue Seal ice cream parlour is an absolute must on any trip to Okinawa. The brand was originally created for American soldiers stationed on the island – and its decor and red vinyl booths still scream vintage America – but its popularity has since spread across the whole country. They offer a huge array of flavours, from classics like chocolate and strawberry to local specialities such as Ryukyu Royal Milk Tea, Blue Wave, Beni-Imo (purple sweet potato) and Shiiquasa Sherbet (made from a local citrus fruit). You can also enjoy parfaits, sundaes, crepes and other ice cream-laden sweet treats, all at reasonable prices.

3. Indulge in some plant-based treats at Tami’s Vegan Cafe

Cafe, Vegan

This bright and airy cafe is conveniently located in the heart of American Village, right next to the Ferris wheel. The menu is entirely vegan, with a range of burgers, pasta dishes, salad, curry and other meals available, plus desserts and drinks. It’s a bit on the pricy side given the size of the portions, but the staff are friendly and the service is good. Perched up on the second floor, the café’s sun-drenched terrace is a great spot to watch the world go by. The staff leave out bowls of food for the neighbourhood cats there, so if you’re lucky you might make a new friend!

4. Have a Hawaiian breakfast at Kaiholo Cafe

Cafe, Cat and Dog Cafe, American

Hawaiian breakfast at Kaiholo Cafe
Courtesy of Kaiholo Cafe

Located about halfway up Okinawa island in the village of Onna, Kaiholo Cafe is a colourful Hawaiian-themed eatery with a laidback beach vibe. Pets are welcome here. But if you don’t have any, the café has two adorable dogs of its own that you can befriend – just don’t be tempted to feed them as they have allergies. The menu is breakfast-centric, with different flavours of sweet and savoury pancakes, waffles loaded with toppings, omelettes and sandwiches. There’s also tea and soft drinks, plus a variety of hot and cold coffees including mochas and caramel lattes.

5. Sip specialist coffee at Yamada Coffee Okinawa

Coffee Shop, Snacks

Achingly trendy and extremely passionate about their products, Yamada Coffee Okinawa is a specialist coffee shop tucked away in a residential part of Ginowan. They take their beans seriously, sourcing them from a variety of different regions, and always with an emphasis on quality, season and unique flavours to reflect the area they’re from. As well as enjoying a freshly brewed coffee in house – in a mug designed by a local ceramics artist – you can also purchase beans to take home with you. Baked goods, parfaits and other light meals are available if you fancy some food with your cup of joe.

6. Try pizza in the sky at Kajinho

Pizzeria, Cafe, Italian

This café’s ideal spot atop a hill in Motobu, in the north of Okinawa, affords it panoramic views of the ocean and neighbouring islands. The menu – written on a paper fan – is simple, with just pizza and salad on offer, plus a range of tea, coffee, fresh juices and alcoholic drinks. The pizza is hot, chewy and loaded with gooey cheese, while the salad is a good value accompaniment. Kajinho is popular so you might have to wait to be seated, but try and get a table outside if possible to make the most of the location. The café’s proximity to the Ocean Expo Park and Churaumi Aquarium makes it a convenient choice if you’re doing some sightseeing in the area.

7. Partake in pancakes at Seaside Cafe Hanon

Cafe, Dessert Shop, Dessert

A vision of blue and white to match the surrounding scenery, Seaside Cafe Hanon is a delight to visit. They specialise in delicious, fluffy pancakes, with both sweet and savoury varieties available. Flavours include chocolate chip and cream cheese, with toppings ranging from berries and ice cream to eggs and sausages. You can choose to have either two, three or four pancakes depending on how hungry you are. There’s also an extensive drinks menu to accompany the pancakes, including coffee, tea, soft drinks and cocktails. As expected from the name, the café is right on the seafront, and the view from the terrace is idyllic.

8. Get caffeinated at Okinawa Cerrado Coffee

Coffee Shop, Coffee

This popular coffee shop has been operating in Minatogawa for around 30 years, and is easily recognisable thanks to its lime-green decor and cute toucan logo. The owner is a friendly, passionate and knowledgeable roaster, aiming to bring joy to people through delicious coffee. He also hopes to make the drinks more accessible to people by teaching them how to enjoy them at home as well as in his café. The shop gets its beans from all across the world, and it also creates its own original blends – if you find one you like, you can buy a bag of whole or ground beans to take home with you.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article