Japan is not renowned for it’s excellent coffee. The blocks are lined with Starbucks, Dotours and Tulleys serving coffee that is sure to be good enough for the masses but just doesn’t hit the spot for legitimate coffee-snobs like us. While the big cities like Tokyo and Osaka offer enough options for the more discerning coffee drinker; what is one to do on a sleepy island like Okinawa? To our surprise, Naha City in Okinawa is a bit of a secret coffee hub; if you know where to look.
If you’re craving a hand poured or cold drip while pounding the pavement around Tsuboya; you’ll likely be heading into Mahou coffee. Located close to the pottery district and not far to the Southern entrance of the sprawling Makishi First Public Markets.
There is no vegan food or soy milk at Mahou (we normally drink black), but the coffee here is easily the best we tried in Naha. The space at Mahou is quite small and it discourages sitting down and working; so best to grab yourself a takeaway cup to help give you a boost while exploring the surrounding area on foot.
ADDRESS: 1-6-5 Tsuboya, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture
HOURS: Opens Everyday from 10 am to 6 pm ; Closed on Wednesday
MANA VEGAN CAFÉ
You’re bound to read more about Mana in a future dedicated post here on the Caffeinated Vegan; the food was outstanding and the service kind and warm; we went here often while in Naha. Located directly opposite Mahou coffee, Mana don’t do a bad cup of coffee themselves. Mana have two options; a light and a medium roast. While I prefer a darker roast the coffee was still a great high quality brew and was served with soy milk and beet sugar if you like it white or sweet.
As well as coffee, Mana do an excellent hot chocolate for those who are taking a break from caffeine (you crazy people!)
ADDRESS: 1-6-9 Tsuboya, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture
HOURS: Opens Everyday from 8 am to 6 pm ; Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesday
Located in the sprawling alleys of the Makishi First Public Market is the hole in the wall that is Parasol Coffee. Run by John, a half-American, half-Japanese man who came back to his home town to retire from the rat race; he serves a simple but surprisingly good hand poured coffee.
We didn’t expect much from Parasol, and mainly checked it out due to curiousity about this tiny shop. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Brazilian coffee and stayed for an extra cup. John is also a great host, and loves to talk to his customers.
If you’ve had a hard day he also has a small selection of beer and other alcohol stacked alongside his CD collection which lines the walls of his booth.
Again, this is for black coffee only.
ADDRESS: ガーブ川中央商店街 3-3-1 Makishi, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture
HOURS: Opens Everyday from 10 am onwrds
Where Is The Soy?
Mainly, we drink black coffee. If you need soy milk you could buy your own at all of the convenience stores, or you’ll need to hit up Starbucks. While I don’t like Starbucks coffee; to their credit, in Japan they do have a dairy-free menu with soy whipped cream if you like that “frappucino” type of thing, and sometimes have vegan cabinet food.