tourism・eat・shopping 2023.12.03

Sakaemachi social district with an attractive streetscape



Born in Okinawa, Japan, she has worked as a local newspaper correspondent and freelance writer. Currently living in the Philippines from 2022, accompanying her husband on his work assignment. Although she is fluent in nothing but Japanese, she is a traveler who goes abroad once every two months. She has a skill to overcome language barriers by using body language. On her personal blog, she writes about the happenings of her travels and her daily life overseas, where she is repeatedly embarrassed.

Travel back in time to the Showa era and transform into a retro town

Before the war, Okinawa Prefectural Daiichi Girls’ High School, famous for the Himeyuri Student Corps, was located where Sakaemachi Market is now.
After the war, Sakaemachi Market was built on the site.

During the day, the market is a familiar place for ordinary people, lined with fruit and vegetable butcher shops, tofu shops, dressmaking shops, etc., but at night it transforms into a deep bar district with a retro Showa atmosphere.

The tables are lined up so that they jut out from the shop, making it look like a lawless zone. There is a mysterious atmosphere filled with drunken customers.

There are relatively few foreigners here compared to Kokusai Street in the center of Naha City. Although there are many locals, there are also many experienced tourists who know everything about sightseeing in Okinawa. This is a geeky Okinawa sightseeing bar district that only those in the know know about.

There are entrances on the market side and the social street side.

The Sakaemachi area stretches out to the east of Asato Station on the Okinawa Yui Rail.
“Sakaemachi” is the name given to the area, and the actual address is Asato, Naha City, not Sakaemachi.

When you get off the Okinawa Yui Rail Asato Station, the Sakaemachi market is roughly closer to the station, and the Sakaemachi social district is in the back.
The cityscape is laid out in a grid pattern, with arcade entrances from every direction.

Once inside the arcade, alleys spread out in all directions, with shops of all sizes lined up, making it feel like a maze.

At the time of the photo shoot, it was a Sunday, so many of the stores were shuttered, but on weekdays they offer “Senbero” (a value set of several drinks and snacks for 1,000 yen) from noon. There are many restaurants in the area, making it a perfect place for lunch.

Nostalgic narrow alleys continue

The narrow alleys continue like a maze, and if you keep walking as if you surrender yourself, you will encounter various different spaces.
I don’t know if it’s for sale or if it’s a store ornament. What is this place?

I can’t imagine how this scene during the day changes completely at night.

Sakaemachi social district shows its true potential at night

The Sakaemachi social district has two sides, completely different from its daytime scenery.
When the sun goes down and it’s past 7pm, customers flood into each store and it’s time to show your true colors.
All of the shops had a lot of customers, but I saw many people staying there for a relatively short time and enjoying a bar of sake.

I was also there for the purpose of reporting, and was so taken by the cheerful atmosphere that I enjoyed bar-hopping at three different restaurants.

At each store, customers are close to each other, and as time passes, they gradually start to talk to each other, and eventually the Okinawan dialect “Icharibachodi” spirit of drinking together takes root. 

By the way, “ichari bachode”’ means that once you meet each other, you are all brothers, which is similar to the four-character idiom “Ichigo ichie.”
Why not blend in with this city and enjoy meeting and conversing with all kinds of people?

There are also unique shops specializing in shumai and gyoza, and shops specializing in whiskey.

Please check the location of the toilets in advance.

Some stores have restrooms in their stores, but small stores with only counters may not have restrooms.
In that case, there will be a shared toilet, so we recommend that you check the location in advance.
There are currently two public toilets within Sakaemachi Market.


Facility name/location name
Sakaemachi Social District/Sakaemachi Market
Asato, Naha City, Okinawa PrefectureGoogleMap
Business hours
Varies by store
No admission fee
Multilingual staff
Multilingual display