Did you know Okinawa is holding many titles of being No. 1 in Japan?
Due to its geolocation, weather, and diet, Okinawa ranks No. 1 for
- Longest life expectancy for female.
- Earliest prefecture in Japanese where Sakura (Cherry blossom) blooms.
- Population growth
and get this
No.1 in pineapple production.
And within Okinawa, Higashi village in northern Okinawa is responsible for this title. They have a sign in area to prove it.
Photo source: Aeon Ryukyu
Besides beautiful beaches and mountains, Higashi village is all about pineapple.
Soon after you pass Nago, you will start to see pineapple farms everywhere. During pineapple season – summer, you can enjoy Okinawa pineapple, which is smaller in size than the ones we usually see in the market produced by Dole plantations across the globe. Okinawa pineapple is also sweeter. In Japanese grocery store, you can see the measurement of sweetness on the label. Among all the fruits produced in Okinawa including mango, strawberry, watermelon, pineapple’s sweetness ranks the highest.
During its production peak, the village produces so much pineapple that the locals leave them on the roadside “self-serve vending stand.” Put 100 yen in the jar, and you can walk away with a hand full of fresh pineapple grow in the nearby farms.
Self-serve pineapple stand in Okinawa, photo source 石垣島食べある記
If you are allergic to pineapple acid like me, the villagers have invited so many products out of the pineapple – juice, cake, cookies, there has to be something you can enjoy.
You can find Okinawa pineapple all over the island, but it doesn’t hurt to visit their home while enjoying a nice road trip in northern Okinawa.
Beside pineapples, there are a few more places to check out in the area.
1. Melody road – a small portion of the Route 331 where you can hear a “song” created by your tires if you drive through it in about 40 km/h. Location on Google Maps.
2. Oura, a hidden crossroad stretch 1 km into the wetland. You can find a hidden village with colorful Shisa dogs mounted on each home by the local villagers.
Oura village service area, water cross way entrance location: https://goo.gl/maps/dwDqetepbc72
Oura village location: https://goo.gl/maps/fU3K1vQTbMr
3. Nago pineapple park. A more convenient way to enjoy Okinawa pineapple.
4. Visit the Aguu park to learn more about an important part of Okinawa diet.
Last but not less, Okinawa’s most celebrated local brewery Orion brewery has pineapple flavor beer every year during pineapple season. It tastes a bit fruity, but you should at least try it once while you are here.
Orion beer tropical collection pineapple flavor beer, photo source http://www.beergril.net
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