With eight in Okinawa, and hundreds spread across Japan, the Michi no Eki (道の駅), or Roadside Stations, are a must-do during any road trip, as well as being a great place to stock up on local produce in your own area.
And ‘local’ is the important word here. From Itoman to Kunigami, the Michi no Eki in Okinawa carry a wide variety of fresh ingredients that vary depending on what is grown in that area. For example, the Itoman shop carries a lot of pork from nearby farms, the Toyosaki shop specalises in mango, while the Onna shop has many sweet potato products. However, be aware the one in Kadena has a distinctly different flavour, selling mostly military-oriented souvenirs rather than produce.
You can expect to find fruits and vegetables for very cheap prices, sometimes shockingly lower than your daily supermarket, and in larger quantities too. They often carry products that you cannot buy in a supermarket or grocery, and sometimes include a small guide explaining what it is and how to use it. From lemongrass to goya, they’ve got it all.
Most have a restaurant section, serving Okinawa staple dishes such as soki soba, jushi, goya champuru, sata andagi, and obento for takeaway, to name a few. If you’re lucky there’s a soft serve booth for the hot summer days, and someone making fresh kamaboko.
In addition, some Michi no Eki have a greenhouse with plants and flowers from local nurseries, so they are a great place to get some additions to your garden.
If you like to buy local, want to save money and reduce your food miles, then I highly recommend going to your nearest Michi no Eki to stock up, support the local farmers, and enjoy some Okinawan flavours.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention, they sell cold beer!
(p.s. don’t drink and drive!)
Currency: Yen only
MONDAY – SUNDAY 8:30 am – 8:00 pm
Michi no Eki
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Michi no Eki – Japan's Roadside Stations