When I think back to our weeks in Japan, the moments that I was most happy were probably the times we spent in the Mihama American Village on Okinawa. I know, I can already hear you saying "girl, who goes to Japan to have the most fun in something called "the American Village???" but hear me out! Okinawa is this amazing mix of Japan, a distinct tropical island feel, its original Ryukyu culture, and the American influences because of the extensive US army presence. The American Village is a going out district that mixes up all of that exquisite diversity into something that is like the best possible, themepark-esque pastiche of vintage Americana, but with a distinctly Japanese twist.
Some people might hate how "manufactured" this place is, but in my eyes and experience, that kind of just makes it quintessentially Japanese. However, if your idea of the perfect Japan trip is more about bamboo forests and temples, this might not float your boat.
We went there three times, two times for dinner and one time for breakfast, and because the place is so incredibly photogenic I took lots of pictures. You could say that I saved the best (in my eyes) for last, so here is what will probably be my last post on our Japan trip. Enjoy!
The first thing that stands out when you approach the Mihama American Village, is the ferris wheel. Since I shit my pants when I even think of heights, we didn't go for a ride, but we did enjoy how lovely it looked at night. It's just as colorful as all the different coloured buildings everywhere.
The second thing you notice if you go there at night, is the twinkle lights everywhere. My FAVORITE thing! And if you put them on palmtrees, well, this girl gets weak in the knees.
And then you turn a corner, and there's the ocean. Seriously, is this heaven?
On the boardwalk, there's restaurants, cafés, buskers, twinkle lights and the most amazing, relaxed atmosphere.
Wanna know why I said that the Mihama American Village is like a theme park? Well, it has pirate skeletons.
But apart from the slightly over the top amazing atmosphere, there's one thing that makes this place super Japanese: great food everywhere. What's more, there's like three floors to this thing with all kinds of different styles of restaurants, so you're bound to find something somewhere that tickles your fancy. If I may suggest one: try the tacorice, a Okinawan signature dish that mixes the Mexican flavours of the taco with the typically Japanese sushi rice. The Omutaco version of this dish comes with a slightly sweetened, fluffy omelet on top. I prefer the egg free version of the dish and had it twice in Japan and made it another three times at home!
Check that pineapple doormat! So Okinawa. And of course, plastic renditions of the available dishes. It ain't Japan without those.
When we went back the next day, it was like a completely new experience because you see so many details you don't see during nighttime. Like this crazy gingerbread cookie house aka Depot Island.
Or how stunningly blue the ocean is when you're eating a way too big plate of pineapple-dragonfruit shaved icecream.
Or the adorable rockabilly-diner with tiki bar vibes where I had my second plate of tacorice. Obviously, the soundtrack was reggae. And I had two huge glasses of papaya smoothie which was was overpriced but 100% worth it.
Finally, on our very last day we experienced another milestone in our lives: my boyfriend had a pork based meal that he actually loved. Dude hates pork, and fatty meats, but both of us just about died over the melt-in-mouth porkbelly. Again, the setting was top notch too in this more traditionally Japanese setting. The tables were low, with mats to sit on, but there was also an open space to hang your legs under the table if your back couldn't cope. Super homey and cozy. The kids at the table next to us couldn't get enough!
I would literally give €100 to have this meal right now. This was a full menu, obviously a huge serving of soup, rice and pork belly, and I think it was like $17. Japanese food is not expensive.
I hope you enjoyed this post because I sure loved reliving these amazing moments, and if you're ever in the vicinity, DO visit the Mihama American Village! It also boasts an amazing arcade, a bowling alley, a theatre that plays both American and Japanese movies, and a bunch of stores. Oh, and a beach! Everything you might need on holiday, man.
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