3 Unique Dining Experiences on Kohama Island, Okinawa
Kohama Island is a beautifully quiet southern remote island of Okinawa, located in the centre of the Yaeyama Islands. A treat to discover, Kohama can be accessed by a twenty minute boat ride from Ishigaki Port.
Surrounded by the unusually translucent waters characteristic of Okinawa, arriving in Kohama for the first time will tantalize all the senses. The main attractions of Kohama are its white sandy beaches, endless sugar cane field hikes and locally farmed meals. This article will explore three of the dining options available to tourists.
Canaan Coffee and Bake Store
Canaan Coffee and Bake Store is a rare and delicious treat for any visitor. Situated in a touchingly dated hotel, which has recently had a number of its outhouses converted into more luxury rooms, the cafe is open to both guests of the hotel and visitors. Well deserving of business, this cafe is run by a young Japanese couple who hand make all of their cakes and meals from locally sourced produce. If this isn't impressive enough, they also source their coffee beans from African farms, handcraft their own packaging and have set up an online shop to deliver their coffee to the surrounding islands and, more recently, mainland Japan.
Worth calling in advance to check the opening hours of the day and the menu availability as produce is subject to change and availability. Guests of the hotel can enjoy a veritable feast of a breakfast from 7:30–9:30 am. The menu includes a full breakfast consisting of handmade toast, eggs, bacon, avocado, roasted vegetables and handpicked salad leaves. Alternatively guests can opt for a French toast, yogurt dish or a variety of hot sandwiches. All breakfasts are served with their signature hand dripped coffee of the day, served hot or iced upon pre-order the previous night. You can also purchase the coffee beans and drip bags.
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Sanufa is a casual four star izakaya restaurant located next to Canaan Hotel and is also run by locals. You can try a wide range of local Okinawan dishes and awamori and soft drinks. Bookings are only taken by telephone in advance, as this is the only izakaya on the island. Sampling a number of different items is recommended, as they have an extensive and impressive menu. The favourites are Ishigaki beef dishes, various salads and unique dishes like Rafute (glazed pork), Goya Champuru (bitter melon and tofu stir-fried) and a number of squid and shrimp dishes.
If you're staying on the other side of the island and want to visit Sanufa, a staff member will kindly drive you to and from the restaurant.
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Bob's Cafe is the perfect place to drop by if you're a bit peckish and thirsty after the ferry ride over to the island, or if you're exploring the port area. Well known for their friendly approach, the owners and staff are happy to help with anything during your stay. They have long opening hours, in contrast to other eateries on the island and serve both American and Okinawan food and drinks. Located on the first floor, you can enjoy the spectacular view of the port and ocean whilst enjoying a beef and burger or just relax for a few hours with a coffee or iced tea. There's an impressive seated bar area with a huge range of reasonably priced alcohol.
At this friendly and welcoming cafe, try Bob's infamous Kohama burger, octopus with wasabi (a popular Okinawan speciality) and the curry rice. You'll find the service is incredibly quick and efficient and the prices are low for a four star rated cafe.
The interior is decked out for a retro style American diner experience and the furniture and artwork don't disappoint. This will be a place you'll return to at least once if you're spending more than a few days in Kohama. You can also rent snorkeling equipment and bikes here!