“Okinawa’s kitchen” is open for business at temporary site

“Okinawa’s kitchen” is open for business at temporary site

Makishi Public Market’s temporary site opens its doors, welcoming a bustling crowd around 10:30 a.m. on July 1, in Matsuo, Naha City.

July 2, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Makishi Public Market has re-opened on July 1, at its temporary location in Matsuo, Naha City, at a town square formerly known as the Nigiwai Hiroba. The temporary market houses 84 shops inside a two-story prefabricated building situated on a 1970-square-meter lot. Shop owners and local residents gathered at the opening ceremony held on July 1, and celebrated the opening of the market’s transitory new home. Endearingly referred to as “Okinawa’s kitchen,” the market attracted a large crowd to the temporary location on opening day, and bustled with just as much activity as the old market. The current site will serve the shop keepers and shoppers until the new market opens its doors in 2022.

Tomomitsu Aguni, President of the Makishi Public Market Association, and Naha City Mayor Mikiko Shiroma cut the tape during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The market is used not only by local shoppers, but welcomes plenty of tourists as well. Mayor Shiroma shared her hopes for the market’s role as a tourist destination, and invited more to visit: “[This location] has retained the warmhearted atmosphere of the [old] market. I hope we receive many guests.”

The temporary market is located at the former Nigiwai Hiroba, 100 meters northwest of the old market. Shops offering seafood, meats, pickles, and other food items can be found on the first floor; eateries are located on the second floor. Some customers were seen enjoying the same “carry-up” service the old market offered, in which food items purchased on the first floor is cooked and served in the dining hall upstairs.

Urasoe City resident, Narie Komiya, 56, is a regular from the old market. She purchased Okinawan style pork belly and sliced pork meat for ginger pork. “It’s fresh and well-priced. They teach you how to cook it too.” She laughed and said, “maybe they should stay at this location, it’s bright and clean.” Long-established Hirata’s Pickles has been in business since before the Makishi Public Market opened. Its 29-year-old shopkeeper, Fumiya Tamaki, said, “We drew a large crowd for opening day, but we have to think about how to maintain this traffic. Maybe we organize some events,” and pointed out the need to keep the market alive.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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