A journey as a start point to relocate. Calm life begins here in Nanjo, Okinawa

A journey as a start point to relocate. Calm life begins here in Nanjo, Okinawa
Have you ever considered moving to Okinawa? Many people want to visit Okinawa to spend a relaxing time in the warm climate and beautiful sea.
This time, we would like to focus on those who have moved to Nanjo City, located in the southern part of the main island of Okinawa and has abundant greenery. Why did they choose Nanjo City and not other areas in Okinawa? What is it like to live there? Let us introduce you to their unique experiences!

Cooperative store "Azama" by Ms. Fujiwara (from Okayama prefecture)

cooperative store

The feeling was the biggest trigger. Thoughts on internal migration started from the love to Okinawa.

Q. What made you decide to move?
Actually, I did not have any particular reason to move here. Since I had never been to Okinawa, for some reason, I've always had thoughts "I love Okinawa! I want to live there!". When my son went to a university in Okinawa, I had more chances to visit him there and I realized I really enjoy it.
After that, I lived in Naha due to my work and found myself feeling uncomfortable with the city life and this was the first time I thought I want to try something different. There was no special reason I chose Nanjo city but a few times I went to Kudaka Island, visited Azama, where the port is located, and I loved the atmosphere here.

  • cooperative store
  • cooperative store
Q. What kind of job do you usually do?
The first time I moved, I worked for a company, and when I talked to local people, they often said "There is no place for shopping" or "I wish we had a place around we can meet and chat". And I decided to open a small shop, a convenient place for both locals and tourists to stop by.
Plus, when I have time I also guide tourists through a sacred land Sefa-Utaki. When I was asked to guide, I thought it was impossible for me, but since I live in a beautiful Nanjo City that has a long history, I decided I have to try and I am still continuing it.

  • cooperative store
  • view from a cooperative store
Q. Is there anything that has changed since you moved to Nanjo City?
I loved it here even more. I have heard that it is difficult to make relationships with people in the countryside, but every person around me is very warm and kind, I have learned so many new things from them.
One designer I know said, "Let's draw something on the shop's wall!" and local people with their children made this wonderful image. I have a deep connection to this area and enjoy it every day.
Before I moved here I had only one thought "Anyway I love Okinawa", but after I moved, it was the love to the Azama area rather than Okinawa itself. I thought the reason I came here was my shop but now I think I'll continue searching for the reason until I die.
【Shop name】cooperative store "Azama"
【Address】Okinawa, Nanjo, Chinen, Azama−3, 901-1502

Mr. and Mrs. Hattori (from Tokyo and Chiba prefectures)

Mr. and Mrs. Hattori

Towards a warm and calm place. Calm life in an environment surrounded by nature.

Q. What made you decide to move?
We moved to Nanjo City about 16 years ago. I lived in Chuo district, Tokyo, near Ginza and Tsukiji, there were plenty of shopping malls and fancy restaurants around, but the living costs are very high and it's cold in the wintertime. I started talking with my wife about moving to a calmer place and the first place that came to my mind was Okinawa. I had visited Okinawa several times for work before.
We didn't choose the exact area to live in and were just looking around the prefecture for a proper house. When we couldn't find a place we were satisfied with, my friend accidentally introduced me to the property we currently live in now.
Along with the sea view from the garden, I also like the fact that you can see all the most famous spots of Nanjo City like Sefa-Utaki, the World Heritage Site, Komaka Island, Kudaka Island, and Nirai Kanai Bridge right from your home. When we first started living here everything was overgrown, and it was not the most pleasant scenery, but we gradually improved the garden and created our current landscape.
view from the Mr. and Mrs. Hattori  house
Q. What kind of job do you usually do?
I'm free and doing various things. Maintain my garden, guide Sefa-Utaki, keep myself busy.
I used to grow plants on the balcony of my apartment in Tokyo, but now I have a wide range of plants, more than 100 sorts of flowers and homegrown vegetables. Time passes so quickly once you started your gardening.
Every year we hold an event called "Open garden" In Nanjo City, where we open up our gardens for everyone, and I have participated since the beginning. At that time, visitors often said "I like this place, why don't you open a cafe?", but since it is important for me to enjoy my life at my own pace, I would keep doing what I've always done.

  • garden in Hattori house
  • the sea and flowers Mr. Hattori
Q. Is there anything that has changed since you moved to Nanjo City?
After all, there is a lot of greenery and people are kind so I don't feel any stress. When I lived in the city, I tried not to get involved with my neighbors as much as possible, but now neighbor grandmas talk to me casually, and if I'm in trouble and can't find what I need at the local shops, they just share with me vegetables they have grown. I admire the warmth and concern of all of the people who accepted us.

  • Mr. Hattori's house hibiscus
  • Mr. Hattori's water supply and greenery

Aprons' designer Ms. Yoshino (from Osaka)

Aprons' designer Ms. Yoshino

Meet with funny people of Nanjo City and find your way as an aprons' designer

Q. What made you decide to move?
When I lived in Osaka, I had the opportunity to work in Naha City in Okinawa. Here I have met friends who guided me to Kudaka Island. When I returned to Osaka and was talking about my memories while showing my daughter the pictures I took at that time, she was very interested and in junior high school she said, "I want to go to the Kudaka Study center!". After that, I spent some time between Osaka and Okinawa, and before I knew it, I made even more friends and started to think that I can actually live here.
When my daughter was in the third year of junior high school, I moved to Nanjo City and we started living together.
Aprons' designer Ms. Yoshino (hands)
Q. What kind of job do you usually do?
I produce aprons under the themes of "Coloring your life", "Apron as a costume", and "The Earth is the stage".
I used to make custom-made clothes in Osaka, but since I moved to Nanjo City, I've been receiving more orders for aprons from restaurants and shops.
One day, When I had so many piles of clothes someone told me "Make an apron!". I talked to my friend about it and she said "Aprons' designer sounds cool! Why don't you try it?". And now, thanks to all my friends who believed in me I decided to start my apron business.

  • Aprons' designer Ms. Yoshino (yellow)
  • Aprons' designer Ms. Yoshino (yellow 2)
Q. Is there anything that has changed since you moved to Nanjo City?
On warm days, I go to the nearby beach early in the morning to worship the sunrise and a limestone monument Yaharazukasa (the mythical birthplace of Okinawa). Before I moved, I never got up early and went out to the sea, but once when I saw the sunrise here, I was so impressed so it became my daily routine.
And people here are so kind and funny, remind me of people in Osaka a bit. They have something in common. It feels like home, this place has a very attractive and easy-to-live environment.

  • Aprons' designer Ms. Yoshino (purple)
  • Aprons' designer Ms. Yoshino (purple 2)
【Shop name】Dressmaking shop CHOCOLA
sewing Chocola
・online shop『ami le cadeau』

What to visit in Nanjo City?

★ Ojima Market

Inside the Imaiyu Market

Small Ojima island is a popular tourist destination you can easily reach by car across the bridge. Here you ca have Okinawan-style tempura (famous local food) and at the Ojima Experience Exchange Facility "Ojima Imaiyu Market" opened in 2014, you can enjoy local vegetables, "Imayui" (a fresh fish), or other marine products caught in the surrounding area.

  • Imaiyu Market Sashimi Assortment
  • Imaiyu Market Seafood Bowl

There are various combinations of sashimi platters for 500-1000 yen and you can even order a plate at your own taste choosing your favorite seafood for the money you have now.
Perfect price, perfect size! Luxurious rice bowls with seafood, sea grape, urchin, caviar at a reasonable price are something not only tourists but locals seek as well.

  • Imaiyu Market Giant Shellfish
  • Imaiyu Market Fish

Another attractive point is that you can enjoy all of it throughout the whole year. Try the seaweed Mozuku and sea lettuce Asa in spring, Pacific bluefin tuna in Golden Week, salt-pickled Aigo fry in June, the horned turban, Green Turban snail, and the giant clams in winter, and diamond squids from winter to spring.

Appearance of Imaiyu Market

【Shop name】Ojima Market
【Address】Ou-19-9 Tamagusuku, Nanjo, Okinawa 901-1400
【Business Hours】9: 00-18: 00 (No regular holiday)

★ Nanjo City Local Product Center

Inside the Nanjo City Local Product Center

The "Nanjo City Local Product Center" is located next to the ticket office of Sefa Utaki, a World Heritage Site. The first place you should visit in Nanjo City. There are plenty of Kudaka island products and original Nanjo goods that can only be found here, including special items and souvenirs.

  • Nanjo City Local Product Center Citrus fruits
  • Nanjo City Local Product Seafood

The incredible lineup of products such as Oujima's specialty Mozuku seaweed, Okinawan salt "Shimamasu" or 100% ripe mango juice, and especially shikuwasa (local lime with a rich citrus flavor) drinks are just waiting for you there. We would recommend you to buy Okinawan salt as a souvenir, so you can enjoy it later in your own dishes.

  • Nanjo City Local Product Center Nanjii Goods
  • Nanjo City Local Product Center Kudaka island corner

"Nanjii" is an official character of Nanjo City and you can find lots of goods with him, from daily necessities to clothing and sweets available only there. There are also some interesting products such as soba with salt and Irabu (sea snake), made in Kudaka island, which is said to be the island of the Gods.

Exterior view of Nanjo City Local Product Center

【Shop name】Nanjo City Local Product Center
【Address】Okinawa, Nanjo, Chinen, Kudeken−539 1F, 901-1511
【Business Hours】9: 00-18: 00 (No regular holiday)

★ Keibin Eki Kariyushi City (Light Railway Station Kariyushi City)

Kariyushi City

"Keibin Eki Kariyushi City" got its name in memory of the railway that was running in Okinawa long years ago. Various vegetables and fruits are grown by nearby farmers, fresh flowers, bread, and handmade side dishes are sold here at very cheap prices.

  • Kariyushi City tomato corner
  • Kariyushi City sweets corner

Cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, spinach, celery, and lettuce, there are many types of vegetables here. Mangoes are sold in summer and strawberries in winter and all for a very cheap price as it is a direct selling store.
This place is very popular, so don't be surprised when if you come in the evening and find all products are sold out.

  • Kariyushi City Fresh Flower Corner
  • Kariyushi City Fresh Flower Corner 2

In the fresh flower corner, you can find Gypsophila, oriental lily, static, roses, Gerbera, etc., and those sold as bouquets are very popular during the school entrance ceremony and graduation season. Very convenient to just put it in a vase right after you buy it. The variety of products is incredible, but it is not rare when some customers come here to just buy flowers.

Exterior view of Kariyushi City

【Shop name】Keibin Eki Kariyushi City
【Address】875-1 Ozato Takahira, Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture, 901-1205
【Business Hours】 8: 00-18: 00
【Regular holiday】4th Monday

What do you think about Nanjo City and moving there?
Some people moved here with a purpose, while others chose this place by feeling. When we hear "I am moving to Okinawa!", we usually get the impression of "nature lovers" or "tropical country lovers" or simply "someone wants to live in an environment close to the sea", but surprisingly, most of them are just fascinated by the warmth of the people.
One thing in common you can find in their stories is that they were happy to participate in local events and enjoy their lives interacting with other people. In the beginning, some of them were interested in Okinawa, but after moving to Okinawa, they felt the intimacy of the place called Nanjo City.
Why don't you try to experience the charm of Nanjo City?

You can find more information about moving to Nanjo City here:
・Tourism Portal Site "Rashiine Nanjo city"
From travel to residence: Living in Nanjo

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