CONTRIBUTED BY ANTHONY CAMINA
Near the center of Kokusai Street, a new entertainment center has opened called HAPINAHA. The complex is large, bright, and inviting; it has a kind of Willie Wonka candy factory meets anime character theme park vibe. The interior hosts a multitude of various shops and restaurants that one can enjoy as well as a comedy theater and spooky interactive fun house tour.
The first floor is a kid’s paradise. There is a section of the store called Happy Sweets Street, which has a candy shop, ice cream shop, and Okinawa souvenir confections store to name a few. If the sweets on this floor become too much for you, there are also a few coffee and wine shops as well as a cafeteria deli and gourmet foods store.
The centerpiece of HAPINAHA for many Westerners is the arrival of an actual Pokémon Store in Okinawa. For those aficionados who actually follow Pokémon this is a big deal since previously the only way to visit a Pokémon center or store was to travel to mainland Japan. Pokémon stores are known to have exclusive deals and items not found anywhere else.
The second floor has a large restaurant called Ocean Grill run by the Suntory Company. It is a Japanese BBQ themed establishment. Across from the restaurant is Happy Kirakira Paradise, which sells anime themed accessories, cosmetics and sundries.
The third floor is the where the main ticket counter for the comedy show and haunted house are located. Both shows are produced by the Yoshimoto Kogyo Company which has brought a comedy troop of actors to run and staff the haunted house and comedy show.
The haunted house may not be what Westerners are used to when they think of a traditional haunted house. This is more of a spooky department store tour in which the owner of the establishment asks for the help of the members of the group to banish wayward mischievous spirits. As you traverse the many levels of the haunted store, the main objective is to earn all the hidden “Ishiganto” (a charm that wards off evil) which are kept in several challenge stations. The challenge stations are interesting in that they require the members of the group to complete tasks such as answering questions or ripping a table cloth off a table without knocking off the dishes. When all the Ishiganto are earned, the tour places the talismans on a special table to officially win over the ghosts. The haunted tour is dark creepy fun that may disappoint thrill seekers but would be appropriate for school aged children. The haunted house charges 1,200 yen for adults and 700 yen for elementary school children.
Hours: Main floor 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Second Floor 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Address: 2 Chome-2-30 Makishi, Naha-shi, Okinawa-ken 900-0013, Japan
Directions: HAPINAHA is located in Kokusai Street nearly across the street from Don Quixote and a large covered market. Kokusai Street runs parallel to Highway 58 in central downtown Naha. From Camp Kinser travel south on the 58 until you see a red modern art looking sculpture at the Highway 58 and route 42 intersections. Turn left at this intersection and follow the signs for the underground parking.
Coordinates: 26.2164927, 127.68849469999998