I just finished a project with my ESL students in which we talked about places that are “off the beaten path”.   They read about off the beaten path treasures that sprinkle New York City.  They wrote about the off the beaten path gems they love in Okinawa.  Among them are a bakery, a Christmas restaurant, a museum, a beach, and the most beautiful spot to watch the sunrise on the island.  Fortunately, my students agreed to my shameless request to post their writing here on OkiHai.  Since today is “to eat” day, I’m just going to post the first two, the bakery and the restaurant.  You’ll have to sit tight until Saturday to find out about the rest!   

HAVE A HAPPY DREAM RESTAURANT: (click to go to an in-depth post about this restaurant – with directions)

Contributed by YUKIKO

Phone:  (098) 982-5610

I recommend a special restaurant in Ishikawa City.  The restaurant’s name is, “Have a Happy Dream” and the phone number is 982-5610.  The restaurant is in operation for only four months of the year, during Christmas season, from October 25th through January 25th.  There are a lot of kinds of food on the menu such as spaghetti, hamburger steak, and a special Christmas dinner.

The restaurant’s owner decorates her restaurant and garden with Christmas ornaments over the four months.  The inside is decorated with many kinds of Santa Clauses (about 500!) and with a huge Christmas tree and unusual decorations.  Also, the garden is decorated with a big snowman and three hundred lights in a lot of shapes.  This place looks like a wonderland.  I have never seen such a beautiful landscape.

I have participated in the yearly Christmas party that the owner gives five times with my family.  During this party, Santa Claus comes to give children presents and a clown makes many balloon animals.  You can take a picture with Santa Claus and the clown.  My family has a pleasant time at the restaurant every year.

MUNAKATA-DO (natural yeast, stone oven bakery): 

Contributed by MAKI

Hours:  Thursday-Sunday, 11am-6pm

Address:  1-20-2-005 Kakazu, Ginowan

If you are discerning about the quality of your food, I recommend a bakery called Munakata-do in Ginowan.  They are located really off the beaten path and at first sight their building doesn’t even look like a shop.  But, they have a wonderful variety of breads and buns that are made of organic ingredients and handmade natural yeast and are baked in a stone oven with firewood.

My favorites are a graham bread called “campagne”, also pizza, focaccia, and their cookies.  My husband always gets a sesame English muffin, banana bread, a chocolate, fig, and cashew nut bun, a raisin and rosemary bun, or a bun full of prunes and cream cheese.  If you like salty snacks more than sweets, you can choose a blue cheese bun or mini sausage roll.

Munakata-do is open Thursday through Sunday, but you have to remember they bake only on Thursday and Saturday.  So, if you go there on Friday or Sunday, you’ll get cold leftovers from the day before, and you can’t choose from a large variety.  That’s why I recommend going there on Thursday or Saturday.


  • From Camp Foster, head south on 58
  • After the McDonald’s, turn left on 34 (OJANA intersection)
  • Go straight then turn right on 241 (MAEHARA intersection)
  • Go straight then turn right at the 3rd traffic light
  • You’ll see old love hotels on both sides of the street, right after the love hotels (there’s a church on the corner), turn right down a small road
  • Go straight, after a boxing gym and a karate dojo you’ll see a small wooden Munakata-do sign on your right
  • Turn right and you’ll see the little house and their parking lot


  1. We just got back from there. I can not believe how it is decorated! Jam packed,crammed full of holiday cheer! Also, funny to me to see so many things that I remember in my grandma’s house! There was also a little shop next door selling the same old antique-esque ’70s wares. Food was good, not the reason to go though. It certainly is a sight to see. And Rene’s 2nd set of directions were spot on. Drove right up to it. A guy in a santa suit helped us park and then to back out. 🙂

  2. OK so we made it there for a really fun Xmas adventure. What a great thing they have going on. The owners David and Yukiko told us that their restaurant is actually only open for 6 weeks out of each year (Mid Nov thru the end of Dec) and is a complete labor of love. He is American and she is a very well versed English speaking local. I felt like we had been invited over for dinner. What a lot of work they have put into creating some Christmas spirit. The home is jam packed with Christmas. David told us that it takes his wife at least 2 weeks putting it all up inside the home and he does the outside. The Restaurant is actually the living room and dining room of their home. My daughter loved it so it made for a really fun evening. I made reservations, but it didn’t seem like we needed them, but as we were leaving they were completely full. We were the only Americans, but she spoke perfect English so she was able to explain the menu to us. The directions on the other hand – like my husband suspected need some updating from the previous post.

    From Route 58 heading towards Nago
    Take Route 73 in Onna towards Ishikawa
    At Route 329 (Ishikawa Rotary) go left
    Which puts you on 329
    At the small street right before the gas station (Carenex) make a left
    Go to the end of the street and you will see a house with lots of Christmas lights and that is the Restaurant. There is parking right out front. They may have other parking, but we had no problem getting a spot out front.

  3. My husband’s Okinawan coworker called for us and got directions to this restaurant. We have not gone yet and my husband thinks the directions make it sound confusing so I don’t know how helpful these will be to actually finding this restaurant, but these are the directions the restaurnat gave.

    If you come along route 58 to the way to Nago, you’ll see Ishikawa police
    station (we call that area ‘Ishikawa Rotary’) on the left side, then turn
    left at that intersection, and you’ll see a gas station on your left.
    Before you pass this gas station on your left, you can turn left again. And
    then go straight, and turn left at the end, you’ll see an angel signs around
    that area, so that is the restaurant called HAVE A HAPPY DREAM RESTAURANT.

  4. Hi Diann. I still don’t have directions for you for this restaurant. SO sorry. My student did the writeup, promised the directions, but never came back to class! My friend has tried calling and can’t get through, so I still don’t know. Sorry for the tease!

    Yukiko? Are you out there???

    On a good note, I went to that bakery in the post above and it was really great. Wish I had brought my camera! I keep wanting to go back.

  5. Hi. I was just wondering if anyone had directions to the Christmas restaurant? I think all the off the beaten path places sound great, and this restaurant might just keep my two year old transfixed long enough to enjoy a totally peaceful meal!