Kinpa Ginpa

Confession: I don’t really like soba.  I’ve tried; really I have.  I’ve gone to the purple flags restaurant and the purple hat restaurant, and to other locations that have come highly recommended, but with the exception of the taco soba (like taco rice but with soba instead of rice) that I’ve only ever found at BIOS On The Hill, I just don’t really like it.

I feel a little bit bad about this because in moving here I had two goals that I’d hoped to achieve:

1) Getting a basic grasp of the spoken and written language
2) Becoming more adventurous in what I’ll eat.

I’m sad to say that although I’ll hit two major milestones in the next two months (turning 30 and PCSing back the US) I haven’t achieved either of those.  I’m willing to bet that those two obstacles have kept me from trying some truly delicious eats, and that’s why I’m grateful to a friend for introducing me to Kinpa Ginpa, my now-favorite ramen restaurant.  Because while I don’t much care for soba, I really love ramen.

I never would have known what this restaurant was or what they served, because their sign is not at all in English.  And though we usually see Americans eating here whenever we go, the tables are usually filled with local nationals.

Not being at all comfortable with the language, I assume that Kinpa Ginpa’s specialty is ramen, though there are plenty of other options on the menu.

Kinpa Ginpa spicy miso ramen

This was my husband’s spicy miso ramen dish (as evident by the red bowl), which is one of the three options for the pork-based version, Otoko-aji.  The other flavors are the basic, which we order for our six-year-old daughter, and the fried garlic and onion flavor, which is my favorite.  There’s also a chicken and Okinawan salt based dish, Onna-Aji, that I always tells myself I’m going to try but forget about when I get tempted back to my favorite.  All the versions are available in small (520 yen) or regular sizes (690 yen), but the very best part is if you happen to eat all your noodles and are still left with broth (and you’re not quite full yet) you can order another set of noodles (just say “kaedama kudasai“) for only 100 yen.  Not that I’ve done that…

Kinpa Ginpa sushi

Also available to satisfy your cravings are a limited sushi and sashimi menu, some beef, chicken, and pork dishes, tempura, salads, traditional Okinawan dishes (goya, anyone?), and Japanese appetizers to include seaweed and tofu.  Though it’s not on the (English) menu we’ve also ordered gyoza, which was quite tasty.  They’ve got an extensive Awamori, beer and cocktail menu, as well as teas and soft drinks.

This is a relatively kid-friendly restaurant; most of the seating is tatami mat-style, though there is one traditional indoor table and a few tables outside on the patio.  I’ve never seen restraining high chairs, just the little plastic kid seats, so we always bring our two-year-old’s booster seat with us in an attempt to keep him contained.  Though the teriyaki chicken we always order for him usually does a pretty good job of that on its own.

Kinpa Ginpa teriyaki chicken

When we’re finished with this meal, my family always heads over to Starbucks (me) and Yogurtland (husband and the kids), even though there are a couple dessert items on the menu.  Something about needing something sweet to balance all the salty, yin and yang and all that.

Kinpa Ginpa

Payment: Yen or Credit Cards; no $

Hours: Open 5:30pm to 2am daily.

Phone: 098 926 0076.  We’ve never made reservations, but there has always been at least one person who speaks English very well working at the restaurant when we’ve gone.

Address: 2 Chome-4-7 Mihama

GPS Coordinates: 26.316304127438944, 127.75918438009194

Directions: Kinpa Ginpa is located near American Village, across the street from Jusco and a little north of Pet Box.  There is no parking lot adjacent to the restaurant, and the servers have always made sure we understand that if we park in the lot next door we’ll be subject to a 100,00 yen fine.  Coming from Rt. 58 at the Four Seasons/Family Mart intersection, cross through the traffic light to the first entrance to the big parking lot (the Ferris wheel will be on your right).  Take your first left and pull through all the way to the east end of the lot, and try to find a parking spot somewhere near the exit to the cross-street.  You’ll have to cross the street by foot, so watch for cars.  The Crocodile restaurant will be to your right, and Kinpa Ginpa will be to the left of the “Dining & L’ASIE” sign.


  1. Best kept secret ever!!! The first time we went by it was very crowded so we didn’t stay the next time however we did not let the crowd run us away. We sat at the bar and were ale to see everything being prepared in their tiny kitchen. Yum yum and yum is all I can say. We had ramen, teriyaki chicken and a few other items. I cannot complain about anything and we met some really friendly people that helped us to translate some items we weren’t quite sure about. You must put this place on your MUST TRY list.

  2. This place is the best ramen I’ve found on the island. I know all of the people I take there agree. I haven’t had the food on the inside, so I can’t speak to that, but I’ve had the ramen and the gyoza and I don’t know which I like more. good service and great prices.

  3. My Husband and I went here after I had read the article on it. We had a very plesant experience here. They had an American guy working there who spoke fluent Japanese so he helped out so very much with things, boy did I appreciate him! They did have the American menu but they also had a Japanese menu that he said changed everyday. He was so nice that he sat there and translated that whole menu for us! I was not as adventurous as I should have been and got the Chicken Teriyaki,my Husband got the Sushi plate and some sort of huge fried beef dumpling. I thought the flavor of the chicken was good but the meat was very fatty (I know most people don’t care about this but it’s kind of a big thing fo me). My Husband ate all the fatty parts for me and loved them lol. He loved both of his foods and I tried his beef thing and it was very good. They even gave us a complimentary appetizer of about three little things (I have no idea what they were) and they were awesome! Overall I think this place was fantastic and my Husband keeps asking when we will go back.

  4. Kinpa Ginpa is actually the izakaya part of the restaurant. But the Ramen shack on the side is actually part of a Ramen franchise around Okinawa called “Tondou.” The ramen they have is completely different to most ramen shops in Okinawa since their soup is pork based compared to most miso based ramen on island. I have a buddy who has taken me to other Tondou Ramen Restaurants and they have more selection that what the one in Kinpa Ginpa has to offer. Unfortunately, none of the other places have any English Menu and utilize the vending machines to place your order, similar to the Arashi next to Obligato on 58.

  5. Actually, Joe, for those who can’t read hiragana, katakana and/or kanji, descriptions like “purple flag” are very helpful. I ate at that restaurant and never would have gotten there if someone had told me the name and NOT told me about the purple flags. One of the first things I loved about Oki Hai was that the directions were so colorful and descriptive since giving street names and place names doesn’t help newbies very much. But if you happen to know the Japanese names of those two places, we’d love to add that info to the posts!

  6. My husband and I went here today and while the decor and service were wonderful, the food wasn’t. I’ve tasted much better ramen on island and the pork dish my husband ordered was dry and flavorless. The only kudos I’d give the food was that the pork in the pork ramen was indeed very tender and the shrimp tenpura rice ball was good (easily the best part of the whole meal). We’re all for trying new things but were very unimpressed by what we were presented with. Cute place for a photo op, but unless you’re just ordering rice balls I don’t recommend it at all.

  7. I love this place and that spicy ramen is my favorite. I think I could eat it everyday. Their english menu is pretty good and the staff that I interacted with all spoke english. I’ve never sat inside b/c I love outdoor seating, which seems to be in short supply on Okinawa, so when that is an option I almost always take it. Eating outside here is kind of like sitting on your friend’s front porch for dinner. I wish they were open for lunch!