CONTRIBUTED BY HEATHER HOFFMAN
Tired of turkey leftovers, my friends and I had the opportunity to do some sightseeing on our little lovely island. We ventured out to the neighboring islands of Ikei, Henza & Miyagi, all accessible by bridge (no ferry required) in search of the famous Okinawian sea salt factory.
After a few wrong turns, we finally made it to the Okinawain Sea Salt Factory called Nuchi-una (also known as Nuchi Masu – “masu” being the Hogan/Okinawian dialect for the word “salt”). Way back in the day, my Granny used to say there are 3 white poisons – salt, sugar, and flour. My Granny didn’t know about the Nuchi-una type of salt. It’s special. If you are interested in health and the benefits of minerals, this would be a great place to learn about a “healthy” salt to add to your diet, backed by extensive scientific research. And how great to use salt made 100% from Okinawan sea water!
A small gift shop (located on the second floor with the café) boasts salt gift sets, and several different types as well as different sizes of cooking salt. The kind little Okinawian gift shop lady will give your tired dry hands a free demonstration using the body salt products. My friends and I had noticeably softer skin after she massaged the products into our skin. Here are a few of the highlights:
There is breathtaking scenery on the premises, with beautiful beaches nearby. If you cross the bridge to Ikei island on a windy day, you might be lucky enough to see tons of kite surfers flying across turquoise water.
The Nuchi-Masu Café “Ta Ka Ha Na Ri” lunch sets are about 1,500Yen and include several tiny side dishes, rice, homemade pickled vegetables, a miso soup, with tea/coffee and salt ice cream dessert. The lunch set portion sizes were average. My friends and I loved the lunches in the restaurant. The pork set is richly marbled with fat, the fresh fish set was very tasty, and the curry set was delish!
There is an informative presentation, but you’ll need a friend fluent in Japanese & English to translate for you since it’s only in Japanese.
For hygienic purposes, visitors can’t actually go into the factory rooms, but the viewing windows are large. You can take as much or as little time as you like, as it is a self-guided tour. There is no entry fee!
I spoke to the owner’s older sister (who volunteers a few days a week at the factory) and she speaks wonderful English. If you send an email (email@example.com) she will probably be the one who replies to you. Many other staff members spoke no English at all.
The driving directions in Okinawa Living Magazine (November 2012 issue) were NOT the best. We had better luck plugging the address (2768 Yonashiro Miyagi, Uruma City, Okinawa 904-2423) into our iPhones and using the Google maps feature or just check out the pin on the map below.
Watch for pictures of the sign, and you’ll find it much faster than we did! The website includes the menu, hours of operation, and map.
Address: 2768 Yonashiro Miyagi, Uruma City, Okinawa 904-2423
Hours: 9am – 5:30pm daily
This is one of those places that is just fantastic & that everyone should go to. The self-guided “tour” is very nice…it is written in English under the Japanese (they will give you a paper with info in English as you enter). The salt is so beautiful to see and it is interesting to see it processed. We also like the gift shop upstairs- in fact we go there for some things fairly regularly.
Great place…and best of all it is free for the walk and the tour.
We stumbled on this place today & what a nice surprise!! Gorgeous lookout, English translation on the television & tour. Katsuren Castle & this place in one day is a great outing. We didn’t have time for the cafe, but it looked delightful especially if table is available out on veranda overlooking the amazing ocean
We took our 5, 4, and 2 year old. They loved the walk along the heavy forested path onto the beautiful lookout. We got the salt ice cream and they only could eat a few bites so I had to finish it, I was happy about it. What a great find and beautiful drive as well.
Directions: From Kadena Gate 3 at the traffic light turn right toward 75. At the 3rd traffic light (traffic light at the Family Mart being 1st) Turn left toward 85. When you see Aeon on your right, turn left toward 33. Drive awhile. The road will end with the T intersection. Turn right at the traffic light. Drive wounding road (seawall is on your left) and turn left at the next traffic light. You will see the sign for Ikie, Miyagi island. Drive over the long bridge. Drive for awhile and you will see the Sea Wall with paintings on your right and will be able to see the Factory sign on your left. (like the picture above.) After the Sea wall, the road turns right and you will go over a very short bridge. Now you are in Miyagi island. You will see another factory sign on your left (smaller size). Drive the cliff road and you will see the factory sign on your right (above picture) and that is the drive way to the factory. You will park on left.
It takes about 50 minutes from the Kadena to the factory. You will be disappointed if you expect grandioso. But the scenic driving makes worth the trouble.
This place sounds very interesting! Would it be appropriate to take a 3 and a 6 year old?
Hi Shannon, I think it would be fun for your kiddos to walk around the grounds, and take a quick spin through the factory part. If you go on a clear day, you’ll be able to view breathtaking scenery. The service in the cafe was pretty quick, but if your kiddos are picky eaters, you might want to bring food for them to eat, as the menu is a tad limited.