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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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