Get your art on at Sangoza Kitchen

Get your art on at Sangoza Kitchen

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

It is fun to explore the Heiwa Dori Arcade and Makishi Public Market.

Like any guide book about Okinawa suggests, you can spend hours, even days exploring these markets, taking photos of pig faces displayed at a butcher shop or colorful fish crammed in a cooler box.

But if you get tired of walking in the maze-like markets and start being overwhelmed by it all, take a break and refresh your mind at Sangoza Kitchen.

Only a five-minute walk from Heiwa Dori Market, this fancy café is a real treat. Housed in “Sakurazaka Gekijo,” a historic art-house movie theater, this café has drawn movie buffs, art lovers and tourists for many years. In short, it is a place for people who have a taste for the finer things, both edible and viewable.

Once you get inside, black chairs and tables lit by amber-colored lighting, put you in a chic and romantic mood. The smell of the dark roasted coffee fills the air as you fixate your eyes on sweets displayed at the counter.

I highly recommend Caramel Kaoru Beniimo Cake (purple sweet potato cake with a scent of caramel). Its crispy texture and sweet scent add a nice twist to the sweet potato flavor familiar to local folks. It’s simply delicious.

If you are a movie fan, you might be intrigued by the Apple Sandwich Cake, which was inspired by “Picnic on the Grass,” a film by Jean Renoir. The cake’s gentle taste will take you to beautiful scenes of Provence depicted by the French maestro. Since Sangoza Kitchen has been a mecca for movie fans in Okinawa, some entrees are dedicated to the films they show at the theater.

Although the coffee and cake is a perfect fit for an afternoon break, this place offers adult beverages on its dinner menu. Sangoza Kitchen has a nice selection of beer, Awamori, wine and saki.

All food at the café is served on Yachimun pottery. This makes perfect sense, given the fact that it is in the neighborhood of the famous Tsuboya Yachimun Street. If you like the coffee cup or the plate on which your food was served, head up to the second floor after you’re done eating to check out the collection of Yachimun pottery. You just might end up buying something.

Although the food and drinks taste good at this café, its location is also worth mentioning. This place is on Sakurazaka Dori, a street which runs parallel to Kokusai Street, from Heiwadori Market to Ground Orion Street. It used to be known for its night life after World War II.

If you take a walk on this street, you will see many of the old bars still in business. But some parts of the street has been renovated in recent years, bringing in fancy restaurants and stores and a younger generation of customers.

Sakurazaka Gekijo and its Sangoza Kitchen are one the locations that reflect the change. When the theater holds concerts or talk shows, you will find the place packed with many young folks in hip clothing. On other occasions, you will see middle-aged and senior citizens coming to this place for workshops, exhibitions and classic movies. No matter your age, it’s a great place to explore art and culture.

So next time you go to Heiwa Dori Market or Makishi Public Market, make a stop at Sangoza Kitchen and experience one of the coolest spots in Okinawa.

Open: 9:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Location: 3-6-10 Makishi, Naha-City, Okinawa, Japan 900-0013

Website: (Japanese)

For more information: call 098-860-9555 (Japanese)


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