Translating to International Road, Japan’s Kokusai Dori is a buzz of activity. It cuts through the centre of Naha and stretches for roughly two kilometres. A kaleidoscope of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and department stores line either side of the street, enticing people in with their colourful displays.
As many shops stay open late, Kokusai Dori is a fantastic place to visit after dark. For music lovers, its restaurants are famous for their live Okinawa music. Those wanting to experience some of Japan’s best shopping should venture into the Heiwadori, Mutsumidori and Ichiba Hondori arcades. They branch off Kokusai Dori and are home to a myriad of eclectic stalls.
Kokusai Dori is located right in the centre of Naha, which makes it easy to access by foot or public transport. It stretches from the Naha Bus Terminal to Makishi Monorail Station, with several monorail and bus stops along the way. By far, the best way to soak up the atmosphere and explore Kokusai Dori’s offbeat food stalls, shops and arcades it by foot.
While Kokusai Dori does have some international influences, its name was inspired by the iconic Ernie Pyle International Theatre. The film house was constructed after the war and built to honour the legacy of the American journalist who died during the Okinawa invasion. While it’s since closed, it was once a hugely popular venue for U.S. troops during the post-WWII occupation of Okinawa.