Kokusaidori 国際通り, Kokusaidri, meaning “International Road,” is Naha’s principal thoroughfare, running for about two kilometers through the city center. The roadway is named after the old “Ernie Pyle International Theater”. A movie theater established along the road following World War II.
Kokusaidori begins at the Naha Bus Terminal and Prefectural Hall. Is lined with restaurants, cafés, pubs, motels, souvenir shops, boutiques, and department stores.
Many businesses stay open until 10 p.m., and numerous restaurants have live Okinawan music.
- Street performances of traditional Okinawan music and dance
- Habushu, a drink with a preserved viper inside
- Heiwa Dori, a covered arcade off Kokusai Dori
- The farmers’ market at the end of Ichiba-hondori
How to Get There
Kokusai-dori Street is located in downtown Naha near the Naha Bus Terminal and is also easily reached by monorail.
From Naha Airport, take the Okinawa Monorail to Asahibashi Station. Or get off at Prefectural Office Station if you want to start at the other end of Kokusai-dori Street.
- Many shops stay open until 11 p.m.
- Nightlife on Kokusai-dori continues until dawn
- The street is closed to traffic on Sundays
From wetland to a major thoroughfare
As you walk along Kokusai-dori Street, the downtown thoroughfare brimming with color and activity. It’s challenging to think it was once nothing more than a muddy footpath. The shift began during the United States’ occupation of Okinawa. Which continued until the islands were restored to Japan in 1972.
The Ernie Pyle International Theater catered to the numerous US troops stationed there after the war. Gave the street its name (which roughly translates as International Street).
Every day of the year
Kokusai-dori is the street that never sleeps. Unless you arrive between 5 a.m. when the final bars shut and 10 a.m. when the new day begins. Aside from that, the street is a two-kilometer-long beehive of activity.
Although recognizable brands, chain stores, phone shops, and convenience stores can be found on Kokusai-dori. The authentic ambiance of the street is generated by the many local retailers, cafés, street sellers, covered markets, and performances.
Saturday nights are the most incredible time to see the street entertainers since Kokusai-dori is at its busiest. Sunday is also an excellent day because the street is closed to traffic. There should be something for everyone to appreciate, from fire eaters and folk dancers to aspiring pop stars.