By Chris Barnes
Mihama American Village is a large entertainment complex located in Chatan, Okinawa. Built on reclaimed land, the village is a perfect destination for families with a vast range of shops, restaurants, entertainment facilities. The village provides a nostalgic outlet for international visitors, military personnel and their families, and also an interesting diversion for local residents. The Americana themed village is the perfect place to visit if you’re craving American styled shops, restaurants, cafes and entertainment that blends well with the Okinawa island culture.
The main hub of Mihama American Village is the Depot Island grouping of shops, restaurants and cafes. Depot Island is a large, maze like shopping space which consists of five buildings: A, B, C, D & E. Here you can find a large number of retail stores specializing in American and the latest Okinawa island style fashion and accessories. In amongst the colorful retail space are numerous decorated cafes which specialize in taco rice, hamburgers and hot dogs if you’re looking for an American style meal. There are also numerous international cuisine restaurants such as Indian, Thai, South American and Italian scattered throughout the village.
Adjacent to Depot Island you’ll notice an unusually shaped wave roof which is the Akara Building. Here you can find some of the latest trends in Okinawa summer fashion, along with the Akara Gallery and Bokunen Art Museum. On the eastern side of the village you will find the OUK Fashion building, the ATS Chatan building and the Distortion Fashion building, all of which specialize in fashion accessories and also house numerous restaurants and cafes. The villages landmark attraction is the giant ferris wheel which sits on top of the Dragon Palace entertainment arcade. The ferris wheel is open daily, and for ¥500, will give you excellent views of the village and Chatan coastline.
The village is also home to the Mihama 7 Plex movie theater which shows movies in English & Japanese for reasonable prices. The Japanese department store AEON which specializes in Japanese fashion and groceries, is located next to the cinema. A great feature of the village is the large parking facility located opposite AEON & 7 Plex and with numerous smaller parking lots scattered throughout the village shopping precinct, you’re bound to find yourself a park in no time. As the village is located on the coastline, the west facing Sunset Beach is a prime location to watch the setting sun. As the name suggests, Sunset Beach is famous for its beautiful sunsets, and with Depot Island shops open till after dark, its the perfect way to end an afternoon at Mihama American Village.
Mihama American Village is located 15 kilometers north of Naha on Route 58. Alternatively, catch bus number 28, 29 or 120 from Naha Bus Terminal, get off at the Gunbyoin-mae bus stop, and from there its a 5 minute walk. Shop and restaurant hours do vary, however most shops and restaurants are open from 11:00~21:00 daily. The ferris wheel is open from 11:00~22:00 daily and costs ¥500.
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