Inshallah in Naha, Japan


Kokusai-dōri is the main shopping strip of Naha, Okinawa, a perpetually packed mile of souvenir shops and traditional restaurants. In the midst of this busy, highly touristic area, one quirky café continues to be an oasis from the crowds for locals.

Founded in 1974, Inshallah is a world apart from the modern-tropical Okinawa outside. As you descend the steps into the underground, you will be transported to an Arabian coffeehouse, complete with Moorish arches and tangerine lamplights, Turkish rugs, and copperware.

As expected, the menu is unlike most other cafes in Japan. Sure enough, there are typical coffees, teas. and floats, but also Turkish and Arabic coffee (with dates, even!), as well as Russian-style coffee and borscht—a gourmet tour encompassing West Asia. If you’re seeking something local, sanpin-cha is an Okinawan variant of jasmine tea.

The subterranean floor is surprisingly spacious. Locals constantly hop in for a cup of coffee and lounge at the counter for a bit, a steady stream of customers seeking some quiet time. All in all, Inshallah is a retro coffeehouse of an unusual kind rarely found in Japan, much less in Okinawa, an oasis to be if you’d prefer a local haunt over a typical tourist attraction.





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