For the month of February, Wowbox is celebrating Japan's own slice of paradise, Okinawa! This chain of islands located on the far southwestern side of the nation features a mix of natural and man-made wonder, complete with some of the best weather in the country.
Topping it all off — and the reason why we want to spotlight the region with our boxes for the second month of 2021 — Okinawa boasts some of the most unique ingredients and foods anywhere in the archipelago. That carries over to their snacks, too.
A Place In The Sun
Okinawa consists of 113 islands in the Pacific Ocean, located in the southwest corner of the country. From Tokyo, it takes about three hours by airplane to get to the capital, Naha, located on the main island. From there, it’s easy to take flights to the other islands in the area, or even access them by ferry.
This area has an especially rich — albeit somewhat troubled — history. The chain of islands were originally known as the Ryukyu Islands, and was home of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Once independent, Ryukyu eventually came under Japanese rule and, over the centuries, morphed from an independent region with close ties to an annexed prefecture, renamed Okinawa.
Okinawa is influenced by three cultures: China, Japan, and America
This forced merger made many upset, and led to long-simmering tension between the residents of the island with the Japanese government. Okinawa became a pivotal space — and eventually bloody battleground — during World War II, featuring intense fighting that lead thousands upon thousands dead. After the war ended, the U.S. occupied Okinawa, and even today maintains a heavy military presence on the islands, spurring much tension among locals, who tend to be very proud of their heritage.
Over the years, that Okinawan pride has become even more mainstream, with performers like Namie Amuro proudly showcasing her Okinawan heritage, turning a place once seen as a backwater into a destination for cool.
Beautiful Ocean, Warm Weather, And Nature
The number of unique attractions in Okinawa can be truly intimidating, and one’s itinerary is going to be dictated by your interests. If you are an outdoors type, Okinawa boasts some of the best opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving in Japan, especially around Zamami near the main island.
Same goes for all water sports, which can be enjoyed across the prefecture. For those wanting to enjoy the ocean without getting wet, a trip to Okinawa Churami Aquarium is in order. Looking for a true 'island' experience? There are many islands you can visit in Okinawa, and each has its own unique nature scenery.
For example, iromote island, which is also known as a 'hidden gem' of Okinawa, is 2nd largest to the Okinawa Island. Interesting fact: One of the worlds critically endangered wild cats, Iriomote cat, are its residents.
Okinawa is home to one of the most special culinary scenes not just in Japan, but in all of the world. Based on its geographical location, the island chain has developed its own set of go-to ingredients that are rich in minerals.
Some of the region’s most famous exports include the tropical fruits, 8 islands black sugar, the rich purple sweet potato (beni imo), island chili pepper (shima togarashi), juicy Okinawa lime (shikuwasa), high-quality salt and wheat flour, and so much more.
As you’d expect, these ingredients and ideas find a way into snacks from and inspired by the island. Let’s highlight one great example -- beni imo, purple sweet potato!
A Popular Sweet Potato Treat From The Islands!
Okinawa’s Okashigoten makes a particularly tasty tart using the famous purple beni-imo, a type of sweet potato that has come to define the culinary taste of the island chain.
What exactly is Beni-Imo? Why is it purple?
What is Okinawa Beniimo? It's a close family to Ube, but with additional nutrient Anthocyanins that can eliminate free radicals in the body in the most natural way and are even known as the seventh essential nutrient. The natural purple color is derived from the anthocyanin too.
Rich In Nutrient & Crumbly Like Chestnut!
In addition to preventing diseases, anthocyanins are also known as edible cosmetics! It has vitamin A, vitamin C and other minerals. It is an excellent food for adults and children.
When roasted or steamed whole, they’re gently sweet and crumbly like taro or chestnut! The attractive color and its soft and dense taste, many souvenirs and desserts made with beni-imo have been introduced in Okinawa.
Okashigoten - The Original Beni-Imo Tart in Okinawa
Okashigoten storefront in Okinawa
This time we have selected the most popular beni-imo tart, made by Okashigoten, that you'll see in every local stores in Okinawa!
Winner of the Monde Selection Gold Award for the sixth consecutive year, this original beni-imo tart is baked without using preservatives or coloring.
An exquisite combination of a paste made from 100% purple sweet potatoes from Okinawa and a tart dough baked with a unique composition.
This confection packs the sharp taste of the Okinawa speciality into a crispy tart, making it a great way to experience the area’s flavors from home. Indulge yourself with delicious, delicate, and pretty Okinawa signature beni-imo tart!
An Archipelago Of Great Taste
With its rich history and diverse selection of food, Okinawa stands out amongst Japan’s culinary delights. With this month’s Tabi Box, you can get a taste of what this region has to offer wherever you are. Get your Tabi Box by clicking here.
BONUS SNACK CAMPAIGN
*UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2021
Starting from this month, we are taking you on an adventure of exploring Japan's 47 prefecture's unique flavors, one city at a time! Upcoming themes are: Sakura April Box and Kyoto May Box. To celebrate, we are having Bonus Snack Campaign to the subscription plan, plus up to $10 OFF! Details applied to both Tabi Box and Omiyage Box.
1 Month Plan: Tropical Coconut Pocky + Pochinyan Kyoto Cat Shaped Cookie
We've upgraded to 2 Bonus Snacks for both boxes' 1-Month Plan!
Coconut Pocky: These dried coconut crips covered by rich chocolate will transport you to the sunshine and beach as if you are in Okinawa with every bite!
Kyoto Cat Cookies: Let these cute Kyoto cat shaped cookie bring a smile to your face! One cat & one package design will be randomly picked as your bonus snack.
Subscribe by 2/28 & Two Bonus Snacks Will Automatically Add to Your 1st Box.
3 Month Plan: Kyoto Kimono Cookie Box + $3 OFF
What is the better way to bring a little Kyoto flare to your life than these cute kimono shaped chocolate cookies? One box has three different designed patterns kimono cookies, and you'll get a whole box as bonus snack for 3-month plan!
Additional $3 OFF code: OKINAWA3
6 Month Plan: Kyoto Cat & Kimono Cookie Box + $10 OFF
Don't know which Kyoto cookies to choose? Well, how about just get both! If you subscribe 6 Month Plan by 2/28, you'll get Kyoto Cat Cookie + Kyoto Kimono Cookie Box in your 1st box. Plus, enjoy additional $10 OFF just to make it easier for you!
Extra $10 OFF code: 6OKINAWA
Take advantage of this bonus snack campaign & Start your journey to Japan with us now!
Click here to learn Okinawa's history, culture, famous ingredients, and must go & must eat.
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