Most people out sightseeing along Okinawa’s southeast coast know that if they get a hankering for some really tasty fresh tempura, Ou-Jima, is the place to get it! This tiny island community is renowned for the tempura shop located right at the bridge as you come onto the island. Unless you’re blind or just totally freaking “stoopid,” you can’t miss it! Just look for the long lines of folks standing in the hot sun waiting to satisfy their hunger pangs with some of that delightfully delectably delicious batter coated goodness this little island community is famous for.
It only makes sense that fresh fish and squid would be on the menu because Ou-Jima is a fishing community. Similarly, the many nearby farms likewise assure that only the freshest vegetables go into the various “yasai” vegetable tempura concoctions they make there too.
What most folks don’t know is that the tempura shop located at the bridge isn’t the only tempura shop on the island that’s worth the trouble to go visit when you’re down that way and your tummy starts to grumble. The Oshiro Tempura shop offers up some pretty tasty treats of their own and although it may not be the first place you see when you go there, it’s definitely worth seeing.
To get there, drive out to Ou-Jima and when you cross the main bridge (only bridge for that matter) onto the island, make a right turn and follow this road around the perimeter of the island till you see the place pictured above!
They offer twelve different varieties of tempura with Sakana “fish” and Ikka “squid” topping the menu. You might also want to try the Yasai or “mixed vegetable” tempura and the Imo or “sweet potato” which are always a favorite. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always try the Goya “bitter melon” (marked in Red) which is an Okinawan staple and the mozuku “seaweed” tempura is worth a taste too.
While the menu pictured here is in the Japanese "Kana" on a previous visit, I did notice they had "Engrish" versions of it too. To make your order, just use one of the pen's provided and mark down how many you want of each type, pay the little gal with the gorgeous smile and they'll give you a number. Then just grab yourself a drink from one of the many vending machines nearby, take a seat and listen up for your number to be called as they'll call it out when your order is ready. Word of advice, know the Japanese number system or when she gives it to you point to it and ask the gal "nani?"
The Oshiro family has a simple business plan. Serving up delicious home made tempura at one rediculously low price. All the tempura is low priced at 60 Yen a piece, everything is large sized so you get more than you pay for and all of it is, as the Japanese say, Oishi or delicious!
They even offer two varieties of Zenzai, a cool Okinawan style dessert, to choose from and the outdoor seating, though somewhat trashy looking, does sort of add to the sleepy island ambiance of the place. Located right on the perimeter road, there’s a nice ocean view, an ocean breeze and with the trees, plenty of shade to keep you cool on a sweltering summer day.
If I could sum it all up in a short sentence, it would be: The Oshiro Tempura shop on Ou-Jima is ichi-ban Oishi!