The area in Chatan, Okinawa is known as American Village is an entertainment complex for the residents to experience an American-themed shopping and dining experience.
The history of Chatan’s American Village
The town of Chatan is in the central part of Okinawa Island. It’s on the west coast of the island and right on the East China Sea. Dating back to World War II, the United States military has covered a little more than half of the area with bases. These bases mean there are a lot of Americans and their families that live there.
American Village was built in 1998 and was modeled after the American west coast. Built to have the same look like a San Diego shopping mall on a street with palm trees and brick streets, it has expanded over the years.
There are two hotels, a nightclub, an area for restaurants, an area for shopping, a bowling alley, and a theater complex.
You can shop for souvenirs and listen to concerts and even spend time shopping for the latest clothing fashions.
This village serves as a nostalgic place for Americans to go that feels a bit like home and can make others feel like they are visiting the States.
Depot Island has several restaurants, shops, and cafes and is the main hub of Mihama American Village. Depot Island is a big, labyrinthine shopping area that contains five buildings. The buildings are lettered A, B, C, D, and E.
The views in the American village are spectacular and to get an even better view you can take a ride on the Ferris wheel and check out the views from there.
Whether it’s day or night, the view of the beach and especially when it’s lit up at night is a sight to see from the Ferris wheel. The twinkling lights below are truly magical.
The Ferris wheel is 196 feet high and it’s also amazing to see when lit up at night.
The Ferris Wheel
The Ferris wheel is called SKYMAX 60. It’s hard to miss as it stands 60 meters or 196 feet high and is located on the third floor of Carnival Park.
There’s a reason the beach is named sunset beach; because it’s a great place to see a sunset. Facing west, you couldn’t ask for a better view when the sun goes down.
It also has shallow water and soft sand for walking and playing along the beach with the entire family. Swim the day away on the beach and enjoy the sunset at the end of your day.
With so many restaurants to choose from, which one should you pick?
While many are American restaurants, there are also some Japanese restaurants to choose from and other types of cuisine as well, such as Indian, South American, Thai, and Italian.
There’s also great craft beer from local breweries as well, such as Okinawa Brewing Company and Chatan Harbor Brewery. There are some beers from American breweries too.
Bollywood Jewel is an Indian restaurant. This award-winning restaurant opened in 2017 and features traditional Indian dishes and a feel of the Indian movie industry.
For a traditional Okinawan-style dinner, Rinken’s Kitchen is a relaxing environment to eat delicious Japanese food.
For an American-style sports grill complete with large screen televisions, go to Cheers Bar and enjoy what are said to be the best wings you’ll ever eat.
If you’d like to go to an American-style restaurant and to feel like you’re back in the 80s, go to Steakhouse 88 for a steak, salad bar, and some Blue Seal ice cream to round out the dinner.
If you’d like to go back even further in time, Sunrise is a retro 50s style American diner. Their specialty is the Philly cheesesteak served with a friendly attitude.
For a casual Mexican meal with vegetarian and vegan options, go to Tacos and Coffee. Featuring a salsa bar and free wifi, they have lattes as well as alcoholic beverages.
If shopping interests you, there’s plenty to be found.
There are some local shops with Japanese and western-style clothing and home fashions.
Then there’s AEON, a mall which is opposite the Ferris wheel, where you can find pretty much anything you would need.
Spread out over four floors, there are restaurants, a pet shop, groceries, and fast-food restaurants. There’s a beautiful fish tank on the first floor and you can go to the bakery or do some clothes shopping or children’s items.
This is a great place for an entire family to spend the day and never tire of the different things you can do. There is something for everyone here, especially if you’re an American and accustomed to shopping at malls, you will feel right at home here.
American Village is located in central Okinawa about 9 miles north of Naha. It takes about 30 minutes to reach it by car.
You can take the bus from Naha Bus Terminal to Mihama American Village. It will take 40 minutes and cost 740 yen.
There is also a movie theater called the Mihama Seven plex and it shows movies in both English and Japanese.
There is a rich art scene and you can see it for yourself at the Akara Gallery and the Bokunen Art Museum. Both of these have been located in the village since 2010.
These are both located in a building with an unusual wave-shaped roof called the Akara Building, which is adjacent to Depot Island. The Akara building was designed by Bokunen Naka and was based on traditional Okinawan motifs.
Bokunen Naka is best known as a printmaker but works in several other media types. He is a native Okinawan, born there on Izena Island in 1953.
The Akara Gallery features works by other artists as well as Bokunen himself. They also sell a myriad of art merchandise.
There are plenty of small parking lots available throughout the village. There is also a large parking complex across from AEON and 7 plex.
Virtual Tour Of American Village In Okinawa