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Food quality drops Okinawa in the latest tourism survey

Date Posted: 2006-08-25

Okinawa is a great place to visit, but tourists don’t care for the local foods.

A new tourism study asking about the best tourist locales in Japan put Okinawa high in a number of categories, but certainly not on the culinary delights page. The Japan Research Center sampled tourists in April, asking about the best places to travel.

Hitomi Tamaoki says Okinawa ranked #1 in a couple categories, including hospitality and friendly treatment. Okinawa’s beaches and sightseeing opportunities were also ranked top notch.

The survey touched on seven aspects of tourism, with Okinawa ranking in the top three of six categories. Costs of vacationing on Okinawa were favorable, as were the number of quality childrens’ facilities, pools, playgrounds and amusement parks. The Churaumi Aquarium and beaches ranked high as well, as did Duty Free Shopping and an international atmosphere.

Food was Okinawa’s Achilles heel. Okinawa ranked 33rd out of 45 Japanese prefectures, and while it has more restaurants per capita than even Tokyo, the competition is intense and the quality not too good. Mainland tourists didn’t like the strong tastes of Okinawa foods.

“Okinawa foods are too oily, too salty, and too thick”, according to survey respondents.

Mainland Japanese foods don’t use so much salt or oil, the surveys noted, and cream is simply too heavy. The surveys indicated Okinawa needs to learn to make good foods.

The survey, which used the internet to reach a wide range of individuals, touched respondents 20~79 years of age. More than 20,000 surveys were completed, answering questions about 2005 travel experiences.

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