Ishigaki Public Market and Euglena Mall

When I recommended a friend from Tokyo to visit the Ishigaki public market (Ishigaki Kousetsu-ichiba), my well-travelled friend quickly dismissed it as the sort of souvenir street catering to tourists.  Indeed, most islanders go to either MaxValue — the modern supermarket chain -—or their local, family-run supermarket for grocery shopping. However,  the public market and the surrounding Euglena Mall are more than tourist-oriented markets-— many hidden gems are deep inside the alley, waiting to be discovered.

The market itself is a three-story building located in the heart of Euglena Mall, which consists of two roofed shopping streets about 400 meters long. Before it was transformed into a modern building, the same place had long been” the kitchen of Yaeyama” where vendors sold fresh seafood and vegetables and buyers came all the way from other outlying islands.
The basement floor is a meat and seafood market, from where you can get certified premium quality Ishigaki beef and Okinawan pork. Unfortunately, unlike the Makishi Public Market in Naha, where you can have your ingredients cooked on the second floor, they don’t offer this service here.
Most tourists would go straight to the souvenir center on 1st floor, where they can shop for all kinds of  local specialties: sea salt made from the ocean of Ishigaki, condiments such as Pipatsu (island pepper), island-chili-oil, Awamori (Okinawa’s regional distilled liquor), miniature of Shisa-lion, Minsa-textile in local patterns and products of the USIO project– a collaboration between Ishigaki city and designers that aim to make local specialties more attractive through creative re-packaging. On a side note, JA’s Yuratiku-ichiba market next to city hall also offers many souvenir choices if you are interested in Okinawan food products.
In the corner of the souvenir center is one of my favorite dessert places for Kokudou-zentai(shaved ice with brown sugar syrup, cooked beans, and sticky rice cake) —Shima-chaya. Note that it’s opening and close hour is different from the market itself.
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Street map of Euglena Mall and Ishigaki Public Market   (Brown lane: main street; Yellow Lane: back street )

On the main street of Euglena mall, there are two music-related spots that could be easily overlooked. The first one is  Used Guitar Shop Marniya that’s located inside the Soba Restaurant Maniya. The owner, the blonde-haired (at least he was last time I met him) Mr. Miyara Yasukuni, is a skillful guitarist and lead guitar in the extremely popular local heavy metal band — BLACK RAIN. If you are lucky, you might get a chance to hear his beautiful play. The shop opens from around 12 or 1 pm and closes around 7-8pm.

Pass through the Soba restaurant, you’ll find the guitar shop in the end.

 Hidden deep in the alley,  Ishigaki’s most historic Jazz bar/ live house — Scarecrow — is definitely not to be missed.  Be ready to be enthralled with their amazing speaker and formidable collection of LP records and CDs, and did I mention that they have one of the fullest collection of Awamori in Yaeyama? Live performance is held irregularly in their basement. Do check their schedule(you can book the ticket in advance through email) in advance.  It’s opened from around 7 pm until 12~1am (depending on the circumstance). It’s usually quiet on weekdays before 10, so you can have the bar exclusively to yourself.
The back street is quieter than the main street, which suits it because it’s where the cultural and artistic shops are concentrated. Yamada Book Store offers the fullest collection of books and CDs related to Okinawa. For you pottery-collectors, Tsuboya is a nice place to buy Okinawa-style pottery — Yachimun, famous for its down-to-earth beauty and usability — from different studios across Okinawa, while Sanpin Koubou displays only their original work that’s inspired by the nature of Yaeyama islands. They also have hand-dyed handkerchief and other handcrafts that you will try your best to squeeze them into your already full luggage.
In case you are hungry, Ramen Yaeyama Style offers good quality Japanese style Ramen (not Yaeyama Soba) that utilizes ingredients from Ishigaki. Too tired from all these shopping and sunbathing on the beach? Take a rest on the tatami sheet community center Yutanku-ya, and read Yaeyama Daily News like a local. Its cozy atmosphere makes it extremely easy to strike up a conversation with strangers; I found my volunteer diving coach here.
 Touristy as it may appear, plenty of good stuff are there for you to discover.

Ishigaki Public Market 石垣島公設市場

(for the market itself, the surrounding shops in Euglena Mall each has its own opening and closing time .)
Closed on
opens everyday
  • Desser place Shima-chaya
  • Used Guitar Shop Marniya
  • Jazz Bar Scarecrow
  • Pottery store Tsuboya
  • Community center “Yutanku-ya
  • Sanpin Koubou Studio
  • Ramen Yaeyama Style
  208 Okawa, Ishigaki
  • Parking is not available inside the mall, but there are many paid parking lots nearby.

2 thoughts on “Ishigaki Public Market and Euglena Mall

  1. We had ramen at Ramen Yaeyama Style and had great bawl of tasty ramen – one was with minced meat- and the other one with vegetables and bonito broth – it was super tasty and great place to start a day if you sleep till 11 like we did:) I think it opens at noon- than we took a ferry to Taketomi island and were bathing on Kondoi Beach 🙂

    1. Sounds like an ideal day in Yaeyama! I know the boss of Ramen Yaeyama Style. In fact I have been doing some translation work for them and I like their Bonito broth based ramen with Okinawan Seequaza lime 🙂

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