We had a quick chat with Yuko Nakamura to see what she had to say about life in Ishigaki, and how it inspires her creativity as a restaurateur…
What drove you to establish your restaurant, Nakamuraya?
I’m originally from the mainland of Japan, and for some reason I’ve always wanted to live somewhere completely natural and grow organic vegetables by myself. So that’s why I moved to Ishigaki, a place I could have my own garden, and establish my own restaurant.
The reason why I chose ‘curry’ as my restaurant’s main dish was for the simple truth that you can put as many vegetables as you want in it. It’s a dish I have good knowledge of, having written books about it in the past and having many friends who cooked it well. I was determined to create a dish that incorporated lots of spices to reflect the temperature of Ishigaki.
If we could only sample one local dish whilst on the island, what would you recommend?
Marinated island vegetables and stir-fried island vegetables.
Where is your favourite place to take a dip?
Yonehara shore in Ishigaki Island, and some of the beaches on the Taketomi and Iriomote islands.
Where would you recommend going to learn a little island history?
Yaima Mura (History Park)
What distinguishes Ishigaki from other islands in the archipelago?
It’s a nice lifestyle amongst pure and untouched natural beauty.
If we only had 12 hours to enjoy Ishigaki, how would you recommend we spend them?
Get to know the locals as best you can. They’re the people that will show you the real Ishigaki.
Where is your favourite view point on the island?
When you go up from the port to Barabido farm and get close to the gate of the farm, the wide view of the beautiful sky and mountains will be right before you. It almost looks like rural France. Alternatively, if you go to the tip of the cape from the Kabira area, you can see another Peninsula over the beautiful dark blue ocean. It’s breath-taking.