Walking in the back streets of Naha Kokusai Dori is like getting lost in a labyrinth.
As soon as you step in, the line that defines public and private space becomes blurred.
You never know if the things put out in a tiny street kiosk are on sale or just part of the vendor’s collection.
Amid this chaotic display, I came across something altogether unexpected; books.
"Urara" is in intellectual corner of a tiny market street full of tropical fruits and fish. The store has neither an entrance door or walls; it is literally made out of bookshelves.In and amongst all those, were a young woman and middle-aged man chatting away, so laid back you could almost feel like you had stumbled into their living room.
The woman was the owner of Urara, Tomoko Uda, and the man she was talking to was the editor of a publishing company in Naha. Urara specializes in books about Okinawan culture and history. Tomoko used to work at Jyunkudo (one of the largest chain book stores in Japan) but her passion to collect books about Okinawa pushed her to open a used bookstore at the heart of Okinawan culture.
Currently, she is holding a number of literature events, such as collecting used books from Okinawan artists and displaying them with comments and annotations.
If you want to find a rare history record about Okinawa, look for a cute owl holding a book, somewhere of Kokusai Dori.
Also, to be found at Urara is the “Naha Art Map.” AS I’ve already mentioned, Naha is a maze, so in order not to miss out any hotspots, grab this map at Urara before heading out!
The map is free and Urara is located at Ichiba hon douri, Naha.