Oyatsumura Store and Black Sugar Factory
Okinawa has its own history and culture, which is reflected in the foods you'll find here. Since Okinawa is so far to the south, you will also find that many of the fields are filled with satokibi, or sugarcane. It might not surprise you then that one of Okinawa's local treats is a kind of Black Sugar candy made directly from the juice of sugar cane plants.
On Kume Island, the Oyatsumura shop continues the tradition of handmade black sugar candy. For the past ten years, Mr. Kome and his family have been making Black Sugar from their own harvest of sugarcane.
Originally started with a pot in a garden, over the years Oyatsumura has built up to include a small factory where they produce sugar twice a week through the satokibi harvesting season (January through April).
Store and Factory
Oyatsumura is located in the Higa district north of Eef beach along the main road that circles Kumejima. You can most easily find it by searching out the Enos Gas Station in that part of Kume. It is located on the other side of the intersection.
- Address: 88 Higa, Kumejima-cho, Okinawa-ken, 901-3108 Japan
- Phone: 090-985-8115
- Products: Black Sugar Candy, locally-made shisa, other local gifts and omiyage
The black sugar candy comes in three sizes:
- Small- 210 yen
- Medium- 525 yen
- Large- 840 yen
You can also find the black sugar candy at the local JA COOP Store, Gyomu Super, and at the Airport.
Behind the main store, there is a separate building nestled next to a sugarcane field where they make the black sugar candy twice a week. They welcome visitors, but since they only make batches of black sugar from time to time, they ask you call to make a reservation. The store is open most days.
Making Black Sugar
The process of making the sugar candy is interesting in its subtle complexity. Essentially the candy is a distillation of the sugarcane juice, but in practice, a lot more goes into it. I was invited to the factory to observe the creation of some of this delicious sugar. I will soon have a more in-depth look at the process on MoreThingsJapanese.com.
One difference you will find is that this handmade black sugar is a bit softer than other brands you might find. This is because Mr.Kome and his family work hard to ensure a great consistency during the cooling process. Call or stop by to order!
Three types of Kokuto! Squares from a cooling tray, blocks from the bottom of the pans, and slices from the side of the 'nabe.' This latter Fuchi kokuto is the most sought after and delicious.