Cultural Activities

沖縄そば Okinawa Soba Cooking Class - Saturday, January 16th

What is Okianwa Soba, you might be thinking? Okinawa Soba is chewy noodles, soaked in delicious pork and fish broth, Okinawan Soba is a comfort and soul food to many Okinawans. This classic Okinawan noodle soup is a savory mix of umami tastes including tender stewed pork belly, slices of fish cake, chopped green onion, and red pickled ginger. You now have the opportunity to learn how to cook this dish!

We will go to the Onna Culture School to learn from Ayano-Sensei. Ayano-san is a certified first-class dietary education instructor through the Non-Profit Organization Japan Dietary Education Instructor Association. She is Nutritionist educator and has been teaching the art of Okinawan cooking for many years throughout various organizations in Okinawa. She is currently teaching Okinawans and school children how to prepare the local produce and meats in a fun way.

Ayano-Sensei believes Ryukyu cuisine is one of the keys to longevity and she is passionate about sharing the traditions of her culture with you. Come use your hands and have fun learning how to make soba noodles from scratch and how you prepare the pork for the famous Okinawan Soba. 

Date: 2021 January 16th – Saturday

Time: 10:00am 1:00pm

Location: Onna Village Fureai Experience Learning Center 5973 Onna, Onna-village, Kunigami District, Okinawa 904-0411

You must be able provide your own transportation to and from the event location.

Student Cooking Class Fee: 1,800 JPY | 参加費 学生:1,800円

Non-Student Cooking Fee: 3,500 JPY | 参加費 学生以外:3,500円

Please bring payment in full (cash) to the Recreation Services office after registration. Please note, space is limited to 12 people, so we will need payment in two business days after your registration to reserve your spot in the kitchen. And Yes... you get to eat what you make.


Please note: Ingredients for the cooking workshop include: Flour, Eggs, Pork, Soy Sauce, Awamori, and sugar, Dried fish flakes.


Birding in Okinawa 101 – Field trip - Sunday, January 17th

Have you ever wondered who is making those sounds in the trees above or maybe in the Taro fields?

Birding is a great skill and a healthy hobby. When you start recognizing birds around you, you might find yourself more perceptive of other things. You might notice sounds you previously overlooked. You might start to notice small details in your surroundings, like individual insects, trees, fruits, and flowers. You might find yourself more in tune with the passing of the seasons. Birding can be a gateway into recognizing and appreciating a wider world that was there all along. Our guides (Nick and Margaret) will be available on this tour to help you identify the birds that we see and share tips and tricks for locating birds.

If you are curious about common Okinawan birds, then come join us in learning and identifying the birds of Okinawa.

Advance registration is mandatory so that we can prepare Bird Identification Guides and have a list of attendees for OIST to ensure there is sufficient information for contract tracing if necessary.

Attendance at one location or both locations is your choice. You chose what you have time for. Please note, this activity is kid-friendly (elementary school age and up). Please no dogs... they scare aware the birds.

Date: Sunday, January 17th

9:30am- 10:30am

1st Location Kanna Dam (google directions)

11:00am – 12:00pm

2nd Location Kin Taro Field (google directions)

What you Need

  • Pen or Pencil
  • Binoculars (if you can, but not necessary)
  • Transportation
  • Hat, H20, clothes and supplies to be outdoors walking

What will be provided

  • Bird Watching Identification Guide
  • Knowledgeable tour guides to teach you about the birds and how to identify the individual songs of each species.
  • Spotting Scope to share

Registration is CLOSED. If you missed this birding 101 registration, we will offer another in the near future.


BYOP Bring Your Own Project - Art and Craft Night - Friday, February 5th

Do you have an unfinished art project at home? Do you want to start a new art project? Need a little motivation, music and pehaps a few art supplies to share?

Come join the group to work on your project or help someone with their project.

Date: Friday, February 5th

Time: 6:00PM - 9:00PM

Location: OIST Conference Center Meeting Room 1

Registration is required for contract tracing purposes and for room limitations. We can host up to 30 poeple inside the room.

Masks will be required and there will be plenty of alcohol sanitizer.


World Heritage Nakijin Castle Day Trip - February 6th

Rain date: If the weather does not cooperate on the 6th, then we will move the day trip to the 11th of February. All registered people will be notified via email the morning before departure.

Come celebrate spring and see Okinawa's first Sakura bloom. The cherry blossoms of Nakijin Gusuku are famous for blooming late in February and for their intense pink color. Enjoy the sites of these Sakura as you walk through the Nakijin Castle.

The Okinawan Sakura that blooms earliest in Japan! The Sakura in Okinawa are darker pink than the Sakura in main land Japan. It is a type called Kanhizakura. The type of Sakura in main land Japan is called Someiyoshino and the temperature at the time of blooming is around 5° C so it cannot be seen in Okinawa. Hikanzakura is a type of Sakura that blooms at around 15° C, so it is suitable for Okinawa.

Student Cost is: 100  ¥

Non-Student Cost is: 320 ¥

Day trip includes chartered bus and entry fee to the castle and museum.

Registration is open to 20 people and transportation is provided.

We will spend 2 hours at the castle

Date: Saturday, February 6th

Rain date: Thursday, February 11th

Time Frame

Departure from OIST Auditorium 9:00am

Arrive at Nakijin: 10:00am

Depart from Nakijin: 12:15pm (there will be no extra drop offs on the way back. The bus will only go to the castle and back to OIST).


Naha, Okianwa Day Trip - Saturday, February 20th

This is a wonderful opportunity if you are foreigner to Japan. The Naha Tourism Association is working with Recreation Services at OIST to gather foreign perspectives in learning about Okinawa. This is a Japanese Government project on giving tours in English and they want to improve the service. If you are a foreigner and want to see more of Okinawa free of charge, please consider this opportunity. 

This day trip is FREE to all OIST members foreign to Japan (including students, faculty, staff and family members).

To reserve your registration, there will need to place a deposit of 1,000 JPY. This will be returned to you the day of travel.

Transportation is provided to Naha from OIST campus.

Numbers are limited, so registration is required.

You will need to fill out a survey and answer questions from the tour guide on your way back to campus regarding your experience.


Tour #1: Guided English Tour of Shuri Castle (Open to 20 people ONLY. First come first served).

Saturday, February 20th

Bus Leaves OIST auditorium at 10:00am and arrives to Shuri Castle approximately 11:00am

Shuri Castle Tour from 11:15-12:45pm

Bus Departs Shuri Castle at 13:00 and arrives back at OIST approximately 14:00


Tour #2 (14 people):  Guided English Tour of the Naha, Tsuboya Pottery area (Open to 14 people ONLY First come first served).

Tour #2 (14 people) will go visit the Tsuyoba Pottery Village and learn about the history.

Bus Leaves OIST auditorium at 14:30 and arrives at location in Naha at 15:30

Tour of the Tsuyoba Pottery Village is from 16:00-17:30

Bus leaves at 17:45 back to OIST.


Tour #3 (6 People) Guided English Tour of the historical Kokusai Dori and go eat at an Izakaya. (Open to 6 people ONLY First come first served).

*Bring shopping money, but your food at the Izakaya is FREE.

*If you have food allergens, this tour is not recommended.


Bus Leaves OIST auditorium at 14:30 and arrives at location in Naha at 15:30

Tour of Kokusai Dori and food at the local Izakaya is from 16:00 until 17:30

Leave Kokusai Dori area at 17:45 to OIST (return time is approximately 18:45)

Masks are required on this trip (including inside the bus and at each location).

Please register here and pick your Guided Tour.


Outdoor Movie Night - Kiki's Delivery Service Friday, February 26th

6:00pm start time in the Village Center

This movie is about a young witch who goes off on her own for the first time with only her cat Jiji as a companion. Together they explore a new city and Kiki learns what is it like to be on her own for the first time. Come sit outside and join us in this small movie. Movie will be played in Japanese with English subtitles.

Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum Day Trip - March 21st


The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum is a museum in the most southern prefecture of Japan. The museum complex in the Omoro-machi area of Naha, the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture. It opened in November 2007, and includes art, history, and natural history museums focusing specifically on Okinawan topics.

Day trip includes chartered bus and entry fee to the museum.

Date: March 21st

Time: TBA

Student Cost is: TBA

Non-Student Cost is: TBA


Sanshin Classes (Thursdays)

Satsuki Agena - Sensei

Satsuki was born in Okinawa City and started to study and perform sanshin at the age of 8. She joined Ryukyu Classical Music Preservation Nomura Style Association and started learning Ryukyuan traditional music at the age of 16. She won the Top Prize and certified in teaching the sanshin when she was a university student. After graduating university, she went to Canada for study abroad and recognized the beauty of Okinawan culture. Satsuki-san won the Grand Prize last August in the Performing Arts Contest in Sanshin area hosted by Okinawa Times. She is exploring the potential of sanshin to spread Okinawan culture using the sanshin that was handed down from her grandfather and aunt.

Her certification and awards include: Grand Prize in the Performing Arts Contest in Sanshin area hosted by Okinawa Times / Certified in teaching sanshin / Completed a Bachelor Degree at University of Calgary, Canada

Session 1 -Beginners : Thursdays 6:30-7:30pm Ocean View Room 

Session 2 -Intermediate: Thursdays 7:45-8:45pm Ocean View Room

Please email if you are interested in joining this class and she will let you know what session has availability.