I know that, on occasion, it can be hard to find great food in a foreign country. Especially if you want say….a pizza. You can search high, and you can search low. You can search all day for that one delicious slice. Come with me and you will see that the best place for pie, is in the sky. Pizza in the Sky that is!
Pizza in the Sky
I know it’s a bit of a drive to get there, but I’m okay with that. The expressway, although no longer free, is still the best route. If you’re a total cheapskate and insist on avoiding the expressway think about it this way: You can sit in traffic on 58 playing an automobile version of “red light, green light” for a few hours while masses of ravenous pizza eaters devour the days inventory of corn, or, you can jump on the expressway and fork over a few hundred yen and beat everyone else to the delicacy locally known here as: the pizza. The choice is yours; however, I’m willing to bet that if you have kids in the car with you that you’ll do anything to make the trip faster. Or is that only if you have my kids in the car with you?!
There are a lot of mixed reviews on the pizza served at Pizza in the Sky. In fact, in my awesome family of five only one little naysayer didn’t care for his pizza. The biggest hangup for him was the cheese. Which brings me to an important point….Japanese cheese is simply not the same as American cheese. For my hungry monster, a case of the crankies had already taken up a stronghold in him and he wouldn’t have eaten his pizza if it was made out of ice cream and Pez. So, keeping that in mind: four out of five Bredlow’s recommend the pizza. 🙂
Once you arrive you’ll walk down a path that feels a bit like you’re walking up to someone’s back door. It might have been their back door at one point in time; however, it is now the entrance to the restaurant. If the weather is nice I suggest sitting outside. We walked around the grounds (yard?) and enjoyed the amazing views they had from their location atop the mountain. Although it wasn’t too busy when we were there, I can imagine that with views like this it could get packed in a hurry on nice days (especially at sunset)!
The waiting area at Pizza in the Sky. That's Ie-Jima behind Bruce. I have no idea what Trey is doing with his eyes in this picture....
Alright, before you can walk around and enjoy the views you need to get your name on the list. Well, I think it’s a list. It’s all in Japanese and whatever we did worked because we were sat at a table. 🙂 If it is nice outside the staff will most likely be waiting outside to take your seating preference information. On not so lovely days, just remove your shoes and go inside. They will be more than happy to help you out from inside the main restaurant. My suggestion: opt to eat outside.
We were seated in under ten minutes from our arrival. That gave the boys a chance to use their restrooms and look around outside. Their restrooms are unisex and both share one sink; however, they really feel like you are just using the bathroom at a friend’s house. I digress; under the outdoor tables are bug candles. I only noticed them because the boys did. So don’t worry about smelling them and kicking them over. The staff has done a great job at making them all but disappear. I almost forgot to mention, the outdoor eating area is covered by a wooden pergola and has shades they can pull down depending on the wind and sun.
Basically it’s like any other restaurant here in Okinawa, except much bigger. There is one or two menus that they share amongst all the tables so please try to order expeditiously. I forgot to grab a picture (next visit I’ll get it) but the menu is on a traditional Japanese fan. English on one side, Japanese on the other. Your menu options are: pizza (duh!), salad, drinks. You can choose from their standard list as to what you want on your pizza. Some of the items may seem odd, but I assure you, they tasted amazing on pizza!
I highly recommend ordering a salad with your meal. Their salad was amazing! Sure, it looked like a bowl of freshly picked weeds but it tasted so good! The meals are family style, that is, you order one thing and it is meant to feed several people. As for beverages, my family drank a lot of water; however, Trygg and I can’t go anywhere without having some Mango juice. Theirs was served on ice and I nearly had to restrain Trygg so that he wouldn’t drink my juice too. There are no free refills on the juice – the water, however; is an endless supply. They put a pitcher next to Bruce at our table.
Look at the dishes they serve you on?!
Yep, we eat salad with chopsticks!
I was a bit nervous one of the boys would break the fine china. We made it through our meal with no china injured as a result of our presence. Thank God too because I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to start apologizing for that in Japanese!
Trygg chugging his Mango juice...he has mine at the ready to guzzle next.
We ordered two pizzas for the five of us: one of each size offered. We got the small one for us and had almost every topping put on it (none of the fishy ones); the other pizza we ordered for the boys and only had cheese put on that one. Now, when I say only had cheese put on it I should clarify that it doesn’t mean cheese only as the topping. You see, at Pizza in the Sky they put corn on everything. I know what you’re thinking…”Corn?! On my pizza?! No way am I going to eat that!!!” I know it. I thought it was a crazy plan too.
I have to admit, I was quite nervous to take a bite out of my first slice. But then it hit me: I’m at Pizza in the Sky. That’s close to heaven right?! Anything this close to heaven has got to taste good! And boy let me tell you, it was amazing! I am not a huge fan of pizza to begin with, which could explain why I enjoyed their salad so much. 🙂 But I ate like at least three slices. That’s two more than I normally eat. Granted they are Japanese sized slices, but the point is still the same: I ate a lot of food.
The pizza Bruce and I shared.
Let’s see…we had cheese, pepperoni, onions, peppers (red and green), and corn on our pizza. I’m telling you, that corn really made a difference. This pizza was so good!
This is the boys cheese pizza (notice the corn on it?!)!
The kids enjoyed their pizza too. I know Trey eats a lot so this isn’t a great example…but he ate a TON of pizza! It really was quite good. I don’t know if it is the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my life; however, it is some of the best pizza I’ve had in quite some time. Trygg was the only finicky one and he was just plain old cranky from the get go. I think he’ll enjoy it more on our next visit.
So the staff when we were there didn’t speak the best English, but they spoke enough that we could kind of understand what they wanted without having to play a game of charades with them. Although in hind sight, that might have been a fun game and I bet we could have gotten the other customers in on it with us too. Hmmm…I’ll have to keep that in my back pocket for our next visit too. Anyway, because of the large language barrier they accidentally brought us out a second small cheese pizza (bringing our total pizza orders up to three!!) and they insisted we take it home with us…free of charge.
Did they know who they were talking to?! This family is not one to turn down a free meal (or a portion of a meal). And as evidenced by the next picture….someone was in heaven!
Trey and his pile of free food.
I should point out that he had that entire pizza eaten before we got back to our house. And yes, he had just eaten nearly an entire pizza while at the restaurant. And a bag of pretzels in the car on the way to the restaurant.
Overall, I highly recommend Pizza in the Sky. If you make the trip up there for the one time experience and never return, I’m certain you won’t be disappointed. If you are up on the Motobu Peninsula it’s a great place to sneak off to and grab a bite to eat. The service was impressive and they were crazy fast! An important note though: they only take yen. No dollars (go figure, duh) and no credit or debit.
Hopefully I have you convinced to drive up there and give it a try if you haven’t already. Now let me tell you how to get there and trust me when I say: “Follow these directions EXACTLY as I put them.” We drove up there with my mom when she was in town and never found it. We had missed one turn and subsequently ended up by Nakajin Castle. After going back and actually finding it….we were crazy close the first time! 😉
Directions (remember, follow them exactly as I have them):
Go out Kadena gate 2 and get on the expressway heading towards Nago (that would be going north). Stay on the expressway until it ends and turns into 58. I think the fee from Kadena to Nago is 700 or 750 yen. Suck it up and pay it. The time you save on the expressway is so worth 700 yen.
Expressway heading north (Nago), then:
Left on 84 West (same turn as Pineapple Park)
Set your odometer to zero and drive 11.7 KM
Right on highway 115 towards Nakajin (if you actually get to Nakajin you’ve gone way, way, way, way to far)
Set the odometer to zero again and drive .9 KM
You’ll go up a rather steep hill and pass some turtle graves (tombs). Keep your eyes open for a Y/fork in the road. It’s not a crazy obvious one, but it is important because you turn right at it. This is the turn I missed so pay attention!!!
At the fork look for this sign (and it isn’t that big). Well, not this exact sign. This picture is from the next turn…the sign you’ll be looking for has the arrow pointing the other direction:
This is the road sign pointing the way. As you can see, it is likely to be hidden behind cars.
Ok, so you made the right turn at the fork in the road after seeing a sign similar to the one above. From that point drive about 200 meters and you’ll see that the road T’s. The above sign is from that intersection. If you are paying attention to the post you’ll already know that you are going to take a left at this intersection. 🙂
You’ll drive under the bridge of 115 (where you just were) and then just follow the road and signs (few and far between) as they wind you up into the mountains.
There are a TON of side roads and such along this route. Just stay on the main road and pay very close attention to oncoming traffic and road hazards.
Eventually you’ll reach a point where the road is no longer going up, but instead you’ve crested and are ready to go down. That is the restaurant. Do not go down the hill. Instead, make a left and head on in! After you park of course. There are three parking areas here. Two are on the right and one is on the left. I prefer to park on the left simply because of the kids crossing the road. The visibility in traffic isn’t at its ideal moment here so if you are crossing the street pay very close attention to traffic. Also, if you aren’t sure you found the right place, look for this sign (minus my kids of course):
Pizza in the Sky!
Note their hours and days of operation: Thursday through Mondays from 1130 – 7. If you are at the aquarium or at something else in Ocean Expo Park you can find your way here quite easily. On your way back towards 58 stay straight when 84 and 449 split. 449 goes to the right and is the way most people take. If you want to eat here you’ll need to resist that urge and stay on 84. Watch for the signs for 115 towards Nakajin. At that intersection take a left. From that point on the directions are the same as above.
Douzo Meshiagare (Enjoy your meal)!