Between the breathtaking beach and the bread, we almost died and went to heaven while dining on these divine buns from a favorite spot of the locals.

Our follicly challenged Japanese-language correspondent Kouhey may not have a lot of hair, but why should he care when he gets to try local specialties such as yagijiru goat soup, like he did during his recent trip to Ishigaki Island? With the ocean never far away, it probably comes as a surprise that seafood wasn’t the first thing on his mind for his next gastronomic adventure. On the top of his list was a completely different spot that the locals swear by: Tommy’s Bread.

Kouhey had actually eaten bread from Tommy’s during a previous trip to the island three years ago. At that time, he had visited when the day’s bread was almost sold out, so there wasn’t much choice left. However, the divine taste of that bread was permanently imprinted in his memory.

Getting to Tommy’s isn’t easy. It’s in an off-the-beaten-track mountainous area to the north of Ishigaki City. Tourists aren’t likely to just stumble upon it, especially since the public buses in that area run only two to three times per day. Kouhey knew that he was going in the right direction though, once he spotted the “Tommy’s Bread” sign by the side of the road.

Otherwise, the entrance was an extremely nondescript mountain road surrounded by foliage.

Thankfully, a small, plain-looking building awaited him at the end.

Nothing about the outside of the building signaled that absolutely phenomenal bread could be found inside. Although technically open until 5 p.m., Tommy’s regularly sells out and closes for the day, so you should definitely stop by in the morning if you want a little variety–or anything at all. It’s also completely closed three days per week, so please plan accordingly.

On this visit, Kouhey came by at 11 a.m. and was relieved to see from the sign on the door that they hadn’t sold out yet.

Even so, he was just in the nick of time. The shelves had been fully stocked with rows and rows of bread earlier in the morning but were now looking a little bit empty.

The remaining individual items were gathered neatly by the register. At least there was a little selection.

When he asked the worker at the register what she recommended, she replied that they were all delicious to her. He eventually decided to go with a French bread-style tuna bun (“Tuna France”) and a French bread-style potato bun (“Potato France”) that had been sold out during his previous visit. The total came to 560 yen (US$4.96).

He could think of no better place from which to provide important food reportage than a beach by the blue Pacific Ocean. With bread in hand, Kouhey headed to the nearby Yonehara Beach, which is usually said to have either the first or second most beautiful waters throughout all of Ishigaki Island.

He then snapped a photo of his bread on top of a piece of driftwood and wondered if there was a market for food photography on the beach.

Beautiful bread and picturesque scenery seemed to almost guarantee that the taste would also be delicious, but he needed to confirm this fact for the sake of quality journalism. He decided to sample the tuna bun first.


Upon splitting it open, he was shocked by how much tuna was actually stuffed in there!

▼ He also hopes that you appreciate all of the strenuous effort that went into this report.

The thick French bread base was immensely satisfying. The bun’s size looked roughly 1.5 times bigger than a typical one as well. Mostly, he was pleased that the tuna just didn’t seem to go down no matter how much he ate.

Despite feeing pleasantly satisfied, he still had the potato bun to sample. He supposed he could stretch his stomach if he must.

This one, too, was absolutely stuffed with mashed potato.

As most potatoes are wont to do, it brought him pure happiness. The more he ate, the happier he got. He mused that he would never tire of its taste.

Truly, there was no better heaven than this. Kouhey might just have to return to Ishigaki Island for a visit to Tommy’s Bread every year.

For more stunning spots in Okinawa, check out the rock formations on the fairly close Ogami Island (“Island of the Gods”) or the heart-shaped rock power spot on the slightly farther away Kori Island. While you’re at it, you might as well learn how to throw a beach party like the locals, too.

Store information
Tommy’s Bread / トミーのぱん
Address: Okinawa-ken, Ishigaki-shi, Kabira 1216-591
Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (or until sold out)
Closed: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

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