The Yara Castle Site in Kadena Town is now a park with markers throughout detailing the 15th century Ryukyuan complez that once stood there (Photo: Michael Flemming / JT)
Kadena is a small town of about 13,000 residents on the East China Sea along the western shoreline of the main island of Okinawa. More than 80% of the towns land is leased by the Japanese Ministry of Defense for use as the United States Kadena Air Base as a part of the two nations' mutual defense agreement.
The town is predominately a residential community, but is also known for its shopping and cultural centres. Navel Kadena located just south of the town center is a large complex with many large, medium and small-sized retail and dining tenants to include the Shakey's Pizza Parlor believed to be the oldest establishment of the shopping complex. The Yara Castle Site along the Hijia River that divides Kadena and nearby Yomitan is a modern-day park built on the location of a once-proud 15th century Ryukyuan castle. The Kadena Marina Complex located along Route 58 in the southern part of Kadena is a popular beach open to Japanese citizens as well as American personnel; the popular Seaside Ristorante is located inside the Kadena Marina.