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Reason 1

I moved to Okinawa to get my master's degree in agriculture at the University of Ryukyus. I was fascinated by this so-called 'island of longevity'. I come from the US where the obesity rate is very high, and yet in Okinawa and the rest of Japan, the obesity rate is still very low. I started learning about Okinawan plants and diet. Through this, I met manufacturing companies in Okinawa who make great products. I thought, 'Someone has got to be selling these abroad already, these products are right up my alley!' No one was. The language barrier and Japanese company culture has made it difficult. Until I came along. I pushed and befriended each manufacturer to allow me to sell their products in English. I started a site that sold their products outside of Okinawa, the first of its kind.
Christal
'Someone has got to be selling these abroad already, these products are right up my alley!' No one was.

Reason 2

I am severely lactose intolerant. This means I cannot consume products with dairy or milk in it, because I cannot digest the sugar called lactose that is in milk. Cheese and yogurt are okay because they do not contain much lactose since they are fermented. I discovered I was lactose intolerant after I moved to Japan. That is when I learned most products in Japan use lactose as an emulsifier or preservative. However, I can read Japanese so have been able to survive shopping in Japan somewhat...But I thought, 'What about other people with actual and severe allergies who cannot read Japanese but want to buy Japanese products?' Japan does not cater to non-Japanese speakers enough. This is the second reason I was determined to make this site. To help those who have food allergies but have a hard time reading Japanese labels. I felt a great need to help those who feel my pain and is the second reason that started the making of this site.
Christal
'What about other people with actual and severe allergies living in Japan who cannot read Japanese?' Japan does not cater to non-Japanese speakers enough.

Reason 3

One of my favorite stores is way down south. Very down south. One of the most southern areas of the island in a city called Nanjo. It is the first manufacturer I visited and the one that made me fall in love with Okinawan products. Okinawa Chosei Yakuso Headquarters. They specialize in teas, nutrition powders, and other health goods. I have always lived in the middle or southern area of Okinawa, but it always took me at least a half hour or more to get to this store. I imagined sometimes 'what if I move to Yomitan or Uruma up north some day? There is no way I would drive all the way down to this store as much as I would like.' While they sell some of their goods in stores scattered over the island, I could not keep track or figure out which stores they would be at. Not to mention, not everyone has reliable transportation. I knew there needed to be a site that can provide goods sold far away, in hidden, hard-to-find stores, or by small time makers and crafters who don't or cannot advertise much. This is the third reason I loved to start making this website.
Christal
'What if I move to Yomitan or Uruma up north some day? There is no way I would drive all the way down to this store as much as I would like.'

About Kenko

Kenko Tree understands that you have a special need for Okinawan and Japanese products.

Whether you have lived in or visited Japan...

If you’re looking for the ingredients you need to cook your favorite Okinawan or Japanese dish, or a memorable souvenir that you want to give someone special, we are here to source the very best local products for you.

If you have allergies and need to avoid certain products but are not confident in Japanese, we are here to help. Feel free to even just refer to our site when shopping.

We ship to most countries around the world in order to make sure that certain tea or cute coaster you love can be delivered to your door.

Our site is your oasis for Okinawan (and Japanese!) Products.

Through our blog posts and weekly social media content, we hope to connect you to the food and culture of the Ryukyus (Old Okinawan Kingdom) by introducing the best Okinawan/Japanese products, straight from the source. We also explain how to make the product or what recipes to use the products in.

We spend our days traveling around the island, visiting local manufacturers and farmers, to bring you the best Okinawa, Japan has to offer, month after month.

Contact Us

Please contact us through email (support@kenkotree.com) or our contact page. Our regular working hours are Monday through Friday, 10am-6pm. We may answers emails outside of working hours. Weekend hours are limited and vary, please inquire beforehand if you need assistance with something outside working hours or on a weekend.
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