Make Man is a big box style home improvement center that only has stores in Okinawa (Photo: Michael Flemming)

Make Man

A Big Box Home Improvement Center Japanese Style

Make Man is a big box style home improvement center that only has stores in Okinawa (Photo: Michael Flemming)
Michael Flemming   - 4 min read

While there are many great shopping destinations to discover on Okinawa, there are three specific stores that are highly touted to newcomers regardless of who they talk to. The do-it-yourself home improvement super center Make Man is one of those stores. And, just in case you are wondering, the discount store 100 Yen Plaza and the department store Ryukyu Aeon - formerly known as Jusco – are the other two. I think that these three stores are so popular because they together solve the question as to where to get just about anything that may be needed while on Okinawa.

Make Man, more often than not, is referred to as Monkey Man, because there is a monkey in coveralls on its roadside signs, and the name of the store is only shown in Japanese katakana syllables as マイクマン (“maikuman”). Make Man isn’t the only do it yourself store in Okinawa, but it is the largest chain in Okinawa, with the biggest stores, and it is only in Okinawa with nine stores across the prefecture – you won’t be seeing the monkey man anywhere in the mainland at this time.

The super centers are packed with everything one might expect to find in a home improvement center. There’s certainly a wide range of power tools, nails, lumber, paint, lighting fixtures, household appliances, plants, fences, irrigation supplies, ladders, hand tools, electrical supplies, and bricks, stones, cement and mortar. Make Man however is also a tire center – and some locations even have full auto care centers – and auto supply store, a full service pet store with animals, insects, supplies and food, a stationary store, a wallpaper and window covering store, a sporting goods store, a housewares store, and a tool rental and repair store. There’s even a small snack stand and ice cream counter at each store to take a break and refuel at before, during or after shopping.

Make Man’s pricing is very competitive with competitors offering anything that is also carried in its super center. If you happen to be in a hurry and need to get an item immediately it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go to Make Man first and be assured that the price paid is likely as good or better than anywhere else. While there is a wide selection at Make Man, some categories like furniture, and sporting goods won’t be as deep as a retailer specializing in those categories.

I go to Make Man a couple of times each month. Sometimes I am there just to wander around to see what is new and to get ideas on what my next project at home may be. At other times I am purely day dreaming about projects that I don’t have the home in Okinawa to truly consider, but I do get some satisfaction out of seeing all of the Japanese pushing their carts out full of supplies as I guess what type of grand project they are embarking upon. For things like tires, kitchen and laundry appliances, garden, and nails and lumber my only destination is Make Man. School projects for my preschool and grade school kids usually start with trips to Make Man for supplies and craft kits. My children love to tag along to the snack stand to enjoy Blue Seal ice cream, followed by looking at the live Japanese Beetles for sale in the pet section.

Make Man in Uruma City is located at the eastern-most intersection of Gushikawa Loop Route 224 and Route 85. Japanese yen and major credit cards are accepted. The store is open daily from 09:30–20:00, some of the specialty counters and stores within Make Man close earlier. See the companion photo stories of Make Man's outdoor, garden and tire center, and its interior main store to see more photographs of what can be found in Okinawa's favorite home improvement store.

Michael Flemming

Michael Flemming @michael.flemming

I'm a wanderer in Okinawa turning over every stone I can find. I write, photograph and blog about my favorite finds here in Japan's southernmost prefecture.