Trying your own hand makes best memories while staying on Okinawa
Blue sky, blue ocean, warm climate and delicious food make just staying on Okinawa a very nice experience for visitors, including military persons stationed here and their families. But can you remember the best experience you had while staying on Okinawa after you moved on? Do you have anything to show or bring memories from your stay on this magic island? If not yet, I truly recommend you try one of the “Experience Workshops” on the island. There are many workshop programs island wide offering hands-on experiences that will provide you with memories that you will never forget, reminding you of Okinawa any time you see that item you made. Now, it’s the summer vacation season, and below are some special experiences on the island to try with your partner, family or friends to make that special memory.
Ryukyu Bingata are dyed textile products peculiar to Okinawa, and the dyeing method was developed in the 14th~15th century as trading with China and southeast Asia was established. The word bingata, is made of two words; “bin” that means “colors,” and “gata” that means “forms.” Bingata clothes were reserved for the highest nobility in the time of the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom, and are still very expensive to purchase, like a bingata kimono for example. But Gusuku Bingata and some other bingata studios offer bingata experiences where you can try your hand in coloring and making bingata products, like pop bags, coasters, table cloths and more. And as you create your own, no other bingata product in the world is the same as yours. It takes just 30 minutes to an hour to color, and after you take it home and ket it dry for another a week, it’s all done.
Shi-sa is an Okinawan beast of legend, and they are believed to protect houses from various evils. Usually, Shi-sa are made as a pair; the one with its mouth open is male who wards off evil spirits, while the one with mouth closed is female who keeps happiness in the house. Traditionally, people in Okinawa place shi-sa on rooftops or flanking the entrance, but modern times various, often funny face or pose shi-sa have become very popular as decorations inside hoes. Hands-on shi-sa making workshops are very popular on Okinawa. Shi-sa park Ryukyu Gama in Nago City offers a large variety shi-sa for hands-on experience.
Ryukyu glass experience
Ryukyu glass making is another popular experience workshop on Okinawa, and could be the first hands-on experience service on Okinawa offered for tourists that started in mid 1980s. Ryukyu glass refers to colorful glass products that were first created from recycled glass bottles from the U.S. Military. After the World War II, there was a shortage of raw material for glass making, and artisans started to recycle colorful glass bottles from American military bases. Thus, Ryukyu glass was born. Since then, Ryukyu glass has developed very much and has become one of the most popular souvenirs. A piece of Ryukyu glass that one blows to shape by him or herself, is an item that makes you always remember your stay on this island. Only note, the glass items need to cool down slowly in a special oven lest they break, so you must wait for a few days to take your piece home.
There are more fun experiences on Okinawa, such as pottery making, brown sugar making, Sataa andagii (Okinawan donuts) making, making jam of Okinawan tropical fruits, Okinawa soba making, fishing, marine leisure activities, salt making, wearing traditional Ryukyu Kimono for a photo, and much more!
We hope you try a special experience and make a special memory of Okinawa! And tell your friends back home and make Okinawa more popular worldwide!