Tsuboya Shisa Day Fest educates and enlightens
Tsuboya Shisa Day is up tomorrow, and it teaches everything about Okinawa’s protector.
Shisa is the traditional protector of Okinawan homes and buildings, and April 3rd is called the Day of Shisa because, in Japanese, number four is ‘shi’, and number three is ‘san’, so 4 (April) 3rd is pronounced close to Shi-sa.
Tsuboya in Naha was traditionally the center of pottery production on Okinawa and Shisa is an important figure placed to protect nearly every house and gate on the island. Although the kilns have moved elsewhere, mostly to Yomitan, Tsuboya continues to be the home of many pottery shops and showrooms.
To prepare for the Shisa Day, Tsuboya pottery merchants set up a planning committee that has organized plenty of free events concentrating around Tsuboya Yachimun Street in downtown Naha City, near Kokusai Street, with the aim of promoting and introducing Shisa Day across the country. Celebration of Shisa Day is actually a three-day event running through Sunday.
After the opening ceremonies tomorrow, a Shisa spotting walk will take place starting from 11 a.m. at 2 p.m. in the area, with volunteers from Tsuboya Pottery Museum taking visitors to look for Shisa in town and to Tsuboya-yaki studio tour. Participation in the tour is free. On the second and third days of the festival, there are tours of historic places in the Tsuboya district, also at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Participation is free.
Those who want to try their hand in making their own Shisa can join a Shisa making experience class on Friday and Sunday between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The cost is ¥1,500 and advance reservations are necessary by calling (098) 862-3761. Of course, people can watch professionals show how it’s done making Shisa during the three days of the festival, and may have opportunities to purchase what’s being made in front of their eyes.
People can also purchase their own Shisa and other pottery at discount prices during the event at stores in the Tsuboya district. Admission to the Tsuboya Pottery Museum will be free during the three days from the Friday through Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The Shisa Day Festival takes place this weekend from Friday through Sunday at Tsuboya Yachimun Street in Naha City.