Find Your Treasure at the Koza Craft Hall Fundu
On the surface Okinawa City may appear like any other city, but deep behind the scenes is a town filled with a rich and colorful history. As the second largest city in Okinawa Prefecture, its reputation has become synonymous with music and dance. Renowned for its talented Eisa dancers, the city has also become the island’s epicenter for live music. Dubbed as Music Town, local musicians frequent the area providing local entertainment for music lovers of all genres.
But amongst the locals, Okinawa City is also well known for something else…its traditional craft work. This tradition predates both Eisa and modern live music well over a few centuries. In fact, one of the city’s historical gems, the Chibana-Hanaori, originated around the 18th century during the time of the Old Ryukyu Kingdom. The Chibana-Hanaori is a special style of traditional woven fabric that was developed in the Chibana region (now Okinawa City’s present day Chibana District). The method is still used today and is considered a National Traditional Craft of the Ryukyus. Its colorful and unique pattern is what brings the fabric to life and is often found in many forms of attire used in Okinawan cultural dances and ceremonies.
Okinawa City’s handcraft legacy still continues today. Here one can find a multitude of studios specializing in Ryukyu glass, Shiisaa statues, Okinawan pottery, lacquerware, bingata dyeing, and much, much more. Many of these artisans have a willingness to share their love and passion for the traditional arts, but it’s often difficult to showcase so many specialties in one venue – until now.
Recently, 17 craft studios from Okinawa City have gathered and combined their passion to form the “Koza Craft Hall Fundu”. Located on Koza Gate 2 Street, the Fundu carries all handmade craftworks, each uniquely made – and definitely nothing you will find anywhere else in the world. So, if you are looking for that one gift for that special partner, family, friend, or even for yourself, this is the place to go. But don’t expect to see a 100 Yen shop here; prices fit the quality of handmade art. And for those who seek custom-made items with a particular type of tapestry, color of Ryukyu glass, or bingata dye, you may be in luck, as some of the artisans do custom craft work on location. Additionally, workshops are offered on a regular basis for those wanting to make their own gifts.
Okinawa City is truly an international city welcoming all from around the world. The artisans from Koza Fundu would like to welcome you to see their craftwork firsthand or visit one of their workshops. They would even be open to providing a workshop aboard one of the military installations. You won’t be disappointed. So next time you are in the area, come visit the Koza Craft Hall Fundu located at 1-11-2 Chuo, Okinawa City. 098-934-2213. Open 365 days 11:00~21:00 (April~October) 11:00~20:00 (November~March). Major credit cards accepted.