Agency for Cultural Affairs, Goverment of Japan

Ryukyu
Culture Travel

The artist exhibiting at Naha Airport has used the culture of Okinawa’s former Ryukyu Kingdom (1429-1879) as a motif. The Ryukyu Kingdom refined influences acquired through trade with Japan, China, Korea, and Southeast Asia to create its own unique culture. The culture of the Ryukyu Kingdom can be experienced even now through the vibrant, colorful handicrafts as well as the World Cultural Heritage site Shurijo Castle remains. We invite visitors to take a tour of Okinawa and transport their minds back to this kingdom of old.

LOCATION

The artist exhibiting at Naha Airport has used the culture of Okinawa’s former Ryukyu Kingdom (1429-1879) as a motif. The Ryukyu Kingdom refined influences acquired through trade with Japan, China, Korea, and Southeast Asia to create its own unique culture. The culture of the Ryukyu Kingdom can be experienced even now through the vibrant, colorful handicrafts as well as the World Cultural Heritage site Shurijo Castle remains. We invite visitors to take a tour of Okinawa and transport their minds back to this kingdom of old.

Shuri Castle
Shurijo Castle Park
Ryukyu dance

Those looking to experience the culture of Okinawa should start their search at Shurijo Castle ruins (Naha, Okinawa Prefecture), the political, diplomatic, cultural, and symbolic center of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Today, the castle site is under the care of the national government and maintained as Shurijo Castle Park, with reconstructions of the walls and the castle as they appeared in the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Although the main hall was destroyed by fire in 2019, reconstruction work is planned to start in 2022.

The masonry techniques and unique architectural style, which fuses Chinese and Japanese castle-building practices, have been recognized for their cultural and historical value, and Shurijo Castle ruins and Sonohyan-Utaki-Ishimon (stone gate), along with other castle ruins and historic sites dotted throughout Okinawa, are registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu. Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum, whose design reflects the form of an Okinawan castle (gusuku), systematically collects and exhibits the history, nature, culture, and art of Okinawa.

It is a rare institution even in Japan as it combines a museum with an art museum. The museum has a collection of about 94,000 items and the art museum has a collection of 3,700 individual materials and artworks as of 2017. The predecessor to the museum was the Okinawa Civil Administration Higashionna Village Museum, established in 1946. The museum now exhibits objects collected over the past 75 years, including items related to the geology, biology, humanity, archaeology, folklore, and history of Okinawa. The art museum collects and exhibits mainly modern and contemporary art works including oil paintings, sculptures, woodcut prints, photographs, and videos - all works that came into being within Okinawa’s culture and climate.

This article was written with the cooperation of:

Shurijo Castle Park
Address:
1-2 Shurikinjocho, Naha, Okinawa
Web:
http://oki-park.jp/shurijo/
Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum
Address:
3-1-1 Omoromachi, Naha, Okinawa
Web:
https://okimu.jp/
Shikinaen Royal Garden
Address:
421-7 Maaji, Naha, Okinawa
Web:
https://www.city.naha.okinawa.jp/kankou/bunkazai/shikinaen.html
Okinawa Karate Kaikan
Address:
854-1 Tomigusuku, Tomigusuku, Okinawa (on the former site of Tomigusuku Castle)
Web:
https://karatekaikan.jp/
Tsuboya Yachimun-dori Street
Address:
1-16 Tsuboya, Naha, Okinawa
Web:
https://tsuboya-yachimundori.com/
Urasoe Yodore and Urasoe Castle Remains
Address:
2-53-1 Nakama, Urasoe, Okinawa
Web:
http://www.city.urasoe.lg.jp/docs/2015091800123/

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