By Jenifer Tull-Gauger


On part two of our Monday in Okinawa, we drove out to Ryukyu Mura.  Yes, I was the person taking pictures of school children.  They ALL wear uniforms and carry large, expensive backpacks.  They use the same backpack for years, even throughout all of their schooling.  I thought our children and teens would be interested to see that the uniforms are like the ones you see in anime shows.

DSC04693 DSC04695


Ryukyu Mura is a replica village.  The things we have closest to it in America are colonial towns where people dress up and reenact the activities of daily life in our colonies.  At Ryukyu Mura, people wear the traditional clothing worn over a hundred years ago, and there are demonstrations and displays about the culture and way of life several hundred years ago.  Old homes and buildings, over 100 years old, have been moved there and reconstructed.

DSC04737 DSC04742 ancient building at Ryukyu Mura


Ryukyu Mura was one of my favorite places in Okinawa!  We spent a few hours there, and I would have happily doubled that.  It’s located in a tropical area, on the other side of this main entry building.

DSC04703 close up of ryukyu mura sign


This is part of the gigantic rope used in Naha’s huge annual tug-of-war.  (We also saw part of the rope displayed in Naha.)  A poster gives you an idea of what this tradition is like.

DSC04720 DSC04719

The beautiful details all around us made me think of Disneyland.

DSC04749 DSC04751 DSC04746


Sacred prayer area, torii gate, and a friendly face.  “Hai sai” is the way to say hello in the native tongue.

DSC04770 DSC04772 DSC04781


I enjoyed the beautiful plants and displays.

DSC04789 DSC04795 DSC04785


Here’s the pond near the heart of the place.  These guys were setting up for a show.

DSC04808 DSC04813


The group went to the habu show.  Habu are extremely venomous snakes native to Okinawa.  This young man volunteered to have his picture taken with the habu.  Here’s the interesting part that tells of the Okinawan beliefs in karma and common sense: after the show, the man put the snake in this wooden box at the corner of the stage, said, “Don’t touch,” and left the room.

DSC04823 DSC04824


Back by the pond, and an old carriage.

DSC04830 DSC04834


Old farm tools and grain storage.

DSC04839 DSC04840


Inside of a house.

DSC04843 DSC04845 DSC04846 DSC04848 DSC04850


It was warm and humid, but not overbearingly so.  I moved down the paths slowly, taking pictures of everything.  I took over 200 pictures at Ryukyu Mura.  Here are some of my favorites:

DSC04872 DSC04869 DSC04807 DSC04867 DSC04881


Shisa costumes worn for demonstrations and parades, and old weapons.

DSC04889 DSC04891


Shisa statues are all over Ryukyu Mura, and all over Okinawa, bringing in good energy and warding off bad ki.  There was a large collection displayed on a rooftop.

DSC04908 DSC04905


This water buffalo was helping to move the gears in the middle of the circle, demonstrating one of the first steps in making sugar: crushing the sugar cane.  The man in the middle feeds the cane through the crushing mechanism.

DSC04934 DSC04936 DSC04937 DSC04938


We went through the gift shop, and then back on the road.  Like I said, I could have stayed there, lingering for several more hours.  But I at least got a chance to give everything a quick once-over, and take a picture, which will last longer.

DSC04945 DSC04947


I found the signs on the streets interesting:

DSC04952 DSC04953

On to Okinawa trip #10