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A Taste of the Past in New Year Parade

Date Posted: 2000-12-29

Ryukyu Mura is a cultural theme park that stages a special New Year parade on January 1, 2 and 3. This will feature traditional Eisa dancers and drummers making their way around the park. The parade will also bring to life characters from Okinawan folklore and many other Okinawan dance and music styles will be on show in the entertainment hall.

Ryukyu Mura has reconstructed a lot of traditional Okinawan houses with their red tiled roofs with the idea of making a village embodying the traditional culture and history of the islands in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many of these houses were real ones which had been scheduled for demolition but which were saved for posterity by reassembling them here. These houses have information on their original locations, when they were built and some notes on their former owners.

Inside the houses various traditional crafts can be seen being practiced. Visitors can see how bingata is made, the colorful designs used to create kimono, originally only worn by royalty. Orimono is another skill on show, a way of dyeing textiles woven on traditional looms.

There is also a sugar mill turned by a buffalo. There were many of these in Okinawan villages before the Second World War. Sugar cane was pressed between huge iron wheels and the resulting liquid used to make black sugar. Okinawan snacks are on sale at Ryukyu Mura and there is a restaurant. The park is open daily 8.30 am 5.30 pm. Admission is adult 840, student 730, child 420.

Directions: head north from Kadena Circle on Hwy 58 for about 6 km. After the giant pigs and cows on the left there is a big sign for Ryukyu Village. Turn left and follow the road for 3 km.

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