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Sense of Old Ryukyu in New Year's Parade

By: Takeshi Yokokawa

Date Posted: 2003-12-25

Ryukyu Mura, a cultural theme park designed to preserve and pass on the traditions of the old Okinawan culture, is presenting a Ryukyuan New Year's parade known as Michi Junee on Jan. 1-3. The parade will feature traditional eisa and other dances staged by performers in Ryukyu costume to the accompaniment of lively sanshin and drums.

Ryukyu Mura was established more than 20 years ago as a means of transmitting traditional Ryukyuan culture to current and future generations. Many old Ryukyuan red-tile-roof houses and other structures were removed to outer islands such as Ishigaki and Miyako in order to escape the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, and some of these have been returned and reconstructed at Ryukyu Mura. Visitors feel a real sense of the old Okinawa and its landscape of long ago, traveling back in time to the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom. They can also experience traditional textiles called bingata and hanaui, take sanshin lessons in a 200-year-old house and learn Yachimun pottery technique in an on-site ceramics workshop.

Park admission is \840 for adults, \730 for junior high school students and \420 for elementary school students. A 10 percent discount is available for groups of 20 or more. Ryukyu Mura is open daily from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Wheelchairs, baby carriages and umbrellas are available at no charge, and a barrier-free restroom is provided. For more information, contact Ryukyu Mura at 098-965-1234 or visit http://www.ryukyumura.co.jp.

Directions: Head north from Kadena Rotary on Route 58 for approximately 6 kilometers. After passing the giant pig and cow statues at Okinawa Ham on the left, you will see a big sign for Ryukyu Mura. Turn left and follow the road for 3 kilometers.

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