I love this place! It is definitely one of the experiences that I wanted to share with DyLon and so we took
off after the lighthouse to see it. (Dang! In the process of reviewing all of my photos and videos from previous
trips I discovered that I have somehow left Ryukyu Mura out of my 2014 trip tours on the website. I'll fix that!)
Okay, I fixed it. You can now see 170 photos and 8 video clips HERE
Meanwhile, on to our 2017 trip with Dylon. These first several photos are his.
Kijimuna are mythical Okinawan wood spirits who live in trees and preferentially in banyan trees.
They are often described as being child-sized, with red hair covering their bodies and large heads.
They are also known to be excellent fisherman, able to catch many fish, but then only eating one of
the eyes of the fish before leaving the rest of it. The Kijimuna festival in Okinawa is named after them.
Another name for the kijumuna is bungaya which means roughly "Large-Headed." The Kijimun
are known to be very mischievous, playing pranks and tricking humans. One of their most well known
tricks is to lie upon a person's chest, making them unable to move or breathe. This is known as kanashibari
Even though the Kijimuna are tricksters, they have been known to make friends with humans. However,
these relationships often go sour. A kijimuna may offer to carry a human on its back as it leaps through
the mountains and over the seas. The kijimuna dislike people passing gas on their backs, however, and
will immediately throw the human off, no matter where they were at the moment.
Man, DyLon! You wouldn't last long with one of these little critters! Ha!!
Ryukyu Mura (Ryukyu Village) is a theme park located in Onna on the west coast of the main island.
Ryukyu Mura contains ten traditional houses from different parts of Okinawa. Each was disassembled for
transportation and reassembled at the park. The park staff all dress in traditional Ryukyuan attire and carry
out the daily work of weaving cloth, grinding sugar cane, and Eisa dance.
Though not a staff member this little one, dressed in traditional garb, caught DyLon's eye - and his lens caught her!
This houses one of Okinawa's huge ropes that are used in Tug-of-War (Ootunahiki).
On Okinawa, from the period of the Ryukyu Kingdom, tug-of-wars were held in various places telling the fortune
by their result, wishing for good harvest, catch of fish and luck for the next year. “The Great Naha Tug-of-War”
started around 1450 and stopped for a while from 1935, but it came back to life again in 1971. It is a famous
event in Naha to bring in happiness and peace by pulling a thick rope and wishing for happiness for your family
and a prosperous business. It is scheduled to be held from October 10th to 12th in 2015. (Naha is certainly not
the only place on island though to stage Tug-o-War competitions.) I have video of the one on Okinawa City (Koza)
With a 200m long (about 7,900 inches) rope weighing around 43 tons (about 95,000 lbs.), 15,000 people pulling the rope,
and 270,000 people participating including spectators, the Great Naha Tug-of-War Festival was recognized by the
Guinness World Records in 1995 for “the thickest rope made with rice straw in the world”. Text source: Japan Monthly Web Magazine
It wasn't until I started putting this page together that I recognize that I had seen this rope precisely three years earlier,
to the date when I was at Ryukyu Mura in 2014.
A very interesting use of roof tiles.
Village takakura, or granary, is an elevated storehouse used by tribes throughout the Japanese islands from
prehistoric times right up, on Okinawa, into the 1970s. Similar structures are seen in Indonesia, and elsewhere throughout
the Southeast and East Asian region. A Ryukyuan or Amami Islands storehouse is typically comprised of a single storage
space with an extensive thatched or bamboo roof, elevated off the ground on a series of four, six, or nine wooden pillars.
The elevation allows breezes to pass underneath the building, protecting the goods stored inside from humidity. The ladder
used for access can be taken away, helping prevent rats and other vermin from getting into the storehouse. Floorboards of
particular woods were also used to deter pests. The walls of the storehouse slope out as they go up higher, creating a somewhat
diamond-like shape to the building overall. In contrast, a style of granary exclusive to Hateruma Island uses straight vertical
walls, and thus more closely resembles a normal house; these are elevated a shorter distance above the ground as compared
to those on other islands. Source: Samurai Archives
Sugar cane press.
Here's a video of one of them in operation. I took these home movies of the press at Crocodile Park back in 1975.
The showing of that begins at 1:22 on this YouTube video and conludes at 2:40. DyLon was ~2 years old then.
More on Okinawa's sugar industry
I don't recall if we ever got this man's name - we just refer him now as "Dremel-san". We purchased
some souvenirs for family back home and "Dremel-san" engraved each item.
This was in 2015 when my younger son, Zac, and I visited Ryukyu Mura.