Ukishima Street is located right behind Kokusai Street, the most heavily visited tourist area for tourists in Naha City. Filled with cafés, restaurants, hair salons, craft shops and clothing stores. It is a very popular area for souvenirs and good food. Ryukyu Pirasu Ukishima is located just 100 paces off the main drag. In collaboration with local photographers, potters, bingata artists and illustrators, they create items such as T-shirts, slippers with island designs, crafts, tote bags, stuffed animals and more.
The shop's name, Pirasu, means “departure” in the Miyako Island dialect and was chosen by photographer Kengo Tarumi.
Owner Yuko Onaga celebrated Ryukyu Pirasu's 11th anniversary in 2015 and opened a second location in Chatan Town. About 60 kinds of T-shirts are available at the shops on any given day. Both stores are always filled with tourists.
Pictured in the photo (from left to right): Sanshin Ojii, Footsteps of the Iriomote Wildcat, and Ugami Cat. My favorite is Ugami Cat. Ugami means “to pray” in the Okinawan dialect. Prayer has always been a very important part of Okinawan culture. The design shows a cat praying for the men of today – who themselves tend to forget prayer.
From left to right: Uyafaafuji (ancestors), Garden Shisa and Goya, a Local Veggie. Both short-sleeve and long-sleeve T-shirts are available for hot and cold months.
The Yanbaru Kuina (Okinawan rail) design was created from the imagination of pottery artist Aya Katsuki. The T-shirt became popular when a local actor wore it on a the television show “Amachan”. Once you put on a T-shirt from Ryukyu Pirasu, you are wearing a part of Okinawa no matter where you go. Why not put one one whenever you miss Okinawa?
Slippers with island designs are available throughout a year. Why don’t you get a pair with your T-shirt for a great souvenir set?
In Okinawa, people carry salt in small bags as a charm. Salt bags made of leather with a Bingata design and a strap is a great charm for good luck and for safe childbirth.
Bingata designs are popular on wallets, key cases, pouches and cloth purses. Most Ryukyu Pirasu customers are regulars who come from mainland but if you would like to feel Okinawa even if your home is in a foreign country, please stop by the shop. I am sure you will become a regular customer too..
Ryukyu Pirasu Ukishimadori
Address: 2-5-36 Matsuo, Naha City, Okinawa
Ryukyu Pirasu Mihama Depot Island
Address: Depot Island C-1F, 9-1 Mihama, Chatan Town, Okinawa
Okinawa CLIP photo writer: Sachiko