Okinawa Tourism Information:Let’sMakeRainbowColoredOriginalItems!“CoralDyeing”atShuriRyusen

Let’s Make Rainbow Colored Original Items! “Coral Dyeing” at Shuri Ryusen

post : 2015.12.12 20:00

Former “Chuzanmon Gate,” the first gate of Shurijo Castle where many visitors went through in the ancient times. Its stone monument stands on the site of the gate, and currently a bingata and coral dyeing shop “Shuri Ryusen” is located in this historical site.

They adhere to the good-old colors, and items including general merchandise, kimono, and obi belts are available here. The characteristic of these items are “bingata” and “coral dyeing;” and natural dye were used to dye them. And, customers can join the workshop to try either one.

Everybody can experience bingata at any places, but you can try coral dyeing only at this shop. The method is to dye cloth by using sections of fossil corals.

This time, I am going to experience one and only coral dyeing at Shuri Ryusen!

Workshop takes place at a large space on the 2nd floor of the shop, and participants will choose an item to dye; T-shirt, shawl, or tote bag. This time, I choose a kid’s T-shirt!

Since the staff will instruct each of participants kindly, we feel comfortable. It is a simple task, so everybody from children to adults can enjoy doing it.

These are the fossil corals. These corals were washed up on the beach, cut them into half, and use them as tools for pattern.

They also have loveable shisa and small mouth fish patterns as well, but these are not made of corals.

Color “tanpo (cotton covered with a cloth)” first, use and rubs it against another cloth over a coral. Later, the pattern will show up.

This one is in yellow on the center, and blue on the outside. The mixed color of yellow and blue turns green.

By adding colors over and over, the original 4 colors increase up to 16 colors! When several colors overlap, they turn gradationally and look beautiful.

This is how shisa pattern looks like!

By using different sizes of corals, you can draw ocean sunfish and other types of fishes. You can also draw eyes of fishes by using a brush!

The workshop starts when the lecture finishes. It is hard to pick colors at first, but everybody gets hooked on it instantly.

Put a cloth over the coral and place it on the spot where you want to put pattern, and rub it with tanpo. And then displace the coral little by little, add patterns, change colors, and …

What a cute T-shirt with a fish pattern. There is another pattern on the back of it.

Coral dyeing shows originality by its coloration, the size of corals, and design.

In summer, many children come and join the workshop!

After the workshop is over, how about choosing a souvenir on the 1st floor? Bingata coasters and fans with patterns including shisa and bitter melon, coral dyeing scrunchy, wrapping cloth, colorful organic cotton scarf and other interesting items are available as well. 

And, do not miss the palanquin (replica) of the King during Ryukyu Kingdom era in front of the entrance. 

There is an atelier on the 3rd floor, and anybody can stop by and take a look at the dyeing process. 

People keep corals as an item to repel bad luck or good luck charm from the ancient time, and also believed corals as the stone to bring happiness. Would you like to try coral dyeing experience only at Ryusen? The rainbow color item might bring you the wind of Okinawa.

Shuri Ryusen
Address: 1-54 Shuri Yamagawa-cho, Naha City
Tel: 098‐886‐1131
Business Hours: 9:00 – 18:00
Closed: open 7 days a week
Fee for Coral Dyeing or Bingata Workshop: 3,240 yen (adult) / 2,700 yen (elementary school student & under)

Okinawa CLIP photo writer Akiko Ono