Okinawa Tourism Information:ExperiencetheTraditionalBingataat“GusukuBingataDyeingStudio!”

Experience the Traditional Bingata at “Gusuku Bingata Dyeing Studio!”

post : 2018.07.30 18:00

“Gusuku Bingata Dyeing Studio” in Maeda, Urasoe City has established in 1971, and this bingata studio is about 3.4km away from Shurijo Castle. The concept of studio is to “use bingata as a part of your lifestyle,” and the studio has been releasing original bingata items for more than 45 years while following the tradition of bingata. Items are available at the studio and online, so the fans are all over Japan.

More than 100 items are available at a shop on the 1F of same building, and the studio is on the 2F. It is a 70-tatami-mat studio, and artists are working here every day. You can make a tour of studio when you request it to a staff. Also, anybody can join bingata workshop if you made a reservation ahead of time. 

You need to wear apron (free rental) first. Paint does not come off when it gets on clothes, so I would recommend you to wear something that can get dirty. After receiving an item of your choice (tea mat, place mat, eco bag, etc.) when you made a reservation (via website or telephone), an instructor explains how this workshop goes. The instructor of the day was Shingo Yamashiro, the 2nd owner of Gusuku Bingata Dyeing Studio.

“The characteristic of our workshop is to choose familiar patterns of bingata for little children and people from overseas. I got the idea of patterns while raising my child, and my child’s favorite things turn out to be the patterns.” Yamashiro told me in a soft tone. He also explains about the history of bingata, three primary colors, the basic of technique, and more. He gives an instruction with much detail, so participants feel relieved after that. 

As for the workshop, what you do is to dye cloth by using a brush for 30-60 mins, and it is a very simple work to do. 

First, dye the white part with no glue on, and make sure not to leave any white part. The secret to dye well is to put the brush straight and stencil the pattern as you draw a circle. The pattern gets bleed when you put too much paint, so pick each color and part to dye, and dye with the right amount of paint. Also, it is better to dye the base lightly, and turn it dark as you draw shadow to give a 3D appearance. That will help to make its pattern clearly. It is OK to color outside the pattern because a washable glue was applied outside the pattern. After you get used to it, keep dyeing colors as you like.  

After you became engaged with your work for about 30 minutes, it is time to finish! Lastly, make sure that you colored every part of the pattern. If the colors were light or uncolored, it would not be colored beautifully.  

I also tried dyeing a place mat with a pattern of tropical fish (the secret to dye it is to focus on gradation and dye colors naturally. Imagine the sea and use red on certain parts to make the pattern clearly. Participants only do dyeing process at the studio, but the important process is washing (drying, ironing, and washing). After leaving it at home for a week, I followed an instruction I got, did rest of the work, and finish! It looks better than I thought, and I am very happy about it♪

Do you think the sound of “traditional craft” luxurious? Actually not, and you might change your mind after joining a workshop at Gusuku Bingata Dyeing Studio! How about making your own souvenir at this studio?

Gusuku Bingata Dyeing Studio
Address: 4-9-1 Maeda, Urasoe City
Tel: 098-887-3414
Business Hours: 10:00-18:00
Closed: Sun
Parking: available (toll parking)
Blog (English):

Fee: Bingata workshop (reservation required at least 3 days in advance)
Coaster (about 30 min):1,400 yen  
Tea mat (about 30 min): 1,600 yen
Tote bag (size S; about 30 min): 2,000 yen
Tote bag (size L; about 40 min): 3,000 yen
Tapestry (about 40 min): 3,500 yen

*Price referred as of March 2018. 

Okinawa CLIP photo writer Kiwamu Ogawa (Qey Word)