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Clothing & Yachimun pottery from the stylish [Fujii Iryoten General Clothing Store]: The more you wear them & use them, the more charming they become♪ Visit the shop in the former military housing area in Minatogawa.
post : 2021.01.23 07:00
Peeking through the pastel green window frame, I saw a variety of Yachimun, or Okinawan pottery. And further inside the shop was a huge selection of clothing.
This shop looks interesting…I gently pushed the door open and went inside. That was my first encounter with Fujii Iryoten, General Clothing Store.
The area where Fujii Iryoten is located is in the area of Urasoe City where flat, single story buildings line the streets. These homes were constructed to house US military personnel and their families in the past. Nowadays, this area has become very trendy with unique and stylish shops utilizing the exotic feel of the neighborhood and you’ll find all sorts of unique and attractive establishments, like a tart shop, bakery, cafes, and many more.
The owner of the shop is Fujii-san, who is originally from Nagasaki Prefecture. While still in her teens, she was enchanted by the blue seas and bright sunshine of Okinawa and over the years, she was a frequent visitor. After a while, her wish to move here and open up her own shop grew stronger, and it was around that time she stumbled across the vacant building in the area.
Fujii-san always had a fondness for antiques and items that grew even more charming with the passing of time. The building of the shop itself also had that similar charm enhanced over the years, and she made up her mind simply on her inspiration that this was where she was going to open her shop.
Later, although she had to give up her dream of moving here permanently, she managed to realize a part of her dreams, and opened her business. Today, she operates the family business, Fujii Iryoten General Clothing Store in Nagasaki, and goes back and forth between Nagasaki and Okinawa. (Yes, the shop here is Fujii Iryoten General Clothing Store’s Okinawa branch!)
In the shop are styles of clothes that aren’t trendy, but those that the wearer can enjoy for many years to come, making them even more special with subtle changes that appear with time. Texture of clothes get better with the frequency of being worn, and that’s when the skills of the maker really shine. Fujii Iryoten offers high-quality, casual clothing for men and women, mainly by the brand, [TIGRE BROCANTE], a brand introduced to Okinawa for the first time by the shop.
The shop manager, Shibahara-san says, “The clothes by TIGRE BROCANTE have distinctive colors. They also offer designs where the shoulders go inward, giving a delicate appearance when worn, and their clothes nicely cover areas that you want to cover.”
Other brands include natural looks by [ichi] and [CALINE], as well as [Antiquites] which are made with quality materials. What’s more, these clothes match the climate of Okinawa. The loose-fitting design makes it nice and breezy when worn, so even in Okinawa where the temperature and humidity can get high, you can stay cool and comfortable.
Clothing for men include [TIGRE BROCANTE], outdoor styles by [MANASTASH], comfortable fitting pants by [BIG SMITH], and a line of vintage by [Champion]. All the clothes they offer are those you can casually wear while shopping, and then head straight to the beach or to the mountain forests. They’re so comfortable that many of the shoppers leave wearing their purchases.
During the warmer season, they also have vibrant and colorful tie-dyed pants and shorts that give a bright and cheerful energy.
“Of course, we welcome visitors to Okinawa to try our clothes, but we really hope that the local Okinawans will enjoy wearing the clothes we offer. I really want this shop to be cherished by the Okinawans, too,” says Fujii-san.
Another unique thing about the shop is their changing room. They’ve made the bathroom into a changing room, so when you visit, select a few items, and try them on in there! You’ll find that the shop is filled with the remarkable playfulness of the owner.
Now for the pottery that we saw through the window outside. They have a selection of pottery by popular artists based in Okinawa, including those from [Kobo Kokyu], popular for their mugs and pitchers made from Okinawa’s red soil, with designs applied with white soil, and those by [Yamaguchi Tou Kobo], a studio on Yonaguni Island with a longs history of 30 years and known for their careful and particular attention to the soil and clay that they use. They also have distinctive creations by [Yama Hitsujiya], [Kobo Iroha], and [Shimashima Pottery].
These dishes shown above, with the beautiful and free-spirited arabesque designs in indigo color are made by [Murou Gama]. Upon first look, Fujii-san thought, “I want to eat curry from this dish!” The robust appearance and uniqueness of the dishes are truly attractive.
The Tenugui hand towels by MITSU PRINT, made by the owner of [Aoi Mori Shoten] are also highly recommended. The illustrations have a delicate touch, and many have gorgeous gradation of colors and are perfect for gifts and souvenirs. They also offer original designs by Fujii Iryoten.
Also be sure to check out the T-shirts and baby rompers by MITSU PRINT when you’re there, too.
Shown in the above photo are Okinawan-made bath salts (left) and soap (right). The soap, in particular, are made with natural ingredients and without any petroleum-based chemical components, chemical preservatives, nor synthetic fragrances. They offer a selection that are uniquely Okinawan, like acerola wine, dragon fruits, Tankan oranges, Shima Tofu, brown sugar, and others, so you’ll enjoy choosing your favorite ones.
Fujii Iryoten offers carefully select items ranging from Okinawan Yachimun pottery, miscellaneous everyday goods, to clothing. Every piece of clothing you’ll find there are wonderfully unique with distinctive designs, so just browsing in the shop is fun and exciting. Shibahara-san, with her gentle and tender air, and her mix of Kansai-ben or western Japanese dialect, also add to the comfortable atmosphere of the shop. Swing by Fujii Iryoten, and you might come across a special item for you to pick up.
Fujii Iryoten General Clothing Store
Address: #29 2-15-7 Minatogawa, Urasoe City, Okinawa
Hours: Mon., Tue., Thur. from 11:30 to 18:30 & Fri., Sat., Sun. from 11:00 to 18:30
Closed: Wednesdays & New Year’s Day
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Akiko Ono