Okinawa Tourism Information:ExcitedbyCharacteristicFormativeArts!UnknownCharmsabout“OkinawaPrefecturalMuseum&ArtMuseum”

Excited by Characteristic Formative Arts! Unknown Charms about “Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum”

post : 2015.01.03 19:00

A museum and art museum might give you a little serious image; however, “Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum” in Omoromachi, Naha City is an open, modern space with a shop and a café.   

With a free parking lot and a good air conditioning system, apart from the hustle and bustle of a shopping mall, this place would be highly recommended as a short stop on a rainy day, etc.

The museum was open in 2007, and commonly called “hakubi.” The Art Museum might be attractive as it has an established reputation for its high quality collections in the permanent and planned exhibitions.  However for beginners, I would like you to try the Museum to see and understand easily the basics of Okinawa.

The exhibition space of more than 3,500㎡ has about 3,000 or more displayed exhibits.
Even more than the large number of exhibits, what is noteworthy is elaborate detail of each exhibit.
You will be fascinated by the high quality of models of native living things that are reproduced faithfully, every kind of historically important cultural materials, a wide variety of unearthed objects which make you imagine the ancient world.    

Inside of the Museum, with the General Exhibition at the center, there are five sub exhibition rooms around the main general exhibition area: natural history, archeology, arts and crafts, history and folk customs. 

Each exhibit is filled with the knowledge to talk about, but here I would like to introduce my best 10 wonder articles by adhering to their appearance.

My 10th best is the Shishi statue of about 40cm tall, which looks sleepy but lovable.
It could be a relative? of shisa, which is very popular in Okinawa.
I cannot help feeling that its easygoing expression is fundamentally connected with Okinawan culture. 

My 9th best is the graceful female costume that can tell the prosperousness of the Ryukyu Kingdom period.  Only high-ranking priestess were allowed to wear this gorgeous costume.

Using conspicuous original colors of red, yellow, etc. is absolutely different from ones seen in costumes in mainland Japan.  It is a peculiar feature of the southern land!

My 8th best is “View of Naha Trading Port and Shurijo Caslte Folding Screen.”
It is very rare that foreign vessels were described on a screen in those days.  Please recall the present Naha Port and imagine the port town in the 19th century, and the image will assume even greater proportions!

My 7th best is “Ancient Upright Stone Slab Bearing Markings,” which has mystery pictographs.  It has been called “the Okinawa version of Rosetta Stone.”
It is still uninterpreted how it was used.  This is something that excites enthusiasm in archeologists. 

My 6th best is “Large Dragon Pillar,” which used to be at the State Hall of Shuri Castle.  It was 4m tall. (The pillar part got damaged due to the battle of Okinawa.)  The dynamic sculpture conveys a rich influence from mainland China.

My 5th best is “Ash-glaze, Pot-shaped Burial Urn,” whose well-balanced, beautiful design will catch your eyes.
Its difficult name might make you shrink back (lol), but its dignified elegance projects a view of the noble world.

My 4th best is a standing statue of “Miruku God,” which is a visiting god that usually appears in rich harvest festivals.
How humorous it is that unique appearance was based on the mixture of Miroku (Buddha Maitreya) belief and the ancient Okinawan belief.

“Oh, what is this?”
If an exhibit stirs up your curiosity, please stop and read explanation of the exhibit.  You will be persuaded by its background and significance as a museum collection.
That’s how you simply enjoy the Okinawa Prefectural Museum.

My 3rd best is a specimen of logger-head sea turtle.  Anyway, it is HUGE!  The body of about 1.6m long is surprising enough, but even more than that, the thickness of the body is compelling and powerful!  Its presence is noticeable even from a distance.

My 2nd best is a model of “Trading Ship,” which carried tributary items for Chinese emperors around the 14th century.
As you imagine how the ship carrying as many as 100 people sailed in the vast ocean, you will be filled with man’s glorious spirit of romantic adventure.

My best 1 is a human skeleton of “Minatogawa Man,” which is an about 150cm-tall Homo sapience of about 20,000 years old, and has been considered as a key clue to tracking the roots of Japanese people.
This archeological human remains of a whole body in a complete condition is valuble worldwide.

All of these eye-catching, impressive forms and designs have unique splendor as objects and formative arts.
This is a unique taste in Ryukyu (Okinawa), which belongs to the subtropical climate zone, and its one-of-a-kind charm can never be found in mainland Japan.

It would be nice to appreciate the exhibits in a leisurely fashion as well as it would be nice to visit both the Museum and the Art Museum in a brisk pace.
Please find your “favorite” one and take it back with you as a memory of yours only.

Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum

Address: 3-1-1, Omoromachi, Naha City
TEL: 098-941-8200
Official Website:

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer Kiwamu Ogawa (Qey Word)