Okinawa Tourism Information:HowaboutIriomoteYamanekodollsforyourtravelpartner?

How about Iriomote Yamaneko dolls for your travel partner?

post : 2015.04.24 19:00

“FREE FOWLS” in Ishigaki Island is a small (3 tsubo=about 9.9 m2) independent-brand sundry shop located on the third floor of a small multiple-tenant building, which is not generally known but loved by sundry goods lovers and Yaeyama Islands fans.  The shop faces the busy street which is lined up with many cafés and sundry stores, so please be careful not to miss the signboard.  Please note that the elevator stopped for a long time, and you have to use staircase.   

FREE FOWLS opened 11 years ago, and most of the goods are exclusively designed by the owner and craft artist, Mr. Hiroyuki Mizutori.  After Mizutori-san spent one summer traveling around islands of Okinawa 17 years ago, he was so fascinated by the charms of the islands that he quit his interior designer’s work with a major home builder to move to Ishigaki Island.

As he lives on the island, his feeling of “I love everything about the islands, including good parts and bad parts” has grown.  You can see his love for the islands in Iriomote Yamaneko (Wildcats) stuffed toys and T-shirs.

Every Iriomote Yamaneko doll is handmade and the only one in the world.  “As many people travel alone on Yaeyama Islands, so I want to create something that travelers can enjoy as a travel partner.  I designed self-standing dolls because after returning from the trip, they can decorate a doll on the desk in the office so that they can always remember the trip to Okinawa.”  Dolls come in various designs: round-shaped ones, ones with lovable, bewildered smile, etc.  Handmade dolls may have a charming presence that makes you feel like taking a photo of it in different scenes during a trip to Okinawa.

The version of collaboration with local artists of aizome (indigo-dyed cloth) and bingata (an Okinawan traditional resist dyed cloth) has an artistic flavor.  The products appeared in “NIPPON VISION,” an exhibit of traditional craft artists collaborated with handcraft artists, which was produced by a design activist, Mr. Kenmei Nagaoka and held in 2011.  The texture and atmosphere that is created by the only authentic product which is designed, dyed and made by residents of Ishigaki Island will produce the desire to bring it back with you.     

The graphic design on T-shirts have profound, deep stories special to the islands.  The stories are written on the commodities’ tags.  Please enjoy reading them at the shop.

When you buy souvenirs, you would like to buy something to remember Okinawa by.  It is even more so if you would like to buy something special to connect you with memories from the trip to Okinawa.  FREE FOWLS is a perfect shop for your only souvenir items that cannot be found in any other places nor be owned by anybody else.


Address: LOG Bldg 3F, 212 Aza-Okawa, Ishigaki City, Okinawa
TEL: 0980-83-5023
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 20:00
Closed irregularly / Will be closed for long time in winter
Blog: “FREE FOWLS BLOG Ishigakijima”

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer  Aya Asakura

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