Do you have a heart for crafting? If yes, then you will absolutely love the Craft Village at Okinawa World! In a nutshell, it is a theme park in Japan that promotes Okinawan culture where you can have a first-hand experience of making regional handicrafts, which make for great souvenirs, too. Check out these hands-on activities when you stop by for a visit:
Japan’s history of dyeing fabric indigo—also known as aizome—can be traced back to at least four centuries ago during the Edo period (1603-1868). Back in the day, indigo was such a prized item, as it clung onto cotton fabric so well. The dye was also used for the undergarments of the samurai. It was believed that indigo-dyed clothing will protect their bodies from infection. There’s a lot to tell about this classic Japanese art, and there’s no better way to learn about it than trying your hand at dyeing your own fabric using the shibori (manual resist dyeing) technique under the guidance of an experienced workshop instructor.
Once an independent kingdom called Ryukyu, Okinawa’s islands take pride in various art forms and among them is weaving. Okinawa’s textile tradition is tightly weaved into their cultural tapestry, which is evident in the rich variety and technique of their woven products. Okinawan textiles are heavily influenced by Southeast Asian, Chinese, and mainland Japanese fabric designs. Think you’ve got what it takes to make your own Okinawan textile? Give this weaving workshop a try!
Paint your own mini shiisaa—a traditional Ryukyuan cultural icon that resembles a lion and a dog. Actual shiisaa are often found at entrances of shrines, as they are known as guardians of the gates.
Choose between making a wallet, phone strap, keychain, or bracelet for the workshop. You will then be taught how to engrave letters, characters, or other designs on your chosen material with the use of traditional carving tools used by actual leather artisans.
Get your hands busy and try making traditional Japanese handicrafts on your trip!