Ryukyu was the old version word for Okinawa. This theme park recreated the times of Ryuku kingdom, a cultural type of theme park. It was small, so 2-3 hours was suffice, unless you decide to make your own pottery, glass or other local hand craft.
The park was very Japanese, not much English happens here. Well, I was there in April, off peak. The staff were incredibly friendly and very proactive in welcoming guests. Warm and fuzzy feeling sort of theme park 🙂
This old lady, Yamashiro Umeto, was serious… that glass on top of her head was real. She balanced it on her head and dance around… she was 90+ and still dancing. She was (is) listed in Japan as a cultural property (yes, REAL). She was a Sanshin specialist, a traditional Okinawan string instrument. Really remarkable to watch her perform. The guy next to her custom made his Sanshin with twin head… just to make it harder to play. Joking of course. He custom made it out of his passion for the traditional instrument.
Beside the relic cultural living property, the park also offered a variety of parades and group dancing. The dancing style was some what Hawaiian-ish. Great fun to do it and laugh my head off silly.
The Sanshin class was tough… a lot harder than I thought. I was a tourist, so who cares if mine sounded like hell combo together with my crow interpretation of the Ryukyu songs?
The black sugar sweets was a regional specialty. This lady here was being assisted by a cow to grind the sugar.
There were a large variety of souvenirs (like the whole of Japan) and traditional Okinawan food. Do starve a bit before visiting. Otherwise, it will limit your capacity to try them all.
How to get here?
Ryukyu Mura / Ryukyu Village
By car is the quickest. From Naha to there is approximately 60min
Otherwise, do it like me – by bus
Naha Bus Terminal to Ryukyu Mura-mae 琉球村前 90min
JPY 1070 one way, Bus #120
**Bus are infrequent, check the schedule before hand.
Entrance fee: JPY 1200
Official site: http://www.ryukyumura.co.jp/ **Japanese only
Nearby features: Shuri Castle site – Okinawa, Japan
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