Comfort Hotel Naha Prefectural Office
Phone: (81) 98 941 7311
Fax: (81) 98 941 7312
Arts & Museums
The Iriomote island (part of the Yaeyama Islands) is home to the Prionailurus iriomotensis, or in Japanese the Iriomote-yamaneko, or simply the Iriomote Wildcat. This nocturnal feline animal is endangered and there are an estimated 100 of remaining in nature. The Yamaneko Museum houses injured and rescued wildcats, which can be viewed via live video feed. Exhibits not only offer knowledge about this rare breed of feline, but also give insight to the other animals native to the island. Information in English is also available for tourists. Admission is free of charge and the museum is closed Mondays, on national holidays, and on Okinawa Day (June 6).
Located near Kokusai Street, this gallery exhibits the work of local artisans and has pieces available for sale at the front of the shop. Each piece is carefully selected by the owner, Minoru Yasumoto, and often hosts exhibits that are advertised in local magazines and newspapers. Handcrafted ceramics, lacquer ware, and weaving are only some of the products that are available.
Suited for those who love arts and crafts, this museum not only displays elegant and delicate works of traditional Ryukyuan crafts, but also allows visitors to try to make their own works of art. Artistic tourists can experiment with designing lacquer ware, glass, colorful bingata (a dyeing technique) textiles, and weaving. The gallery itself probably only takes half an hour to go through, and reservations for the workshops are recommended. The museum is closed on Wednesdays, and last admission is half an hour before closing.
What is now the massive Okinawa Prefectural Museum and the Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum began humbly in 1945 as an effort to acquaint the United States military with Okinawan culture, and served as a replacement to the museum that was lost during the battle. Now, this museum houses extraordinary exhibits regarding everything Okinawan, focusing particularly on the impact of the ocean on Okinawa's distinctive culture. Fossils of ancient sea creatures and the 18,000-year-old Minatogawa Man are also on display. Kids will love the Touch and Experience Room, where they can study and touch items that are linked to the main exhibits. Rooms in the museum can also be rented out for events. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Located within the Okinawa Prefectural Museum, the Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum is the only prefectural museum to house exhibits from local artists that date from the Meiji Era to the present. The wide time frame also accommodates a wide variety of artistic mediums, ranging from paint and sculpture to multimedia and film exhibitions. As the central hub of the Okinawa art scene and an homage to the pre- and post-war era, this is a must visit gallery.
Collected by United States marines and veterans, this museum in Camp Kinser exhibits found and purchased artifacts from Okinawan battlefields in an effort to document the sacrifices made by all who participated in the war. Entry is free for everyone, and any of the items can be touched and held by visitors to enhance the learning experience. Curators are extremely knowledgeable about the Battle of Okinawa, and welcome questions.
Before Shuri, Urasoe was the economic and cultural center of the Ryukyu Islands and still hosts a multitude of historic and cultural artifacts. The museum specializes in displaying exquisite pieces of Ryukyu lacquer ware and pottery, heavily influenced by trade with China. If you feel inspired to create, contact the museum to find out more about their pottery and wood carving classes. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Adjacent to Naha in Haebaru Town, the Haebaru Town Culture Center contains items that are dedicated to the local culture and relics from the Battle of Okinawa. The reproduction of Haebaru's military hospital within one of the exhibits allows visitors to imagine how the war impacted the lives of the people in this prosperous town. Traditional performances are staged occasionally, and the museum is closed on Wednesdays.
Karate was born in response to the ban on carrying weapons imposed by the Satsuma Clan when Okinawa became first dominated by Japan. This museum contains photographs of karate masters, weapons displays, and a treasure trove of knowledge in its curator, Hokama. Martial arts enthusiasts can also partake in weaponry classes. Be sure to phone in advance if not visiting on a Tuesday or Saturday.
Built on land reclaimed from the US military, this museum was founded by Michio Sakima as a place for peaceful mediation on the lasting effects of World War II. A piece entitled "Figure of the Battle of Okinawa" shows visitors an artistic interpretation of the ravages of the war, impacting viewers in a way that perhaps history museums cannot. Futenma Air Base can be viewed in its entirety from the roof. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and holidays.
During the Battle of Okinawa, female high school students were mobilized to form a nursing unit known as the Himeyuri Student Corps. Testimonies, photographs and keepsakes of the 200 girls who died are displayed at this museum, ensuring that future generations will learn from their sacrifice. People with disabilities and their caretakers are offered free admission, and wheelchairs can be rented if the museum is contacted beforehand. Last admission is half an hour before closing.
Located in Peace Memorial Park, the exhibits at the Okinawan Prefectural Peace Museum are separated into five rooms, three of which focus on the Battle of Okinawa in which at least 200,000 people were killed, and two of which focus on pre- and post-war Okinawa. The museum has films, photos, and personal testimonies regarding the tragedies that occurred, in the hope that the pain endured during that time will not be repeated.