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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.
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.
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.