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Best Local History & Culture in Okinawa

By: Cityseeker
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Nakamura Family Residence

Home to a municipal head from the 18th Century, the Nakamura Family Residence contains the most iconic features of Okinawan architecture, namely the red tiled roofs and the shisa (lion-like statue that wards off evil). Stone walls and tall trees protect the house from Okinawa's frequent typhoons. Visitors to the residence should also consider visiting Nakagusuku Castle, which is close by.

Okinawa, Japan
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Okinawa Prefectural Museum

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.

Naha, Japan
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Naha City Museum of Traditional Arts & Crafts

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.

Naha, Japan
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Haebaru Town Culture Center

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.

Haebaru, Japan
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Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum

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.

Itoman, Japan
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