Walking around residential areas in Okinawa, you will notice “shisa” everywhere.
Most of them are placed on rooftops, but there are also many cases where they are placed on gateposts.
The cool looking Shisa are quite popular among Japanese living on the mainland as well as among foreigners.
For this reason, many stores and facilities in Okinawa Prefecture offer hands-on services such as “shisa making” and “shisa coloring.
In this article, we would like to explain about the shisa, the symbol of Okinawa, and introduce some spots where you can enjoy coloring and shisa making.
What is a Shisa?
First of all, let’s start with the question, “What exactly is a shisa? Let’s start with the question, “What exactly is a Shisa?
Shisa is a lion, a guardian deity that is believed to ward off evil and misfortune.
It is a guardian deity unique to Okinawa, and Shisa can be found in private homes as well as in various public facilities.
Basically, two Shisa are placed in a set, one on either side of the other, facing away from the intruder.
Incidentally, there are male and female Shi-saars.
The one with its mouth open is the male, and the one with its mouth closed is the female. (One set consists of one male and one female Shisa.)
The male should be placed on the right side and the female on the left side when viewed from the front.
The area around the place of placement should always be kept clean.
In recent years, shisa are not only used to ward off evil spirits, but are also recognized as “ornaments that bring good luck,” and many visitors to Okinawa buy shisa-related goods as souvenirs.
In Okinawa Prefecture, there are places where large shisa can be seen, such as the “Stone Carved Big Lion in Tomimori,” the “Big Lion in Zanbo,” and the “Shisa Slide in Kamamamine Park.
Spots where visitors can enjoy coloring and shisa making
Now, let us introduce some spots where you can actually experience coloring and making shisa.
Located in Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture, “Maimai Shisa” is a store where you can make cute shisa.
They can make not only pair or single Shisa, but also family Shisa, wedding Shisa, and so on.
The original Shisa has a dignified appearance, but the Shisa sold at this store has a cute design with a smiling face.
This is why they are very popular among women and children.
There are courses where visitors can experience shisa making from one year to the next, and there are also courses where visitors can just paint the shisa.
A single shisa can be created for 1,650 yen to 3,438 yen for a coloring course.
Churakaji, located in Makishi, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture, is a store that offers shisa making, accessories, music box making, and more.
The shop offers a “pottery Shisa making experience” for 3,200 yen to 5,300 yen, and an “unglazed Shisa making experience” for 2,100 yen to 3,200 yen.
There is also a “Ceramic Shisa Painting Experience” where you can paint a cute Shisa for 1,800-2,300 yen, and a “Shisa Accessory Painting Experience” for 1,300 yen.
Of course, you can take home the Shisa you made.
You can try the experience without a reservation, but it is best to make a reservation before visiting the store, as the shop may be filled to capacity with reservations during the top season.
Enjoy Workshop, located in Tamemata, Nago City, Okinawa, also offers a variety of shisa making services.
The shop is so popular that it has produced a total of over 60,000 shisa, all of which are original and adorable.
You can buy the handmade Shisa as they are, but the most popular activity is the “painting experience” where you can paint the Shisa yourself.
The plaster Shisa costs 2,000 yen for a small size, 2,640 yen for a medium size, and 4,100 yen for a large size.
The ceramic Shisa costs 2,400 yen for a small size, 3,000 yen for a medium size, and 5,300 yen for a large size.
Unglazed Shisa are 2,250 yen for small size, 2,800 yen for medium size, and 4,100 yen for large size.
In addition to the coloring experience, you can also make your own Shi-sa from clay (5,200 yen per piece, 4,700 yen per piece for two or more), or have the completed Shi-sa sent to you at a later date (5,500 yen plus 2,000 yen for shipping).
In this article, we have explained about the “Shisa,” the symbol of Okinawa, and introduced spots where you can enjoy coloring and Shisa making.
Shisa are very popular as ornaments to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.
If you visit Okinawa on vacation, you may want to take one home with you as a souvenir, and if you move to Okinawa, you may want to place your own Shisa on the roof or gatepost of your home.
Why not visit one of the places listed above where you can make your own shisa?