Bingata Kijimuna l Okinawa Hai!

CONTRIBUTED BY JULIE WOOLERY

Bingata Kijimuna l Okinawa Hai!

Bingata is a form of painting on fabric that uses stencil patterns and multiple colors of paint. It has been part of Ryukyu history for 500 years. Once you know what bingata looks like, you’ll realize you’ve seen it everywhere on Okinawa … t-shirts, bags, kimonos, etc. While it’s a very unique gift to buy for family and friends, it’s even more fun to paint yourself! My favorite place for a fun and meaningful bingata experience is at Bingata Kijimuna in Nago.

Bingata Kijimuna l Okinawa Hai!

Bingata Kijimuna l Okinawa Hai!When you get to Bingata Kijimuna, you are warmly greeted by Yumiko and Ryuji Baba, the owners and artists. They have a variety of bingata designs and textiles (bag, t-shirt, coaster, etc.) for you to choose from.

They make the stencils for each design, and many of their designs come from pictures Ryuji has taken on nature walks he gives in northern Okinawa (another part of their business).

After you choose your design and textile, a special glue is used to put the pattern on the cloth. After it dries for a few minutes, it’s time for you to start painting!

A first coat is painted using many colors. When you finish the first coat, you then use a different shading technique with only four color options. After two days, you soak your bingata and wash off the glue, and it’s finished!

Bingata Kijimuna l Okinawa Hai!The first time I went to do bingata, I was incredibly nervous. I had seen some of my friends’ work and heard their stories of how fun it was, but I am not an artist. I didn’t think there was any way I could make something look like the examples I saw in the shop. But fortunately, bingata is very forgiving. Since the glue washes off after a few days, any paint that is ‘outside the lines’ magically disappears, and you have a beautiful bingata piece that friends are shocked to hear was painted by you!

My sons started doing their own bingata when they were only four years old, and even their work looks great. You can also take your own items to bingata – curtains, fabric, clothing, the possibilities are endless! Yumiko and Ryuji are incredibly gracious and helpful, and you will leave their shop with new friends you can’t help but visit every time you’re up in Nago.

They also have a little gift shop with many different bingata gifts you can purchase. The prices for the bingata experience (do it yourself) range from ¥1500 – ¥2500. You need to make an appointment and plan on being there about 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Bingata Kijimuna l Okinawa Hai!

Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. by appointment

Payment: Yen, US $, & Credit Card

Contact: To make an appointment, send a message to their Facebook Page  or the Bingata Kijimuna website

Phone: 098-054-0701

Address: 178 Umusa Nago-shi Okinawa-ken 905-0006 Japan

Directions: Go North on 58 into Nago. After you pass the 21st Century Park on your left, turn left at the light for 449. Pass the Nago Ballpark and Restaurant Flipper. Before you reach Café Captain Kangaroo, turn right into a residential area and you will see Bingata Kijimuna.

Map Coordinates: 26.5956095, 127.95884780000006

 

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. Contacted Bingata Kijimuna via their FB page to make reservations for 8 of us to attend their shop. The communication from the beginning was top notch and they were very helpful. I was in direct contact with them via messaging right up until the hour before we arrived! We made a day trip out of it by stopping at Capt K for lunch. Walked the beach behind the cafe, then went across the street to paint. Ryu and Yumy are very kind people and their small shop was very welcoming. They were very good at explaining the process and having everything set up for us before we arrived. Before we arrived, Ryu had been in touch with his website link and had us pick our design out before hand. We all painted on fabric canvas (later having our pieces framed at the Kadena Arts & Crafts). I cannot say enough great things about this small shop and the experience, as well as the art, that you take away from Okinawa! Very easy to find, very easy to communicate, and overall, a great experience 🙂 They also have other Bingata items for sale in their shop, as well as an Etsy page. We finished this trip with a stop at the large Blue Seal just at the entrance to Nago, followed by a quick side trip to melody road. An easy, yet fun few hours exploring Okinawa! I plan to go back to this shop again before we leave the island!!

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Kristin!
      We also had a wonderful time the other day.
      I’m glad to know you like Bingata.
      I’m looking forward to seeing you again.
      Ryu

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