Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

Posted Saturday, September 4, 2010 ·

Naha is the capitol city of Okinawa, located on the southern west coast of the island and boasting a population of just over three-hundred thousand. The colorful figures above are the modern comical versions of Shisa - guardians of the city. Japanese mythology states that the Shisa come in a male / female pair. The female has her mouth closed to keep in good spirits, while the male has his mouth open to ward off the bad spirits. Shisa were everywhere on the island, usually placed on rooftops or in front of houses.

Naha city was named after a large mushroom-shaped stone (Naba) found within its borders. The stone eventually wore away and became buried and the cities pronunciation slowly changed to Naha. Very interesting. Below is a view of all three hundred thousand people's homes.

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