Beautiful Contrast made by the Okinawan Weather, the Red Roof Tile.
If you’re asked to give a image color of Okinawa, you would probably say “blue” that typically represents Okinawa’s ocean and sky.
But “red” is also a color that strongly represents Okinawa.
The red roof tiles that shine in the blue sky, what a great color combination that seems very much like Okinawa.
The red roof tiles decorate Shuri Castle’s roof and many other public facilities and hotels.
These unglazed red roof tiles are made from a mudstone called “Kucha” which contains rich iron mineral. These tiles allows heat to dissipate when evaporating moisture which allows coolness inside the house.
Comparing to concrete roof, these red tiles can keep the room 4 degrees Celsius cooler.
The tiles are molded and fixed together by plaster, so structure-wise, it is very firm and can withstand typhoon weather.
There’s no need to worry about tiles flying out during strong winds.
The contrast of the tile and the plaster are very beautiful, and functions well as a roof in the Okinawan weather.
The red roof tiles were first introduced during the Dynastic Period in the early 18th century.
For a long time, the use of these tiles were only allowed to people from Shuri, Naha, and descendants of samurais. Civilians who lived under thatched roof yearned for these tiles.
Finally in the year of 1889, the red roof tiles were open to the public without any restrictions.
Since then, the red roof tiles have spread thru the island decorating the roofs of many houses.
The Shisa (Okinawan lion statues used as talisman against evil) seen on the roofs became popular during this same period.
It is said, that these Shisa statues were first made by craftsmen who used remaining of the red roof tiles.
Recommended sight seeing spots where you can see the red roof tiles.
Shurijo Castle Park
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