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5 Selected Recommended Autumn Festivals in Okinawa

2016.10.06

Writer name : Naoko Goto

Okinawa may conjure strong impressions of a “summer resort,” but fall in Okinawa has comfortable weather and many fun events worth checking out. Here are 5 events that you should check out.

1. The Naha Giant Tug-of-War Festival

The Naha Giant Tug-of-War Festival is a traditional cultural event that has been restored in recent years. This festival was officially recognized in 1995 in the Guinness Book of World Records as using the biggest tug-of-war rope in the world. An enormous crowd gathers at the Kumoji intersection where the event is held. There are many related events like cultural performance parades and live music, which are held from a day before to a day after the tug-of-war. This festival will run from October 8th (Saturday) to October 10th (Monday) in 2016. The tug-of-war will be held on the morning of the 9th, starting with a parade of all of the teams.


1. The Naha Giant Tug-of-War Festival


Official Homepage

2. Shuri Castle Festival

Okinawa was once an independent country called the Ryukyu Kingdom. The palace of that kingdom was Shuri Castle, and the Shuri Castle Festival is an event celebrating Ryukyu dynasty culture. The festival is held from late October to early November, with many exciting events like a gorgeous party with traditional Ryukyu dancing, rituals, and a parade imitating a coronation, among many more. For more information, please see the official homepage. This exotic cultural festival is an event which will captivate anyone who visits.


2. Shuri Castle Festival


Official Homepage

3. Island-Wide Lion Dance Festival

The Okinawan lion dance is said to have been introduced from China, and is very unique when compared to the lion dance of other regions of Japan. One of the characteristics of the Okinawan lion dance is that the whole body of the figure of the lion is covered in fur. The Island-Wide Lion Dance Festival invites not only the whole of Okinawa, but also performers from other regions of Japan to perform the lion dance. The location of this event is the Agena Bullring in Uruma, formerly known as Gushikawa. This city has strong historic cultural ties to the lion, as there is a nearby mountain called Shi-shi Yama (lion mountain) that was once a natural lion habitat. This event will surely be exciting. The Island-Wide Lion Dance Festival will be held on October 23rd (Sunday) in 2016.

*The photo is for illustrative purposes.


3. Island-Wide Lion Dance Festival


Uruma Tourism and Production Association Uruma-ru Official Homeage (Japanese Only)

4. Okinawa Industrial Festival

This is a festival where various businesses that support Okinawa, including the craft, food, energy, and creative industries come together. This is a large-scale festival that takes place on the vast grounds of Onoyama Park and in the Okinawa Budokan Arena inside Onoyama Park. At this festival. the whole range of Okinawan culture can be experienced, from cuisine to fine crafts. The Okinawa Industrial Festival will be held for 3 days from October 21st (Friday) to October 23rd (Sunday) in 2016. Since the venue is huge, it would be wise to take a pamphlet guide on the way in.

*The photo is for illustrative purposes.


4. Okinawa Industrial Festival


Official Homepage (Japanese Only)

5. Eisa EXPO 2016

Eisa is one of the traditional performance arts of Okinawa. Groups of people will dance and sing to the beat of a drum. Many groups from various areas in Okinawa who adore eisa will gather to perform at the Eisa Expo 2016: The 6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival. There are also events like the eisa history exhibition and cultural interaction through eisa, which are held at the same venue to help people experience and understand eisa. This festival will be held at the Okinawa Budokan Arena on October 30th, 2016 (Sunday).

*The photo is for illustrative purposes.


5. Eisa EXPO 2016


Official Homepage

Okinawa is a place with a rich and unique culture as well as beautiful resorts. These Okinawan cultural festivals and events are held frequently in the fall. Why not take this opportunity to really dive into and explore the culture and the modern face of Okinawa?

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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