There’s a lot to see and do in Okinawa during the summer. Here’s a great starter list that I found in Okinawa Stripes (6/10/18). I added a video (or photo when videos weren’t available) to each to give you a sense of the event or the location. If you’ve been to any of these places or participated in the events, please post a comment about your experiences. If you can think of other must-visit places to add to this list, share your suggestions in the comments section below. Thanks. -Jim
SEA WATER DREAM FESTIVAL: Jun. 10; Jun. 12 is set as Kume Island’s Deep Ocean Water Day (as the island’s water intake is from water depth 612 meters); deep ocean water item sales, Foot Cool event to experience the cold deep ocean water, etc.; venue TBD; free admission; 098-851-9162; www.town.kumejima.okinawa.jp/.
TOMARIIYUMACHI, FATHER’S DAY FISH FAIR-TUNA FESTIVAL: Jun. 16-17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; free admission; 098-868-1096.
ITOMAN HA-RE-: Jun. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Dragon Boat Race at Itoman Fishing Port Naka District; free admission; 098-992-2011; www.city.itoman.lg.jp/kankou-navi/.
OUJIMA KAIJINSAI HA-RI-: Jun. 17, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Dragon Boat Race at the Oujima Fishing Harbor; free admission; social gathering after the races; 098-948-7190.
MINATOGAWA HA-RE- KAIJINSAI: Jun. 17, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dragon Boat Race at the Minatogawa Fishing Harbor; free admission; 098-998-2261.
KUME JIMA HA-RI-: Jun. 17 & 24 at several ports on Kume Island; free admission; www.kanko-kumejima.com/.
MEMORIAL DAY-PEACE PILLAR OF LIGHT: Jun.22-23, 6-10 p.m.; Five pillars of light representing war victioms from five different counites will be lit up in Mabuni, the final battle sight of the Battle of Okinawa; at the Okinawa Senseki Quasi-National Park; free admission; 098-997-2765; www.heiwa-irei-okinawa.jp/.
MIYAKO ISLAND ROCK FESTIVAL 2018 ～SAVE THE SEA, SAVE THE SKY～: Jun. 23, noon; Advance ticket: 6,000 yen, 7,000 yen at the door; 4,000 yen for students (Tsutaya Miyako Island Store sales only); all unreserved seats; www.mirf.jp/.
SABANI HANSOU RACE: Jun. 23-24; 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. award ceremony and party from 6 p.m.; sailing race from Zamami Island (Furu Zamami Beach) to Naha Port; 098-987-2277; www.photowave.jp/sabani_s/index.html.
MAJA INAHO SAI SUMO: Jun. 28, 2 p.m.; One of the five annual whole Kume Island Okinawa Sumo competitions; register on the day of the event to participate; free to watch; at the Maja Bosatsudo Square; 098-896-7010; www.kanko-kumejima.com/.
SUTSU UNAPUKA: May through June; Sutsu means season, Unapuka means celebration, gratitude, and festival; originally; this is a festival to offer millet, so it takes place in the lunar calendar’s May, the harvest time for millet; free admission; 098-079-2664; www.vill.tarama.okinawa.jp/.
ZAMAMI YACHT RACE: Jun. 30; Okinawa’s most historical yacht race; races from Ginowan Marina to Zamami Port; free experience test-ride event is planned after the race; free admission; 098-987-2320; www.vill.zamami.okinawa.jp/.
29TH JAPAN’S WESTERNMOST YONAGUNI ISLAND INTERNATIONAL MARLIN FISHING: July 6-8, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; at Kubura Fishing Port; free admission; 098-087-2241; www.welcome-yonaguni.jp/fishing/.
35TH PEACFUL LOVE ROCK FESTIVAL: July 14, Noon; at Koza Music Town in Okinawa City; free admission; 098-932-1949; www.peaceful-love-rock.com/.
OKINAWA WORLD CAVING ON A TROPICAL ISLAND: July 14-Sept. 30; July 14-Aug.31 Mon.-Fri. at 10 and 11 a.m.; Sat., Sun., holidays at 10, 11 a.m., & 2 p.m.; Sept. 1-30, Mon-Fri at 10 a.m.; Sat., Sun., holidays at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m.; Caving in the Cave Gyoku Sendo; 3,000 yen fees and 1,000 yen for caving gear rental; Children below 4th grade must be accompanied by a guardian; 3,000 yen for a married couple on July, Aug., Sept. 22; reservation required; parking available; 098-949-7421; www.gyokusendo.co.jp/okinawaworld/okinawacave/exploration.html.
NIGHT ZOO SATUR-ZOO NIGHT: Okinawa Zoo & Museum will be open until 9 p.m. every Saturday from late July and throughout summer break; 098-933-4190; admissions: adults-500 yen, junior high-high school students-200 yen, K-6-100 yen, 3 years old and younger-free; 098-933-4190; www.okzm.jp/.
25TH KANNA DAM FESTIVAL: July 29; Events to feel the nature; Canoeing experience and woodwork shop; free admission; parking available; 098-968-5125; www.vill.ginoza.okinawa.jp/.
30TH ALL OKINAWA CHILDREN EISA FESTIVAL: July 29; Children’s Eisa performances at the Toyosaki Chura SUN Beach stage; free admission; parking available; 098-850-3280.
2018 KUJIRA KAIKYO TOKASHIKI FESTIVAL: Late July TBD; Biggest summer event on Tokashiki Island; Taiko (drum) performance, Eisa, fireworks, etc. at Tokashiki Son Elementary-Middle School; free admission; 098-987-2430
KUROSHIMA HOUNENSAI: Late July-early August; several dedication arts performed at the Miyazato Beach; 098-082-5445
1ST SHITAKUISHOU TENRANKAI: July 20-22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; exhibition of Yonabaru Tug of war (with 440 years of history) costumes; dressing and photo sessions available (first come, first served basis; 1,000 yen); free admission; at the Yonabaru-cho Community Center; 098-945-5323; www.yonabaru.okinawa/event/.
2018 KUMEJIMA FESTIVAL: Aug. 4-5, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Okinawa Sumo; ghost leg lottery; live music concerts, fireworks and more for 2 days; at the Kumejima-cho Fureai Park; free admission; 098-851-9162; www.town.kumejima.okinawa.jp/.
24TH 10,000 PEOPLE’S EISA DANCE PARTY: Aug. 5, 1-6:30 p.m., Eisa parade on a mile-long Kokusai Street; various Eisa performances and you can even join the parade on the day (1,000 yen for impromptu participation); 098-863-2755; www.naha-navi.or.jp/en/event/178/.
GIMA SHIRADOZO SUMO: Aug. 6, 2-8 p.m.; One of the five annual whole Kume Island Okinawa Sumo competitions; register on the day of the event to participate; at the Gima Shiradozo; 098-896-7010; www.kanko-kumejima.com/.
SHANADO NANZAJO SUMO: Aug. 7; 2-8 p.m.; One of the five annual whole Kume Island Okinawa Sumo competitions; register on the day of the event to participate; at the Janado Community Center; 098-896-7010; www.kanko-kumejima.com/.
36TH YONABARU TUG OF WAR: Aug. 11-12; Giant tug of war event with 440 years of history; rope is 90 meters long and weighs 5 tons; at the Yonabaru-cho Udunyama Youth Square; 098-945-5323; www.yonabaru.okinawa/.
Southern Island Star Festival 2018: Aug. 11-19; A week full of stargazing events on Ishigaki Island; free admission; reservations required for some events; 098-082-1535; www.star-festival.amebaownd.com/.
KUNIGAMISON FESTIVAL: Aug. 18-19; stage live performances, Ha-Ri- (dragon boat race); fireworks, etc.; at Kunigami Middle School; free admission; 098-041-2101. * Event details will be finalized in early July.
19TH IZENA SHOEN-OH FESTIVAL: Aug. 18-19, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; children’s soccer, Ha-Ri-, character show, live music, fireworks, etc.; at the Izenason Rinkai Fureai Park; free admission; 098-045-2534.
ZAMAMI ISLAND FESTIVAL: Mid-Aug. date TBD; Eisa, Ryukyu dance, Hawaiian Hula dance, band performances, fireworks, various food stands at the Zamami Port Terminal Square; free admission; 098-896-4321; www.vill.zamami.okinawa.jp/.
HATERUMA ISLAND MUSHA-MA: Aug. 24; island’s biggest event that prays for the bumper year and the islanders’ safety; costume parade, dance; at the Hateruma Public Hall; 098-082-5445; www.painusima.com/.
63TH OKINAWA ZENTO EISA FESTIVAL: Aug. 31-Sept. 2; Biggest Eisa events for 3 days-Eisa Parade on Goya Crossroad 6-9 p.m., Aug. 31, Okinawa City Youth Festival at the Okinawa City Koza Sports Park 3-9 p.m. Sept. 1, Okinawa Zento Eisa at the Okinawa City Koza Sports Park 3-9 p.m., Sept. 2; free admission, fees (1,000-2,500 yen) apply for box seats; 098-937-3986; www.zentoeisa.com/.
NISHIME WHOLE ISLAND SUMO, NISHIME EISA: Late Aug. date TBD; at the old Nishime Bullring; free admission; 098-896-7010; www.kanko-kumejima.com/.
Thanks Jim. An exciting Summer is in order. I enjoy reading your posts.
Hi, Kim. Good to hear from you. Btw, I missed my chance to see Uema Ayano when she visited Hawaii recently. I learned she was here only after she left. I want to to watch her perform live someday. She really rocks the sanshin. -Jim