Okinawa is loaded with fun events to attend!
Editor's note: There's some great events coming up, so get off base and check them out! (This was updated Dec. 7)
2ND OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE FESTA IN NAGO HANEJI: Dec. 8-9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Enjoy Okinawa Yanbaru's nature by kayaking, cycling, and trekking; fees apply for activities (from 1,000 yen each); parking available up to 80 spots; 0980-43-0906; www.okinawa-haneji.jp/outdoorevent/189.
OKINAWA MARKT 2018: Dec. 8-9, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Minamino Shima no Nomino Ichi (Southern Island's Flea Market); Antiques, Arts, Crafts, Furniture, Fashion Clothes, Kimonos, Knick-knacks, Books, Foods and Music; free admission; at Saion Square; no parking available; 098-963-9349; www.okinawamarkt2018.ti-da.net/, www.facebook.com/okinawamarkt/.
I-JIMA CHUPANYA FESTIVAL 2018: Dec. 9; hibiscus pressed flower workshop; fabric workshop; 0980-49-3161; www.iejima.org/.
31ST NAGO, YANBARU 2-DAY MARCH: Dec. 8-9, 6:10 a.m.-4 p.m.; A walking event to enjoy the beautiful nature of Yanbaru (northern Okinawa); 0980-53-7530.
YOMITANZANYAKI POTTERY MARKET: Dec. 14-16, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Yamuchin (Okinawan pottery) available at reasonable prices; at Yamuchin no Sato; free admission; free parking available; 098-958-4468.
7TH OKINAWA PREFECTURE 'KENMIN NO MORI' KIZUNA EKIDEN: Dec. 15; 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; Ekiden-long distance relay- two races: Family Ekiden-5.5K by 3 runners, Kizuna Ekiden-12.1K by 5 runners; at Okinawa Kenmin No Mori; free parking available; 098-2792-6412; www.kenminnomori.okinawa/.
ZENHOREN PRESENTS WORLDWIDE EISA FESTIVAL ～FELLOWSHIP 2018～: Dec. 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Concept: prayers, emotions, fellowship with people over the world; at Ginowan City Gym; free admission; free parking available; 098-987-0926; www.eisa-okinawa.com/english/.
OZUMO OKINAWA PROVINCIAL TOUR: Dec. 15-16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sumo wrestling in Okinawa; tickets from 7,000-14,000 yen; at Okinawa Convention Center; 098-890-5577; www.sumo-okinawa.jp/.
9TH ISHIGAKI ISLAND POTTERY FESTIVAL: Dec. 15 at 10 a.m.-7 p.m., 16 at 10 .a.m-5 p.m.; potters from Yaeyama (12 Ishigaki Island potteries and 3 potteries from other isolated islands) gather for an exihibition and sale; free admission; 0980-82-1533; www.facebook.com/ishigaki.yakimono/
KAJIMAYA: Dec. 21, 8 p.m.; Performance Show by powerful Okinawan elders; Advance tickets-2,000 yen for adults, 2,500 yen at the door; 1,000 yen for children for both advance and at the door; at Music Town Otoichiba 3rd floor Hall; 098-932-1949; www.facebook.com/Kajimaya97/.
21ST WAKATEDA WO MIRU TSUDOI: Dec. 22, 6:30-8 a.m., A gathering at the Nakagusuku Castle to pray for eternal prosperity by viewing the Wakateda Sunrise; 098-935-5719; www.nakagusuku-jo.jp/en.
2ND KADENA GO! GO! FESTIVAL IN CHRISTMAS EVE 2018: Dec. 24, 3-9 p.m.; various kinds of musicians gather to celebrate Christmas Eve; advance tickets-1,000 yen, at the door-1,500 yen; free parking available; 098-956-1111; www.town.kadena.okinawa.jp/info/n4627.html, www.eplus.jp/sys/T1U89P0101P006001P0050001P002277081P0030001P0006.
41ST MABUNI, FIRE AND BELL FESTIVAL: Dec. 31, 10 p.m.-Jan. 1 a.m., The festival to see the New Year in as people learn about the horrors of war and the preciousness of the peace at the Okinawa Peace Hall; free admission; 098-997-3011.
SHINSHUN NO UTAGE: Jan. 1-3, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., New Year celebration ritual in the Ryukyu Kingdom style at the Shuri Castle Park; admission: adults-820 yen, high school students-660 yen, junior high and elementary students-310 yen, 5 and under-free; parking available, but using public transportation recommended; 098-886-2020; www.oki-park.jp/shurijo/event/180.
'UTUIMUCHI WITH TRADITIONAL RYUKYU PERFORMANCES: Every Satruday until Jan. 12; live stage performances of traditional Ryukyu performing arts; at Minyo Club Nantahama; no parking available; ticket: 2,500 yen including one drink; 098-989-5566.
YAMBARU ART FESTIVAL 2018-2019: Dec. 15-Jan. 20; art festival to appreciate Okinawan traditional fabric, pottery, etc., as well as contemporary art, design, pictures and music; will take place in several locations in Yambaru-northern Okinawa; free admission; 098-861-5141; www.yambaru-artfes.jp/.
57TH NAGO SAKURA FESTIVAL: Jan. 26-27, Enjoy a 2K-long promenade full of cherry blossom and the scenery of the East China Sea from the observation deck; at Nangusuku (Nago Castle Park), one of Japan's best 100 cherry blossom sites; there will be street dance and Eisa performances during the parade; 0980-53-7755; www.nagomun.or.jp/event/1606/.
12TH NAKIJINGUSUKU SAKURA FESTIVAL: Jan. 26-Feb. 11, Traditional art live performances such as Eisa, special products exhibitions, cherry blossom illumination during the night time; at Nakijingusuku (Nakijin Castle); admission: adults-400 yen, elementary-high school students-300 yen, kindergarteners or yonger-free; free parking available up to 320 spots; 0980-56-2256/4400; www.nakijinjoseki.jp/en/.
SHIP OF THE RYUKYU: Oct. 3 through Feb. 17, 2019; stage performance of Okinawan traditional performing arts, including Okinawa Karate and Eisa; at Tenbusu Hall and Palette Civic Theater; tickets: 2,500 yen for adults, 2,000 yen for high school students and younger; free for preschoolers; no parking available; 098-987-0926; www.magnetcontents.net/.
36TH OKINAWA FLOWER CARNIVAL: Jan. 19-May 6; Event inludes: Welcome Flower Campaign, Flower Message School Contest, Flower Message Photo Contest, Flower Rally; more details available on the website; 098-995-6233; www.okinawastory.jp/contents/flower_carnival/.