Wow! Look at all the fun things to do on Okinawa!
Editor's note: There's some great events coming up, so get off base and check them out! (This was updated Jan. 19)
YAMBARU NATIONAL PARK DAISEKIRINZAN 'JAPANESE AND OKINAWAN STONES': Until Jan. 20, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Stone exihibition of Japanese national stone Hisui-Jade and Okinawan stones: coral limestone, rock phosphate and Minatogawa (prehistoric Okinawan people) fossil; at Yambaru National Park Daisekirinzan; free admission; free parking available; 0980-41-8117; www.sekirinzan.com/en/.
12TH KUMEJIMA NONBIRI WALK: Jan. 19-20, 5K, 9K, 15K, and 30K walk courses on the 19th, 4K, 12K, 22K walk courses on the 20th (starting time and fees vary for each course); 098-896-7010; www.kanko-kumejima.com/archives/21356; Read the brochure for more details.
ITOMAN FAIR: Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; 20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; stage performances-kids dance, Eisa, etc.; food exhibitions from other prefectures' cities, lottery, etc.; free admission; temporary parking available; at Michi no Eki Itoman; 098-840-3100.
YAMBARU ART FESTIVAL 2018-2019: Until 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/.
10TH CHURA SHIMA OKINAWA CENTURY RUN 2019: Jan. 19 (45K) 10:30 a.m., Jan. 20 (108K at 7 a.m. and 167K 9 a.m.); start at Onna-son Community Center; 098-867-2659; www.cocr.jp/cocr_course_index_eng.php.
KUNIGAMI VILLAGE INDUSTRY FESTIVAL: Jan. 19-20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Food concessions of local agricultural, live stock, and marine products; Hi-ja O-rase (Goat figting); wood crafts and forest therapy experience, stage performances; free admission; parking available; at the Kunigami Village Tourism Center (main venue) and Kunigami Village Forest Park (forest therapy); 0980-41-2122; www.vill.kunigami.okinawa.jp/.
60TH NAGO HALF MARATHON: Jan. 20, 9 a.m.; Okinawa's oldest road race: 3K, 10K, and half marathon; start and finish at Nago City Athletic Field; 0980-53-6890; www.i-sam.co.jp/nago-marathon/.
3RD IHEYA VILLAGE TRAIL: Jan. 26, 30K at 8:30 a.m., 15K at 2 p.m., 5K at 2:30 p.m., Experience Okinawa's rich nature while running/walking. ; 098-877-6122; www.vill.iheya.okinawa.jp/detail.jsp?id=91188&type=TopicsTopPage&select=&funcid=2&editMode=.
3RD YAESE TEi-ICHI: Jan. 26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; market of handmade products and workshop; free admission; free parking available; at Minami no Eki; 098-998-2344; www.town.yaese.lg.jp/yaese_sight/.
2019 ICHIBAN ZAKURA NORDIC WALKING: Jan. 26, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; a walking event to view the first cherry blossom blooming; 7K & 12K walking courses; at Nakijinson Athletic Park; fee: 1,000 yen; free parking available; 0980-56-5955; www.nakijin.com/sc/events_nw_2019.html.
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/.
133RD MORI NO NIGIWAI: Jan. 26-27, two shows each day-12:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.; This marks the 36th consecutive year of Mori No Nigiwai; the event includes Ryukyu dancing, fork art, "Shimauta"- a popular song in the early 1990s by THE BOOM; at the Okinawa Convention Center; no parking available; ticket: 3,300 yen; 098-861-5539; www.jtb.co.jp/chiikikoryu/mori/future_event/no133.asp.
42ND OKINAWA CITY INDUSTRIAL FESTIVAL: Jan. 26-27, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (ends at 5 p.m. Jan. 27); agricultural products, seafood, crafts, Ryukyu musical instruments, awamori exihibitions; from live music and Eisa stage perfomances to manufacturing experience, this is a great weekend event at the Okinawa Comprehensive Athletic Park; free shuttle from the AEON Mall Okinawa Rycom available; free admission; 098-929-3300; www.kozaweb.jp/.
13TH KADENA-CHO INDUSTRY FESTIVAL: Jan. 26-27, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Enjoy Kadena's "Ma-samun" (delicious) agricultural products, seafood, processed products, snacks, agiricultural product exhibition and sale, brown sugar making experience, and raffle at Michinoeki Kadena; free admission; 098-956-1111; www.town.kadena.okinawa.jp/info/n4698.html.
13TH YAESE SAKURA FESTIVAL: Feb. 3, 1-5 p.m. (light-up at night Jan. 25 - Feb. 11); live stage performances, Yaese-cho's local products, awamori service by a local distillery; Yaese Park Tour is also planned; 098-998-2344; www.town.yaese.lg.jp/yaese_sight/.
18TH URASOE TWO-DAY MARCH TEDAKO WALK 2019: Feb. 2-3, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.,; biggest walking event on Okinawa, walk through Camp Kinser, Urasoe West Coast Road, etc. in Urasoe City; 3K, 5K, 10K, 20K, 30K, and sunset courses; start at Urasoe Culture Park (Tedako Square) and finish at ANA Arena Urasoe; 098-876-1234; www.city.urasoe.lg.jp/tedakowalk/2019/.
'MINAMI NO EKI YAESE' MINZOKU GEINO KOEN: Feb. 9-10, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., folk art performances by serveral groups in Yaese-cho; free admission; free parking available; rescheduled in case of rain; 098-998-2344; www.town.yaese.lg.jp/yaese_sight/culture-traditionalarts/2553/.
NAHA CHURA SAKURA FESTIVAL: Feb. 9-10; Every February, pink Kanhizakura is in full bloom at the Manko Park. There will be chilren's dance performances and exhibitions during the festival; free admission; 098-853-3554.
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: Through Feb. 17; 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/.
OCEAN EXPO PARK CHURAUMI FLOWER FESTIVAL: Jan. 26-Feb. 24, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; In theme of Flower Island Okinawa, approximately 400,000 flowers decorate the park; there will a number of 3D flowerbeds such as octopus, sharks, dolphins, etc.; free admission; free parking available; 0980-48-2741; www.oki-park.jp/kaiyohaku/.
NAHA SAKURA FESTIVAL: Feb. 20-24, 10 a.m.; stage performances-folk song, Eisa on the 24th; at Naha City Yogi Park; free admission; toll parking available; 098-855-2552.
RYUKYU LANTERN FESTIVAL: Until March 3, over 3,000 laterns light up the recreated Ryukyu streetscape; enjoy live stage performances, projection mapping and food concessions; free parking available; adults: 600 yen, middle school and high school students: 500 yen, elementary school students: 400 yen; at Murasaki Mura; 098-958-1111; www.murasakimura.com/.
10TH OKINAWA ZOO & MUSEUM FLOWER FESTIVAL 2019: Feb. 27-April 7, 9:30-5:30; Spring is coming to Japan's southernmost interactive zoo and museum; a number of workshops and events throughout the festival month; adults-500 yen, high school and middle school students-200 yen, K-6th grade-100 yen; 3-year-olds and younger-free; free parking lots available; 098-933-4190; www.okzm.jp/event/kodomo/entry-781.html.
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/.