Fabulous festivities on Okinawa that should be checked out!
Editor's note: There's some great events coming up, so get off base and check them out! (This was updated Dec. 14)
YOMITAN POTTERY MARKET: Dec. 15-17, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; A wide variety of potteries available at reasonable prices; at the Yomitan Pottery Village; 098-958-4468; www.yomitan-kankou.jp/detail.jsp?id=74732&menuid=11949&funcid=3
8TH ISHIGAKI ISLAND POTTERY FESTIVAL: Dec. 16 at 10 a.m.-7 p.m., 17 at 10 .a.m-5 p.m.; potters from Yaeyama (13 Ishigaki Island potteries and 3 potteries from other isolated islands) gather for an exihibition and sale; 098-082-1533; www.facebook.com/ishigaki.yakimono/
20TH WAKATEDA WO MIRU TSUDOI: Dec. 23, 6:30-9 a.m., A gathering at the Nakagusuku Castle to pray for eternal prosperity by viewing the Wakateda Sunrise; 098-935-5719; www.www.nakagusuku-jo.jp/en
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; 098-997-3011; www.kinendo.okinawakyoukai.jp/event/index.html
40TH MOTOBU YAEDAKE SAKURA FESTIVAL: Jan. 20-21, viewing period - Jan. 20-Feb.4. Ryukyu Kanhi Zakura will be in full bloom on Yaedake (Me. Yae, elevation 453.3m), at Yaedake Sakurano Mori Park; 098-047-2700; www.town.motobu.okinawa.jp/
131TH MORI NO NIGIWAI: Jan. 20-21, two shows each day-12:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.; This marks the 35th 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; ticket: 2,800 yen; 098-861-5539; www.jtb.co.jp/chiikikoryu/mori/future_event/no131.asp
2ND IHEYA VILLAGE TRAIL: Jan. 27, 2 p.m.; 24K, 12K, 6K, and 1.5-3K courses, Experience Okinawa's rich nature while running/walking. Register by Dec. 18 to participate; 098-877-6122, 098-046-2800; www.vill.iheya.okinawa.jp/detail.jsp?id=85197&menuid=15347&funcid=1
56TH NAGO SAKURA FESTIVAL: Jan. 27-28, 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; 098-053-7755; www.kanko.city.nago.okinawa.jp/
11TH NAKIJINGUSUKU SAKURA FESTIVAL: Jan. 27-Feb. 12, 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, free for kindergarteners or yonger; 098-056-2256/4400; www.nakijin.jp/
35TH OKINAWA FLOWER CARNIVAL: Jan. 20-May 6; Event inludes: Welcome Flower Campaign, Flower Message School Contest, Flower Message Photo Contest, Flower Rally; more details will be available on the website; 098-859-0792; www.okinawastory.jp/event/600009744
SOUTHEAST BOTANICAL GARDEN NIGHT DECORATION: Through Feb. 18, 5-10 p.m.; Enjoy illumination decorated at Southeast Botanical Garden, also music, dance and laughter on weekends; 1,800 yen adults, 1,000 yen ages 16-18, 500 yen children, 2,000 yen adults on Dec. 22-25; 098-939-2555; www.southeast-botanical.jp/english/index.html.
CHRISTMAS ILLUMINATION AT HOTEL NIKKO ALIVIA: Dec. 1-25; enjoy illumination at Garden Pool, pool side, and Christmas tree decorated with LED lights by sonar energy featuring the fantasy world; Hotel Nikko Alivia; free; 60-minute ride from Naha Airport; 098-982-9111; www.alivila.co.jp/.
ITOMAN PEACEFUL ILLUMINATION: Dec. 16-Jan. 3, 6-10 p.m., until 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 31; 350,000 LED lights featuring the illumination, praying for Okinawa 1.3 million-people's peace” at Itoman Kanko Noen, includes concerts and live performances on Dec. 25 at 7-9 p.m., fireworks on Dec. 25 at 9 p.m., and fireworks and a countdown on Dec. 31; 500 yen adults, free for children; Heiwa-no Hikari Committee; 098-840-8135.
WINTER ELEGANCE 2017-18: Through Feb. 14, 5-8:30 p.m.; featuring illumination fantasy at Okinawa Outlet Mall Ashibinaa, also snow falling illusion scheduled at 5, 6, 7 and 8 p.m.; free; 15-minute walk from Naha Airport; 098-891-6000; http://ashibinaa.okinawa/index.html?lang=en.
OKUMA ILLUMINATION 2017: Through Feb. 28, sunsets-dawn; enjoy illumination at the front rotary, along with walkways at JAL Private Resort Okuma; free; 0980-41-2222; www.okura-nikko.com/japan/okuma/okuma-private-beach-resort/.
RYUKYU LANTERN FESTIVAL: Dec. 2-Feb. 25, 6-10 p.m.; illumination themed of fantasy world created by old houses along the streets on Ryukyu Dynasty (1429-1879) decorated with Chinese lanterns at Murasaki Mura, also to experience to make lantern object for the contest; Murasaki Mura, Yomitan Village; 10-minute ride from Naha Airport; 600 yen adult, 500 yen senior high and middle school students, 400 yen children; 098-958-6494.
KANUCHA RESORT STARDUST FANTASIA: Through Feb. 28, 6-11 p.m. on Nov. and Dec., 7-11 p.m. on Jan. 1 –Feb. 28; commemorating 20th anniversary of starting Kanucha Resort, illumination, 1,000,000 LED lights decorated with the theme of “Alegria” collaborated with music will bring you into fantasy world; 1,000 yen per person (advanced ticket), 1,500 yen per person (at doors), 3,000 yen for group pass (4 persons, advanced ticket), free elementary school students and for a stay or a dinner; 80 minute ride from Naha Airport; 0980-55-8880; www.kanucha.jp/en/.
CHRISTMAS FANTASY 2017: Dec. 22-29, 4:30-9:30 p.m.; illumination themed of aurora vision throughout the park decorated with 1,400,000 LEDs, along with attractions of street dance, street performance, snow falling show, eisa (dance) performances and more; Okinawa Children’s Kingdom; 15-minute drive from Okinawa Minami I.C., 50-minute drive from Naha Airport; 2,200 yen for adults/1,800 yen for advance tickets, 1,200 yen for children/1,000 yen for advance tickets; 098-933-4190; http://xmas-fantasy.com/index.html.