Okinawa has an array of fun festivals you should check out!
Editor's note: There's some great events coming up, so get off base and check them out! (This was updated Jan. 24)
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/.
41ST OKINAWA CITY INDUSTRIAL FESTIVAL: Jan. 27-28, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (ends at 5 p.m. Jan. 28); 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; 098-939-1212; www.kozaweb.jp/.
OKINAWA FLOWER AND FOOD FESTIVAL 2018: Jan. 27-28, 10 am.-6 p.m.; Introducing local agricultural, forest and fishery products, processed foods, etc. in the theme of "local productino for local consumption." Participants can watch, eat and experience local products at the Ounoyama Park (around Okinawa Celluer Stadium Naha); free admission; 098-831-5565; www.hanashoku.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, kindergarteners or yonger-free; 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.
16TH ISHIGAKI ISLAND MARATHON: Jan. 28, 9 a.m.; Japan's sothernmost road race: 10K, 24K, and full marathon; start and finish at Ishigaki Chuoundo Park; 098-082-1212; www.ishigakijima-marathon.jp/
13TH TOKASHIKI MARATHON: Feb. 3, 3K, 5K, 10K, and half marathon races; start and finish at Tokashiki Elementary, Junior High Schools' Athletic Field; 098-987-2333; www.kuzira-marathon.jp/race.html.
YAESE SAKURA FESTIVAL: Feb. 4, 1-9 p.m. (light-up at night Jan. 26 - Feb. 12); 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/.
OKINAWA INTERNATIONAL ORCHID SHOW 2018: Feb. 3-12, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Japan's oldest orchid show and the only one to which the Prime Minister Prize is awarded. Come to the Tropical Dream Center in Motobu-cho and enjoy the best selections of orchids from all over the world; 098-048-2741; www.oki-park.jp/kaiyohaku/events/detail/3422.
25TH TAKETOMI-CHO YAMANEKO MARATHON: Feb. 10, 12:40 p.m.; 23K, 10K, 3K races; start and finish at Taketomi-cho Uehara Elementary School; 098-087-6257; www.yamanekomarathon.jp/
NAHA CHURA SAKURA FESTIVAL: Feb. 10-11 (10 a,m,-7 p.m. on the 10th, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on the 11th); Every February, pink Kanhizakura is in full bloom at the Manko Park. There will be chilren's dance performances and exhibitions during the festival; 098-853-3554
26TH OKINAWA MARATHON: Feb. 18, 9 a.m.; full marathon, full marathon relay, 10K races; start and finish at the Okinawa Prefectural Athletic Park; 098-930-0088; www.okinawa-marathon.com/.
SHURI CASTLE PARK - RYUKYU NO HANAMIGUI: Feb. 9-25; The park will be decorated with 30,000 flowers-hibisbus, bougainvillea, etc.; 098-886-2020; www.oki-park.jp/shurijo/
YOMITAN YAMUCHIN MARKET: Feb. 24-25, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Yamuchin-meaning pottery in Okinawa dialect, over 30 Yomitan Village potteries will be present at the Yomittan Famers' Market; charity auction; free admission; 098-958-2939/1020; www.kyouhan-y.com/yachimunichi.html.
OKINAWA ECO SPIRIT RIDE & WALK IN NANJO CITY: Feb. 25, 7:30 a.m.; 3 bicycle ride courses (20K, 30K and 50K), 5 walk & nordic courses (two 7Ks, two 14Ks and 20K); start and finish at Yuinchi Hotel Nanjo; 098-960-3573, 098-948-7110; www.ecospiritridewalk.jp/index.html.
OKINAWA ZOO & MUSEUM FLOWER FESTIVAL 2018: Feb. 17-Mar. 17; Spring is coming to Japan's southernmost interactive zoo and museum; a number of workshops and events throughout the festival month; 098-933-4190; www.okzm.jp/; www.okzm.jp/themes/okinawa_kodomo/pdf/english.pdf; www.hanamaturi.wixsite.com/2018.
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.
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.
RYUKYU LANTERN FESTIVAL: Through 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.
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/.
KANUCHA RESORT STARDUST FANTASIA: Through Feb. 28, 7-11 p.m.; 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/.