April 14 fireworks highlight upcoming off-base events on Okinawa

April 14 fireworks highlight upcoming off-base events on Okinawa

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

In mainland Japan, fireworks (hanabi) are associated with summertime, when the skies are lit up throughout July and August.

If you turn on a TV around that time of the year, you’ll see many commercials where young ladies in yukatas, which are summer kimonos, seated on the riverside watching fireworks light up the sky while holding a cold can of beer in their hand.

Or if you tune in to Japanese radio shows, many pop-songs lament over how transient love in summer can be just like fireworks in the night sky. These references have become common to the point of being cliché. But they are embedded so deep in the collective memory of the people, that we still crave for beer when we see sparks falling from the sky, and summertime memories seem to be tinged with sadness, as far as young lovers go.

However, here in Okinawa, the “official” season for fireworks kicks off in April with the annual colorful sky spectacle.

“The Ryukyu Kaiensai” a.k.a. “The Ryukyu Hanabi illusion” returns to Okinawa for a 15th installment on April 14. 10,000 fireworks are set to paint beautiful colors across the night sky. Each year the Ginowan Seaside Park sees more than 10,000 people for this event. Another estimated 100,000 stare up at the sky show from inside and outside the venue, which is a 10-minute drive from Camp Foster and MCAS Futenma.

Although it may not have a decades-old tradition like Sumida River Fireworks Festival or Jingu-Gaien Fireworks Festival, the Ryukyu Kaiensai is now a major event to celebrate the arrival of the Okinawan heat.



DATE: April 14.

TIME: Main Gate opens at 3:30 p.m.

The Show starts at 7:30 p.m. LOCATION: Ginowan Seaside Park/

Tropical Beach (4-2-1 Mashiki,

Ginowan, Okinawa 901-2224) COST: 3,300 yen for adult (2,700 yen

in advance), 2,200 yen for child (1600); parking is 1,600 yen (1,500); Designated seats are subject to additional fees.

*Advance tickets are available at Family Marts.

*Heavy traf c is expected around the venue starting 5 p.m., so it is strongly recommended visitors arrive before 5 p.m.

For more info, visit www.ryukyu- kaiensai.com/en/archive/2018/spring/.



70TH OKITEN: March 21-April 8, 10 a.m,-6 p.m.; Largest art exhibition in Okinawa; over 800 works from 12 different genres will be on display; some workshops available; at the Urasoe City Gym; 098- 860-3588; www.okiten.okinawatimes.co.jp/.

10 a.m.-5 p.m.; hand-made artifacts market; at Ogimison, the Home of Bashō-Fu Textiles; free admission; 098-044-3007; www.igimitiguma.ti-da. net/.

15TH RYUKYU HANABI ILLUSION: April 14, 7:30-9 p.m., This year's earliest reworks festival in Japan; As a memorial project
of the 15th anniversary of the Ryukyu Sea Fire Festival, concert by Rimi Natsukawa, singer from Ishigaki, Okinawa from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Theater Building in the Okinawa Convention Center. There will be 10,000 reworks; tickets range from 2,700 to 10,800 yen for adults and 1,600 to 4,800 for children; www.ryukyu-kaiensai.com/ archive/2018/spring/#.

26TH OKINAWA IEJIMA MARATHON: April 14, 2:20 p.m.; 3K, 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon, ferries from/to main island (Motobu Port) available throughout the day; 098-049-2906; www.iejima.org/ document/2017010500015/.

40TH SHIOYA BAY TRIM MARATHON: April 15, 9:30 a.m.; 3K, 9K, and 16.7K races; start and nish at old Shioya Elementary School; 098-044-3006; www.i-sam.co.jp/shioyawan_ trim/.

16TH MOZUKU DAY: April 15, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Mozuku-Cladosiphon okamuranus is mostly produced in Okinawa; every third April is scheduled as the Mozuku Day to advertise mozuku; 098-860-2600; www. mozukukyo.org/.

10TH OKINAWA INTERNATIONAL MOVIE FESTIVAL: April 19-22; free admission; 098-917-5123; www.oimf.jp/.

FUNAUKIOTO MATSURI: April 21, noon-4:30 p.m.; 12th annual music event produced by Suguru Ikeda, Funauki, Iriomote Island-born singer-song writer; 500-yen admission, free admission for junior high school students and younger; at Kamadoma Square in Funauki, Iriomote Island; 098-082-5445; www.suguru-i.jp/ funauki/.

8TH KOURI ISLAND MAGIC HOUR RUN IN NAKIJINSON: April 21, 3:30 p.m.; Half marathon; start and nish at the Nakinjinson Athletic Park; 098-056-2256; www.kouri-run.jp/.

HAPPY NAGOMACHI ROGAINING: April 22, 11 a.m.; Explore the city of Nago: team outdoor race going through checkpoints within the time limit; at Akemio Sky Dome; 2,000 yen for adults and 1,000 yen for junior high school students

and younger, free for preschoolers; 098-053-7755; www.nagoroge.ti-da.net/.

YAESE KOINOBORI ASHIBI: April 29, approximately 500 koinobori-carp streamers will be hoisted up to celebrate

the Children's Day season at the Minatogawa Community Center; free admission; 098-998-2344; www.town.yaese.lg.jp/yaese_sight/.

HANEJI DAM KOINOBORI FESTIVAL: Early May, 300 carp streamers will be hoisted up; Eisa performance, eel grabfest, canoe experience at the venue; free admission (except canoe experience); 098-053-7530.

OKU YANBARU KOINOBORI FESTIVAL: May 3-5; 700 carp streamers will be hoisted up
at the Oku Yanbarunosato Kasen Park; Eisa, folk song stage performances; local speciality goods and food exhibitions; free admission; 098-050-4141.

KUMEJIMA FIREFLY OBSERVATION MEETING: April 14-May 6, 7:30-8:30 p.m.; preserve Okinawa's natural treasure Kumejima Fire y; 2,500 yen for adults, 1,500 yen
for children and 500 yen for infants to participate; 098-896-7100; www.kumejima. wixsite.com/kumejimahotaru2.

6; More than 100 kinds of lilies will be in full bloom at the Ieson Lily Field Park; free admission; 098-049-2906; www.iejima.org/.

10TH KINCHO TANBO FESTA IN NATURE MIRAI KAN: May 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Playing in rice eld, canoe experience, huge nagashi soumen; variety of food available by moving stalls; at the Nature Mirai Kan; free admission; 098-968-6117; www.nature-kin.com/.

44TH NAHA HA-RI-: May 3-5, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Dragon Boat Race-Biggest Golden Week event on Okinawa; at the Shinkofuto Central Tyokuchi Park; 098-862-1442; www.naha-navi.or.jp/.

38TH KODOMO RYUKYU GEINO HONO: May 5, 2-3 p.m.; Ryukyu traditional dance and music performances by Okinawan child entertainers and Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts on Children's Day; at the Okinawa Peace Hall; 098-997-3011; www. kinendo.okinawakyoukai.jp/event/index. html.

OKINAWA ZOO & MUSEUM FESTIVAL 2018: May 3-6, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Shows by dancers, musicians, street performers at the
stage; special worshops; full of events to celebrate the Children's Day; 500 yen for adults; 200 yen for junior high and high school students; free for elementary school students and younger; 098-933-4190; www. okzm.jp/.

35TH OKINAWA FLOWER CARNIVAL: Through 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.

OCEAN CUP 2018: YACHT RACE GINOWAN- KUMEJIMA: May 26, 6 a.m.-3 p.m.; commendation ceremony at the Resort Hotel Kume Island (only those who participate in the race can attend the ceremony. 10,000 registration fee); free to watch the race; 098-985-8001; www. kumeisland.com/.d


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