Don’t miss this year’s many Eisa festivals

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

It’s time for one of the favorite events of the summer season and there are plenty of places to catch the festivities around the island.

From August through September, many festivals take place that present Eisa, an Okinawan style of dance. Choreographed dancers perform as a group to audiences at a venue, or march through local communities with their drumbeats marking the season of the dance. The Okinawa Zento Eisa Matsuri (from Aug. 23 - 25 this year) is the biggest among all the Eisa festivals on the island and is now combined with a beer festival.

Get ready for a cultural experience unique to the area and unlike any other!

 

Where to go

KADENA EISA MATSURI: Aug. 16, 6 - 9 p.m.; Eisa groups from Kadena town are expected to gather on Shinmachi Street near Kadena Air Base.

HESHIKIYA EISA NO YUBE: Aug. 16, 6 - 9:30 p.m., Youth Eisa groups with traditional forms of Taiko (drums) and dance perform at Uragahama Park near White Beach, fireworks are scheduled to start around 9:30 p.m. as a finale.

ITOMAN EISA FESTIVAL/FURUSATO MATSURI: Aug. 17 - 18, 1 - 9 p.m. (3 - 9 p.m. on the 18th); Eisa performance plus other entertainment will be presented. Both days conclude with fireworks starting 9 p.m. The venue will be Itoman Fishery Port North District.

OKINAWA ZENTO EISA MATSURI: Aug. 23 - 25, 6:30 - 9 p.m. (3  - 9 p.m. on Aug. 24 and 25), One of the largest Eisa festivals with more than 300,000. The Aug. 23 parade is scheduled to take place along Route 330 and Koza Gate Street. Aug. 24 - 25 performances are scheduled to take place at Koza Athletic Park (2-1-1 Moromizato, Okinawa City, near Gate 5 of Kadena Air Base) with fireworks to conclude the event; tickets cost 1,000 yen or more; www.zentoeisa.com

YOMITAN SEINEN EISA MATSURI: Aug. 24 and 25, 6:30 p.m. - (6 p.m. - on Aug. 25); Performance by each district of the village will be presented. The venue, Oki Ham Heiwa no Mori Kyujo (Yomitan Peace Forest Baseball Filed) is located near Torii Station.

URUMA CITY EISA MATSURI: 6:40 – 8:50 p.m. (Aug. 30), 5 – 8:45 p.m. (Aug. 31), 5 – 9 p.m. (Sep. 1); Youth eisa groups will gather and parade starting 6:50 p.m.from Uruma City Office Building on Aug. 30, followed by performance at Yonashiro Sogo Koen Athletic Field on Aug. 31-Sep.1; near Camp Courtney and White Beach; fireworks are scheduled to take place starting 8:40 p.m. on Aug. 31 and Sep.1

NAGOSHI SEINEN EISA FESTIVAL: Sep. 22 (rain date Sep. 28), 4 - 9 p.m.; The venue will be an outdoor stage of 21st century forest park. No parking space available around the venue. The festival is expected to conclude Kachaashii, where anybody can participate in the dance. 

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