Get off base and enjoy Okinawa's fun events

Stripes Okinawa

Editor's note: There are some great events coming up, so get off base and check them out! (This was updated Feb. 18)


NAHA SAKURA FESTIVAL: Feb. 19-23, 10 a.m.; stage performances-folk song, Eisa, etc.; at Naha City Yogi Park; free admission; toll parking available; 098-855-2552.

27TH YOMITAN YACHIMUN MARKET: Feb. 22-23, 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; free parking available; 098-958-2939/1020; /

28TH KUROSHIMA USHIMATSURI: Feb. 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free admission; ship to Kuroshima-cost: 3,800 yen for adults, 2,500 yen for children; 090-9786-8328;

28TH YUKARU HI, MASARU HI, SANSHIN NO HI: March 4, 11:45 a.m.-9 p.m.; Okinawan folk songs and Ryukyu classical music played by Sanshin musicians from all over the world. Sanshin is an Okinawan string instrument; songs include Okinawan classical masterpiece, "Kagiyade Kaze" etc. (three-part composition); free admission *queue ticket needed to enter (distributed at several locations on Feb. 5; check the official website for details); free parking available; 098-860-2069;

CORAL REEFS WEEK: Feb. 22-March 8; March 5 is Sango no hi (coral reef day in Japanese), week of appreciating and preserving coral reefs on Okinawa; 098-866-2243;

20TH SANBA DAY: March 8, 2-4:30 p.m.; A day enjoying Okinawan instrument, Sanba; Sanba contest and Sanba course in the first half; live stage performance by folksingers in the second half of the event; at Yomitan Village Culture Center; 2,000 yen for admission; free for elementary school students and younger; free parking available; 098-932-3801;

18TH OKINAWA CITY CRAFTS FAIR: March 12-15, 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; one of Okinawa's biggest crafts exhibitions; free admission; free parking available; at Plaza House Shopping Center; 098-934-2213;,

16TH KATSUYAMA SHIKUWASA HANAKAORI FESTIVAL: March 14-15, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; several events throughout the weekend while participants enjoy the Shikuwasa's (citrus depressa) flower fragrance; events include trekking, strolling, haiku, chopsticks making; etc.; event HQ at Katsuyama Community Center; free admission; free parking up to 100 spots available; 0980-53-8336.

9TH WATTA- NAHA MESHI GRAND PRIX: March 14-15, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (until 7 p.m. on 15th); Best selection of Okinawa food competition; please vote for your favorite dish; at the Ounoyama auxiliary field; free admission; no parking available (please use public transportation); 098-868-3758;

20TH AYAHASHI ROAD RACE: March 22, 9 a.m.; 3.8K, 10K, and half marathon courses; start and finish at Uruma City Yonashiro Sogo Koen Athletic Field; register by Feb. 3 to participate; free parking available (take shuttle bus from the parking to the venue); 098-978-9404;

27TH MOON BEACH OKINAWA ALL ISLANDS YACHIMUN MARKET: March 20-22, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Biggest pottery market on Okinawa; this year, 57 potteries will be attending; at Hotel Moon Beach; free admission; no  parking available; shuttle bus from Maeganeku Fishing Port recommended; 098-965-1020;

2020 YOMITAN YACHIMUN EXHIBITION: Feb. 6-March 24, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; pottery exhibition at Yuntanza Museum; free admission (fee applies for permanent museum exhibition); free parking; 098-958-3141;

MOONLIGHT CRUISE IN SOUTHEAST BOTANICAL GARDENS: Until Mar. 31, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; experience the Mixed Reality by cruising in Southeast Botanical Gardens by next generation kart; adults (junior high school students and older) - 1,100 yen, 4-year-old to elementary school students - 550 yen on top of admission fee: adults - 1,980 yen, senior & high school students - 1,210 yen, elementary & junior high school students - 660 yen, free for under 6-year-old; *reservation required for cruise; free parking available; 098-939-2555;

15TH CHURAUMI FLOWER FESTIVAL: Jan. 25-April 5; at Ocean Expo Park, admission: adults-1,880 yen, high school students-1,250 yen, middle, elementary school students-620 yen; under 6 years old-free, additional fees may apply for some events; free parking avilable; 0980-48-2741;

11TH OKINAWA ZOO & MUSEUM FLOWER FESTIVAL 2020: Feb. 27-April 5, 9:30-5:30 (until 6 p.m. in April); 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 available; 098-933-4190;

72ND OKITEN: March 21-April 5, 10 a.m,-6 p.m. (until 8 p.m. on April 4); Largest art exhibition in Okinawa; over 800 works from 12 different genres will be on display; some workshops available; at ANA RENA Urasoe (Urasoe City Gym); admission: advance tickets-1,000 yen (1,200 at the door) for adults, 400 yen (500 at the door) for elementary-high school students, free for preschoolers; free parking available; 080-6480-8900;

28TH IEJIIMA MARATHON: April 11, 3K, 5K, 10K, half marathon courses; register by Jan. 31 to participate; 0980-49-2906;

OKINAWA BOUGAIN FAIR 2020: Feb. 22-April 12; Best time to see bougainvillea at the Southeast Botanical Gardens; the flowers will be lighted up at night; 1,400 yen for adults, 950 yen for high school students; 500 yen junior high and elementary students (tax will be added and additional fees apply for illumination event); free for 6-year olds or younger; free parking available; 098-939-2555;

IRUKANDA FLOWER TOUR: March 20-April 12, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; at Daisekirinzan Park located in the northmost Okinawa main island, you can enjoy subtropical plants and flowers; trek in the park and go see Irukanda (Mucuna macrocarpa), rare purple flower among all Okinawan flowers; entrance fee: adults-1,200 yen, 14-year-old and younger-550 yen; free parking available; 0980-41-8117;

2020 SPRING NANJO CITY OPEN GARDEN: April 6-April 12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Every spring and fall, private gardens filled with flowers in Nanjo City are open to public; enjoy the relaxation and refreshment time at the Garden; 500 yen for passport to view gardens (can be used for multiple times), free for high school students and younger; 098-948-4660;

37TH OKINAWA FLOWER CARNIVAL: Until May 6: from Jan. 25, Churaumi flower festival; from Apr. 25, Iejima Lily Festival; Event includes: Welcome Flower Campaign, Flower Message School Contest, Flower Message Photo Contest, Flower Rally; 098-995-6233;

BIOS NO OKA URIZUN FLOWER FESTIVAL: March 1-May 6, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Urizun, Okinawan dialect meaning first moisture of the year: season from vernal equinox to rainy season; this is the time of the year when flowers like phalaenopsis aphrodite and cattleya are in full bloom; visit Bios no Oka in Uruma City and enjoy beautiful flowers this spring; admission-1,000 yen for adults (middle school or older), 500 yen for elementary school students and younger; free parking available; 098-965-3400;


Winter Illuminations

WINTER ELEGANCE 2019-2020: Until Feb. 14, 5-8:30 p.m.; at Okinawa Outlet Mall Ashibinaa; 098-891-6000;

KANUCHA RESORT STARDUST FANTASIA: Until Feb.14; 5:30-11 p.m.; the 20th event theme is called “NIRAI” illuminates 1 mil. LED light stars around the resort facility as the last paradise; 1,000 yen for adult, free for under 12; Free Shuttle bus is available from Naha Airport; 0980-55-8880;

KARIYUSHI DREAM FANTASY: Until Feb. 29, sunset-midnight; at Okinawa Kariyushi Beach Resort Ocean Spa; 098-967-8731;

ALIVIA ILLUMINATION: Until Feb. 29, sunset-midnight; at Hotel Nikko Alivia; 098-982-9111;

OKUMA ILLUMINATION: Until Feb. 29, sunset-midnight; at Okuma Private Beach & Resort; 0980-41-2222;

MIHAMA AMERICAN VILLAGE ILLUMINATION 2019: Until Mar. 17, 2020; 098-926-4455.

RYUKYU LANTERN FESTIVAL 2019-2020: Mar. 31, 6-10 p.m.; at Taiken Okoku Murasaki Mura; admission: adults-1,200 yen; high school, junior high school students-500 yen; elementary school students-400 yen; 098-958-1111;

SOUTHEAST BOTANICAL GARDEN ILLUMINATION: Until Apr. 5, 5-10 p.m.; decorates the light tunnels, tree house and light carpets with 1.8 mil. LED lights to illuminate trees and the promenade fantastically. 1,800 yen for adults, 1,100 yen for over 65; 600 yen for under 15; 5-minute drive from Okinawa Kita I.C; 098-939-2555;


Beach Openings








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