24th Tour de Okinawa runs this weekend in Nago

Tour de Okinawa bicycle race route winds through the roads of northern Okinawa this weekend attracting cyclists from all over Japan and overseas.

More than 4,000 cyclists are getting together and racing every year around the Yanbaru area, an event simply called the Tour de Okinawa.

The 24thTour de Okinawa 2012 convention this year moves the main hall to the playground of the 21st Century Forest, out of the Nago city, and will hold a total of 23 races, including 13 elements of racing, eight cycling section events, and another two festival related events promoting the greatest cycle sporting event in Japan.  There are international road races, citizen road races and citizen tour races.

The starting and fininshing line used to be in Nago City, but has been movd this year to the 21th Century Forest Park as the race has grown.

Since the first races, held in the first year of the current Emperor’s reign, Heisei, this marks the 24th year for the Tour de Okinawa.  It is held for the purpose of promoting the sightseeing in a northern Okinawa areas, culture, and contributing to improvement of public benefits, such as a community improvement or health enhancement.

The two-day event is also used to spread news and promotion of the cycling sport in Okinawa Prefecture, and international exchange, cooperation. Organizers have gained cooperation of the various organizations of Okinawa Prefecture and also the whole country.  The races begin at 8:20 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.