Islands Fair showcases outer islands

The annual Islands Fair starts today and run through the weekend at Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan.

The theme of the annual Islands Fair is “We Love Specialties of the Islands.”

To get that message across to the public, the three-day Ritou Fair at the Okinawa Cellular Park Naha at Onoyama Park is bringing attention to the outer islands that make up a significant part of Okinawa Prefecture.  “There are many attractions in islands in Okinawa such as nature, history, unique culture, etc, and everyone from inside and outside of prefecture loves them” says an organizing officer.

“We want people to love our islands and Okinawa more than now by seeing, feeling, sometimes visiting, meeting, and touching them. “

The annual Islands Fair promotes products, businesses and services of Okinawa’s outer islands this weekend.

The “We Love Specialties of the Islands” was coined by the executive committee of Islands Fair 2012. Okinawa prefecture is the only area of Japan that is in a subtropical climate, and there is rich nature and traditional culture. Isolated islands in the prefecture still have untouched nature, and unique history, performing arts, and culture are inherited in each island.

On the other hand, there are efforts that try to solve special problems of the outer islands, such as depopulation or aging of communities on each island.  The executive committee says this is the starting point of development in Okinawa.  Islands Fair promotes an exchange between the islands and urban areas on Okinawa’s main island. It also tries to make better use of regional resources, and support local businesses.

The three-day industrial fair staged by 18 outer island cities, towns and villages will present to Okinawa beauty, products and tourism opportunities they offer.

The Ritou Fair opens Friday and runs through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It’s sponsored by Okinawa Prefecture, the Okinawa Prefectural Outer Island Promotion Conference and 18 cities, towns and villages scattered across the prefecture.

Each island will have booths and displays showcasing locally made products, which are also for sale. Another Ritou Fair theme is promoting market expansion for tourism and local products through development seminars and promotions. Traditional cultural performances from each of the outer islands will be presented across the three-day event.

A good deal of emphasis is being placed on Okinawa Prefecture’s unique status as the only one with a subtropical climate, a non-traditional Japanese culture, and of course, untouched nature that islanders think should attract more tourists. Presentations will provide visitors with original island history, performing arts and culture.