Nanjo Herb Festival showcases Okinawa’s treasure of herbs

The scenic Chinen Cape Park is one of the main venues of weekend’s herb festival.

Herbs are increasingly popular among people who enjoy cooking. Not only are they healthy, they also add new interesting nuances to everyday dishes that might have become rather boring in their traditional form.

According to Wikipedia, culinary herbs are distinguished from vegetables in that, like spices, they are used in small amounts and provide flavor rather than substance to food. Okinawa is home to an astonishing variety of herbs that can be used in cooking, and one only has to learn what to look for and they are available in the wild for picking.

This weekend Nanjo City has organized for the first time an event aimed at familiarizing the public with local herbs and their uses. One of the main venues for the Herb Festival is at the Chinen Cape Park, and special events will be held at the Chinen Gymnasium, Yuichi Hotel Nanjo, Herb Cafe Ukon Salon, Restaurant Cafe Kurukuma and Okinawa World, which are all located within Nanjo City.

Some of the main events take place at the main venue where a variety of herbs will be on display and for sale.

Guest performers including Taku Ikeda and Erika Sunagawa perform on the 23rd on an outdoor stage at the main venue, with jimama playing on the 24th.

500 potted herbs will be on display at the Chinen Cape Park. At night visitors can enjoy illuminated stones and easy listening music piped into the park.

At the Yuichi Hotel Nanjo, there is a Herb Summit on the 21st. A variety of dishes flavored with herbs is served at the hotel as a special of the event.

Everyone is invited to enjoy herbs for their aroma, as tea or as spices. In addition to the mostly known western herbs such as bazil and rosemary, visitors can get to know Okinawan herbs as well.

The Nanjo Herb Festival is held this weekend Fri. through Sun. The main venues are Chinen Gymnasium, Chinen Cape Park and Yuinchi Hotel. The festival run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on each day. Entry to all venues is free.