Outer islands stars at Islands Fair

Each of the 18 major islands in the prefecture has their own booth.

A three-day industrial fair staged by 18 outer island cities, towns and villages presenting the beauty, products and tourism opportunities they offer is ready to get under way.

The three-day exhibition takes place in Cellular Stadium in Onoyama, Naha. Admission to the event is free.

The Ritou Fair at Naha City’s Okinawa Cellular Park in Onoyama Park is again promoting the original islands’ culture and the blessings of the ocean, mountains and sun. The Ritou Fair opens Friday and runs through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s being sponsored by Okinawa Prefecture, the Okinawa Prefectural Outer Island Promotion Conference and 18 cities, towns and villages scattered across the prefecture.

Each of the 18 islands participating will have booths and displays showcasing locally made products, which are also for sale. Another objective of the Ritou Fair 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.

Islands also showcase local entertainment at the fair.

The islands are taking strong measures to promote themselves and Okinawa Prefecture’s unique status in Japan as the only one with a subtropical climate, a non-traditional Japanese culture, and of course, the untouched nature that islanders believe will attract more tourists. Throughout the three-day event, presentations will provide visitors with original island history, performing arts and culture.

Problems confronting the islands will be pitched to visitors, as well as government leaders during the Islands Fair, with officials from many of the communities collaborating with prefecture officials to assess those problems. At the top of their list  are declining and aging populations, and pollution..