Colorful Koinobori Festivals kick off

Hija River Koinobori Festival features entertainment tailored for kids.

The 20th Hija River Koinobori Festival, one of the island’s best known events, begins Sunday morning with raising of the Koinobori.

Raising of the koinobori begins at 10 a.m. at the Kadena General Welfare Center, map location http:..goo.gl/maps/9HGDb.  Festival events begin at 10:45 a.m. and run through 3:30 p.m. On stage will be Dance, a karaoke tournament, a puppet show, pro-wrestling performances, taiko drums, street dancing,  and bingo.

Koinobori fly in Nakijin, where the festival also includes stage performances this weekend.

Visitors can also experience rides on an excursion boat, a mini zoo, a mini police exhibition, toy making, and a stamp rally. Parking is limited and use of public transportation is recommended. The venue is a ten-minute walk from Mizugama bus stop.

The 10th Peaceful Memorial Park Koinobori kicks off a day earlier, with a 10 a.m. start on Saturday.  Also free, the event runs through Tuesday, May 6th, at Peaceful Memorial Park ceremony square, Itoman City. Map: http://goo.gl/maps/UiLnx.

Events at the Itoman Koinobori include a Peaceful memorial museum course for parents and children, a video to give parents and children to learn about war and the importance of peace, a Peaceful memorial temple course, and a visit the peaceful memorial statue to think about war and peace for parents and children.  There will also be a  Quiz rally for parents and children to learn about memorial statues from all over Japan, free  Ground golf, free Koinobori making, and kite making for which there’s a ¥300 fee.

Many people come to see Nakijin koinobori flying over a grass field.

While many events are available throughout the festival, a few are offered only on Saturday.  These include tasting flour dumplings boiled in soup which was a eaten during and after the war, rides on the EV bus for free and experience a deeper part of the park, and a free shisa Japanese chess experience.

The 7th Nakijin Koinobori Festival runs Saturday, April 26th, through Tuesday, May 6th, with events beginning each day at 2 p.m.  This festival takes place at Nakijin no Eki Sore.  Map http://goo.gl/maps/ZmThJ.  There will be on stage performances on the 26th and 27th, as well as raffles and town products being sold with reasonable discounts.

Koinobori are carp windsocks, carp streamers or carp banners, which decorate the landscape throughout Japan from April through early May, in honor of Children’s Day on May 5th. In Japanese culture, the carp symbolizes courage and strength because of its ability to swim up a waterfall.  Children’s Day, originally a  Boys’ Festival, was an event expressing hope that each boy in the family would grow up healthy and strong like wild carp. During Koinobori festivals, people set up a warrior doll or a yoroi armor set in the house, and Koinobori, huge carp-shaped windsocks, outside the house.