Manza Beach Governor’s Cup haarii races this Sunday

Teams competing for the Governor’s Cup bring their own boats.

The boats are in the water, ready for action Sunday as ANA Intercontinental Manza Beach Resort stages the 31st Okinawa Governor’s Cup “Manza Haarii Festival”.

Any team can participate in Manza Beach Challenge Race.

The festivities kick of early Sunday, with races getting under way at 9:30 a.m. and running until 4 p.m. It is said that the custom of haarii was brought from China during the Ryukyu Kingdom Era, and now haarii is one of Okinawa’s most important traditions.  The races are held every year to pray for rich fishing haul and safety of the fishermen, celebrated on May 4th of the lunar calendar.

Out of all the haarii tournaments held on the island, this is the only one where the winners get the Governor’s Cup trophy to keep for one year, and is one of the best-known events on the island. Every year the tournament receives contestants from across Okinawa, Japan and even from overseas.  Organizers say it’s exciting to watch the highly skilled contestants up close, as Manza Beach Resort invites powerful and veteran competitors to attend the tournament, invitations that make the competition even more worthwhile to see.

The races are divided into two groups, the “Challenge Race” where anyone can participate, whether a group of friends or colleagues from work, and the “Champion Race” where veteran teams proudly bring their own boats and race for the Governor’s Cup.