Sakura lure visitors, and then the festival begins

Thousands will visit Nago this this weekend to enjoy the festival, which is also the first large-scale Okinawan festival of the year.

The 53rd Nago Sakura Festival is in full swing this weekend, with visitors having the chance to play, see and do more than just gaze at the colorful pink cherry blossoms in Nago’s Central Park.

Cherry blossoms invite to Nago this weekend.

In addition to the Sakura viewing, Nago organizers have created a festival with dozens of events around the site Saturday and Sunday..  For example, at the special stage of Sakura Park, there are performances of local kindergartens, a brass band, folk songs and drums.  At the site between Nago Museum and recycle shop Nandemo-ya, the transit mall will be in operation. Local people and shops will promote music and entertainment stages and have food stalls. There will also be a Classic bike exhibition, drum show, ice carving show, band show and a street dance show to warm up the festival.

Most of Nago Cherry trees line the steps leading to the Nago Castle Park and a small shrine overlooking the city on the top of the hill.

The main venues are Nago Central Park, Matsuri Hirobra special stage (Festival Space) at Sakura Park, Cross Road, and Nago Fishing Port.  Admission is free to all venues and events, although fees are charged for food, beverages and product sales. Parking is available at Nago Fishing Port.  Be aware there are traffic restrictions in place  on Saturday from 11 a.m. ~ 9 p.m. between Nago Museum and recycle shop Nandemo-ya, and Sunday 11 a.m. ~ 9 p.m. in the Nandemo-ya ~ Oominami Police Box.  There will also be restrictions on Anada Bridge (Hinpun Gajumaru at the entrance of Nago Castle 11 a.m. ~ 9 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

Opening ceremonies at the entrance of Nago Castle are Saturday at 11 a.m., followed by the Okinawa folk song ‘Futami-jowa’ competition at a special stage in Sakura Park

On Sunday, there’s a Sakura viewing health walk at Nago Central Park, and the Garden Festa at Nago Fishing Port.  The festival parade starts Saturday at 2 p.m., running until 8:30 p.m. at the transit mall. The school kids’ elementary, junior high and high school brass band parade, along with the women’s society dance parade, is at 1 p.m. Saturday.

A costume and dance Kwadisaa’ entertainment is Sunday at 1 p.m.  Activities take place at the transit mall all day Sunday.