The holiday season is shining bright on Okinawa
As Santa is getting ready to check his list, on Okinawa the holiday spirit is starting to shine brightly with spectacular LED-light illumination displays popping up at different parts of the island.
From south to north, the lights are turned on, as the evenings grow darker, even though the days do not necessarily get much colder.
Resort hotels in the northern parts of the island were the first to turn the holiday lights on as Kanucha Resort and Kariyushi Ocean Spa Resort started their annual displays in November with the rest following shortly afterwards.
The switch of the 16th Itoman Peaceful Illumination Festival will be turned on this Saturday. This is a festival dedicated to prayers for peace. More than 1.3 million miniature lights are lit on Uchina Farm that is located in Mabuni, Itoman, just across the street from the Okinawa Peace Memorial Park. The illumination is on through Jan. 3rd at the Itoman Tourist Farm, 1018 Mabuni, Itoman City, from 18:00 ~ 22:00 every night. Admission is ¥400 through Dec. 18, and ¥500 from Dec. 19th trough Jan. 3rd.
Live concerts are slated for Christmas night and New Years Eve, with both featuring fireworks and a laser show.
The year’s first snow will fall on the opening day of the annual Okinawa Zoo Park Christmas Fantasy, as it springs to life again at Okinawa City’s Kodomo-no Kuni Park. It’s a holiday special event that brings smiles to adults and children alike. It’s the only place on Okinawa where visitors get to play with snow… really real snow… snowballs… a slide and more. Tickets to the Christmas Fantasy cost ¥1,800 for adults and high school students and ¥1,000 for children from four through junior high school age in advance, and ¥2,200 and ¥1,200 respectively at door. Both Kadena ITT and MCCS Tours have programs to take people to Christmas Fantasy. The event opens Dec. 23rd and runs through the 28th, from 16:00 ~ 21:30 every day.
Okinawa’s best known laser show is a part of the Christmas Fantasy, a skillful blend of lasers, fireworks, snow and soap bubbles. The Million Dollar Hill is the perfect place for watching the Christmas Fantasy illuminations.
Expo Park Winter Fantasy 2013 runs through January at Okinawa Expo Park, Motobu. There is live music on Dec. 21st, 22nd and 23rd, and admission is free.
Kanucha Bay Hotel and Villas’ holiday display is named “Kanucha Stardust Fantasia” and is definitely worth the drive up to the north, where its eco-sustainable style of holiday lighting is in place daily from 18:00 to 23:00 through Feb. 29th. The hotel complex has a giant 12-meter Christmas tree, plus an outdoor display of more than 100,000 colorful lights. Kanucha Bay Hotel and Villas is located at Abu, Nago, across the bay from Camp Schwab. Admission is ¥2,000/car in advance, ¥3,000/car at gate.
Renaissance Resort Hotel Okinawa in Yamada, Onna; The Beach Tower Okinawa in Mihama, Chatan; the Mihama American Village, Okinawa Kariyushi Beach Resort & Ocean Spa, Onna, are but a few resorts that have large illumination displays.
Other public places with large illumination displays include the “Winter Elegance 2015” at Okinawa Outlet Mall Ashibina om Toyosaki, Tomigusuku, nightly from 17:00 to 20:30 through Feb. 14th; Palette Kumoji in Naha, from 17:00 to 23:00 through Jan. 31st; Zkmi Castle in Yomitan, 18:00~21:00 daily through Jan. 22.
Admission to all above is free.