Lantern Festival brings romantic touch to Yomitan theme park

Food and drink stalls are open on weekends.

Food and drink stalls are open on weekends.

Murasaki Mura in Yomitan Village, a popular theme park depicting a typical townscape in the Ryukyu Kindom in the 14th and 15th centuries. The site, originally constructed as a setting for a Japanese national television NHK drama “Ryukyu-no Kaze” that ran in 1993, is the venue of the second Ryukyu Lantern Festival featuring about 5,000 lanterns arranged throughout the area.

Live entertainment is on tap on Fridays and Saturdays.

Live entertainment is on tap on Fridays and Saturdays.

Lanterns have been used to decorate buildings and parks in the far east for centuries, and many of them are actually real pieces of art, not to mention the romantic and somewhat mystique atmosphere they create. Included are lanterns created by prominent Okinawan woodblock print artist Naka Bokunen.

The festival runs daily from 18:00 to 22:00 through Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. Admission is ¥600 for adults; ¥500 for junior high and high school students and ¥400 for elementary school students

During the festival, the lanterns illuminate the entire park. Most of the lanterns are Chinese style. China had a strong influence on the culture of Okinawa in those days, as Okinawa became the first overseas country to have a tributary relationship with the Chinese Imperial court, and conducted flourishing trade as a go-between with China and Japan.

Royal-sized lantern.

Royal-sized lantern.

In addition to the lanterns, the festival will have stage events featuring traditional Ryukyu performing arts. A projection mapping show is scheduled for 19:00 and 21:00 on weekdays and 19:00, 20:00 and 21:00 on weekends.

Live entertainment on stage takes place every Friday and Saturday at 19:00, 20:00 and 21:00. Additional performances are scheduled for Dec. 23-24, Jan. 3 and Feb. 7-8.

Local restaurants will set up stalls to sell food and drinks on Fridays and Saturdays.

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