Marukuto mini-fair is fun place for Christmas shopping

The previous Marukuto event at Ashibinaa Mall was very popular.

The previous Marukuto event at Ashibinaa Mall was very popular.

As the year-end gift-giving season nears, open air markets sprout up at various places on the island where vendors have a chance to hawk their wares and prospective buyers hunt for bargains and specialties.

Okinawa Marukuto, a weekend market on Dec. 17 and 18 at Saion Square near the northern end of Kokusai Street in Naha. The event takes its rather peculiar-looking name from German “Markt” meaning “market,” marukuto being the Japanese pronunciation of the original German word.

Shoppers can discover all kinds of hand-made knick-knacks at the market.

Shoppers can discover all kinds of hand-made knick-knacks at the market.

Marukuto has vendors selling antiques, arts, crafts, clothes, and leather accessories. And this being Okinawa, of course there are food and drink vendors too. Booths selling Thai, Vietnamese and other ethnic foods, large-size fried chicken, and lunches in bamboo boxes, and baked and Japanese sweets (Wagashi) for dessert will line the street next to the market tables.

In addition to food, there are tents that sell beer, Awamori, highballs and soft drinks. The beautiful Saion Square year-end illumination is a nice background for this mini-festival.

Live music performances are on the menu on both days. Tomoko Saito from Kyoto plays Irish tunes with her friends at 15:00 on Saturday and 14:00 on Sunday and Nina with her Irish band takes stage at 19:00 on Saturday.

Young visitors to the market will enjoy the Magic show by YUNTA and Okinawa picture-story show by Sayadon.

Visitors should notice that there is no free parking in the area. Using public transportation is highly recommended. The event runs from 11:00 to 20:00 on both days and admission is free.

Up-to-date event information is on facebook in Japanese.

GoldDisc