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Early risers to catch Okinawa New Year's sunrise

Date Posted: 2010-01-01

New Year’s Eve being what it is, it’s not likely people will be ‘early to bed’, but they will have to be ‘early to rise’ if they want to appreciate the brilliant Okinawa sunrise New Year’s morning.

The first golden rays will fall upon South and North Daito Islands east of Okinawa’s main island, with sunrise at 7:00 a.m. On the main island, first glimpses will be at Kunigami Village Yonaha Mountain at 7:11 a.m., and Nago City Tano Mountain at 7:12 a.m. In central Okinawa, sunrise at Uruma City’s Katsuren Castle Ruins is at 7:14 a.m., the same time as Nanjo City’s Chinen area.

In Ie Village, sunrise will be at 7:15 a.m. Friday, and Kume Island at 7:18 a.m. Miyako Island will welcome sunrise at 7:21 a.m. and Ishigaki Island will do the same at 7:23 a.m., according to the Japan Coast Guard’s 11th Maritime District Headquarters, which keeps track of sunrises.

Once the sun’s up, there’s plenty to do around the islands this New Year’s. In northern Okinawa’s Neo Park, parents and children are joining together to make rice cakes at the annual Mochitsuki-Festa. The event takes place January 1st through 3rd, starting at 2 p.m. each day. The activities are free. Information and directions can be obtained by calling (098) 052-6348.

Ocean Expo Memorial Park is featuring an Eisa Festa at the park’s fountain space. The fun, including traditional Okinawan dance and rice cake making, runs through January 3rd. New Year’s Day at Okinawa World, the Gyokusendo Cave, features Eisa dance, shishi dance and more. Information and directions are available at (098) 949-7421.
Okinawa City’s Koza Music Town, located at the end of Gate 2 Street, is having a free event this New Year’s eve. The activities begin at 7 p.m. and everyone is welcome at the first floor open space. The 32nd Peace Memorial Festival is also taking place tonight at Itoman City. Also called the Fire and Bell Festival, it promises to be plenty of fun for the family. Entry is ¥200 for adults.

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