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Okinawa shows its best at Onoyama Park in Naha

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2010-10-21

There’s something for everyone, including lots of free samples of goods and services, plus an emphasis on promoting Okinawa goods worldwide at this year’s industrial exhibition.

The 34th Annual Okinawa Industrial Festival runs Friday through Sunday in downtown Naha, at the city’s sprawling Onoyama Park complex. Within the park, exhibits will be staged at the martial arts Okinawa Prefecture Budokan, at the Ariina building Second Hall, around the fountain on the grassy open space, along the river, near by the various athletic venues, and at the tennis courts.

Organizers are expecting close to 210,000 visitors during the three-day exhibition, which showcases hundreds of Okinawa products that producers say will intrigue potential customers and motivate them to make purchases. They’re positive Okinawa products are gaining influence outside the prefecture, and everyone wants to further promote the island goods across more of Asia.

The Budokan, in the Ariina building, hosts Kariyushi wear, herbal teas and supplements, Awamori drinks, spa products and health foods. The Second Hall in the same building is dedicated to promoting Okinawan foods both to the Japanese mainland and to Asian countries. Individual municipalities are set up in the green grass open space, offering special products for sale, as well as all sorts of handicrafts, locally produced items, and food and drinks. The Fourth Hall is a construction dream; Okinawan building goods and stones are on display.

Situated along the river, the park’s Fifth Hall is dedicated to foods, sweets, bread, health foods, handicrafts, and beverages. For many, though, it’s the Athletic Ground that holds center stage. That’s the venue for an Orion Beer Festival, where kegs and kegs of Okinawa’s home grown beer — the brewery’s in Nago City — flows as freely as the waters of the nearby river. From the Orion Beer Festival, the place to take a break is at the Youth – Boys Baseball Field. The Tennis court area is being set up as a pottery exhibition. Included in the potteries area are the best of Okinawa’s Ryukyu glass products.

All in all, there are more than a dozen major venues scattered across the Budokan and Onoyama Park this year. On the beverages side, in addition to Orion’s Beer Festival most of the island’s 54 awamori distillers will have booths set up where they’ll be dispensing and selling the tasty, uniquely Okinawa liquor.
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The Cost
The exhibition is open to everyone on Okinawa. Admission is free to all venues. Food and beverage costs, as well as costs of souvenirs, foods and other goods purchased from vendors and artists on display are whatever you elect to spend.

Getting There
Onoyama Park is located on the south side of downtown Naha, across from Naha Port and Naha Military Port. Travel south on Highway 58 from the military bases. As you approach the river, Onoyama Park is on the left. Free parking is available at Naha Military Port; look for traffic guides. Shuttle busses will transport visitors to the festival every 15~20 minutes between 9am and 9pm.

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