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It's festival time in Yomitan Village

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2011-11-05

The festival season is winding down, but Yomitan Village, with its population of over 35,000 and surrounded by great nature and rich cultural heritage, has patiently waited its turn to show off to the Okinawa communities.

The 37th annual Yomitan Festival is always the first weekend in November, and that’s this weekend. More importantly, what makes this festival unique is that the people of the village organize it spontaneously. Each year the entire village of Yomitan comes alive with the self-named event. an orchestra of over 300 Shanshin, the three-stringed Okinawa instrument , with musicians playing classical music accompanying dance performances. “The Play of Taki,” Shinkosen, a theatrical performance tells the story of the Yomitan Village pioneer who helped to open up trade between China and Okinawa.

The main venue of the festival is at the sports field next to the Village Office, where the Ryukyu classic music is performed from 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the creative play “Shinkosen” from 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. On both days, fireworks wrap up the festival at 9:30 p.m. There are also many vendors, farmers’ market and bonsai exhibition throughout both days. At the Traditional Crafts Center, there is always an exhibition and spot sale of Yuntanza Hanaui local textiles from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. both days.

At the Museum of History and Folk Customs, there will be an exhibition featuring fire and life of Yomitan Village from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. At the Art Museum, works of Okinawan contemporary artists will be displayed from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is free to both museums. In addition, a reception ceremony for people whose roots are in Yomitan and now live overseas and came back for the World Uchinanchu Festival is scheduled from 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at the communication space in front of the cultural center. Another attraction is the bullfighting tournament held at the multi-purpose space, also starting 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Each year Yomitan hosts a plethora of traditional, high energy, cultural, exciting festivals, and events, with something happening practically the entire year. Starting the year with Japanese Major League Baseball spring training camps and continuing with such events as Yomitan Yachimun Matsuri -Pottery Festival, Sanshin Day, Zampa ORCA Marathon Relay Race, Yomitan Village Youth Eisa Festival, Toya Port Festival, and the The Yomitan Village Festival.

It’s a perfect way to spend a weekend, and it’s just around the corner from the bases in central Okinawa.

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