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Obaa Rappers add character to weekend Sakaemachi Yatai Market Fest

Date Posted: 2012-06-22

It’s an every month food booth festival, but it is absolutely guaranteed to be nothing like you’ve visited before; the Sakaemachi Yatai Fest is entertaining as well as a shopper’s paradise.

The Sakaemachi Yatai Fest is held on the last Saturdays of the month, an event that’s been happening at the marketplace for the past six years. What makes this market festival so much fun is the entertaining antics of three senior ladies who work at the market. Known as the Obaa Rappers, they’ve been featured on television programs nationwide, and have even recorded a CD “Made in Sakaemachi Market”.

The market is heavy on food booths, as befitting the name ‘Yatai’ festival. Expect to be eating curry, grilled yakiniku, chicken, gyoza and other Okinawa specialties. It’s the manner of the market, with the friendly atmosphere, and music ranging from those Obaa Rapprers to rock ‘n roll to traditional Okinawan sanshin.

Sakaemachi Market is in the heart of the original Naha City downtown area, once the city center but now a shopping and entertainment district that often feels like time has passed it by. Once prosperous, it has refused to change its very essence since World War II, looking weather beaten in some ways, but a precious throwback to the Showa era’s color and even smells of the World War II era.

The Sakaemachi Yatai Fest operates from 5:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. the last Saturday of each month, June through October. Admission is free.

To get there, go to Naha on Hwy 330 past Omoromachi area. Sakaemachi is on the left next to a large Ryubo supermarket. As parking in the area is very limited, it is advisable to park in a public parking area near a monorail station somewhere and take the monorail to Asato Station. Sakaemachi market is right next to the station.

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