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Motobu readies its 39th Ocean Festival

Date Posted: 2012-07-20

Living in the shadow of the big cities often overpowers small towns and villages, but in northern Okinawa Motobu Town is polishing up everything as it invites and welcomes all of Okinawa to its 39th Motobu Ocean Festival this weekend.

With a population of less than 15,000, and tucked between Nago City and Nakijin on the northwest coast of Okinawaís main island, many people gloss over Motobu, not realizing itís the home to Ocean Expo Park and the acclaimed Churaumi Aquarium. This weekend though, the welcome matís out for Motobu Town itself, with festivities at Tancha Park and Toguchi Port.

Opening ceremonies arenít until 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Tancha Park, as things begin to cool off, and visitors can take in the townís recommended products and tourism angles. From there, a kidsí show, a kidsí swimming costume show and an animae song show by Chat noir at 6 p.m. get people in a festive mood. Orion beer gets into the act at 6:30 p.m. with a beer chugging contest, followed by a karaoke contest. Performances by Motobue Yae-sakura Group and Motobu Kids Yae-sakura fill the evening.

The rough-and-tumble outdoor action starts in the morning though, with a fish grabbing contest at Toguchi Port at 11 a.m., followed by a Sumo Contest on the Sea at Toguchi Port at 11:30 a.m. In the afternoon free banana boat and glass boat rides are being offered at Toguchi Port. Sunday at Toguchi Port there are kayak and mini boat fishing contests from8 a.m. ~ noon, and Haarii contests noon ~ 5 p.m.

At Tancha Park Sunday, the sound stage is operational from 2 p.m., with performances. At 5 p.m. Ninju-nu-Sunaawai takes to the stage, followed at 7:05 p.m. with a street performance by Hiroto Tamanchu. Another live performance, this one by Aimoco, is at 7:30 p.m. The Motobu special collaboration fills the evening from 8 p.m. ~ 9;30 p.m. with a combination of street performances and dance, Okinawan folk songs, Eisa dance and bands, and fireworks.

Making the trek north a day trip is an option for many. Itís a good chance to visit Expo Park, the Chruaumi Aquarium and the Planetarium. Entrance to the Planetarium is •170 for adults and •50 for kids.
The Motobu Ocean Festival site is Tancha Park. To get there, drive to Nago on the Expressway, exiting at Kyoda and taking Highway 58. After passing Nago Fishing Port, look for the sign to Route 449 to Motobu. Follow the road along the coastline until arriving in Motobu. Tancha Park is just before the road goes over a bridge over the entrance to Motobu Port.

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