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Eyes are on Eisa on Kokusai Street Sunday

Date Posted: 2012-08-10

Drums—literally hundreds and hundreds of them—will set the beat for Sunday’s grand finale to Okinawa’s Eisa Parade featuring 10,000 dancers, an event postponed a week by projected anti-Osprey demonstrations and the antics of Typhoon Haikui.

The 10,000 Eisa Parade’s crowning event is Sunday afternoon, with 10,000 dancers from 60 groups performing along a 1.6 kilometer stretch of Kokusai Street in downtown Naha. Separate Eisa groups and another 12 Naha District youth troupes will perform as they parade the length of Kokusai Street. The parade slows as groups stop along the way to demonstrate their skills along the entire mile-plus stretch, ending at Palette Kumoji.

The 10,000 Eisa Festival has been a part of downtown Naha life since 1995. The parade performances are set to run from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Towns and villages participating include Tomishiro, Ishigaki, Urasoe City Itoman City, Kin Town, Katsuren Town, Ogimi Village, Gushikami Village, Kadena Town, Ginowan City and Gushikawa. Late entries are being accepted at 10 a.m. Sunday in front of the Prefectural Office Building. Entry fee for Niwaka Eisa-Tai, temporary dance teams, is ¥1,000 per person.

Events will fill Saturday afternoon and evening at the south end of Kokusai Street, with a 10,000 Eisa Pre-Festival at Palette Kumoji. The fun begins at 5 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m. Eisa dance teams and youth Eisa teams will perform. The pre-festival begins earlier in the day at nearby Okinawa Prefecture Hall’s open space, with Eisa dance and Sanshin performances. For those new to Okinawa, it’s a chance to see firsthand how families begin teaching children their cultural heritage at a very early stage.

The 10,000 Eisa Festival and Parade is one of two major festivals in downtown Naha City each year. The second is the Naha Tsunahiki, coming up in early October.

Getting There

To Naha, travel south on Highway 58. The first opportunity in Naha to turn left to Kokusai comes shortly after passing Tomari Port/Tomarin Hotel. At the next intersection, turn left at the traffic signal. Kokusai is about one-half kilometer away. Three other left turns can be made at Matsuyama Crossing, Kumoji Intersection and Izumizaki. All are marked. Be assured traffic will be heavy, and we recommend parking farther away from Kokusai Street itself, then walking to the festival areas.

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