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10,000 Eisa dancers perform this weekend in Naha

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2004-07-29

The island’s largest Eisa festival builds to a peak this weekend when some 10,000 dancers of all ages will fill the Kokusai Street.

The parade begins at 3pm on Sunday, capping a festive week with dozens of events across the downtown area. Naha’s mayor will address the crowd of dancers and spectators, and then the music begins.

Participating towns and villages include Tomishiro, Ishigaki, Urasoe City, Itoman City, Kin Town, Katsuren Town, Ogimi Village, Gushikami Village, Kadena Town, Ginowan City, Gushikawa City. Groups range from youngsters to the Over-30 category.

Aside from the parade, which offers several hours excitement, there will be performances by the Okinawa Doctors Life Association, beginning at 4:30pm, a childrens’ Eisa performance at Naha City Hantagawa area at 5:30pm, a Kobudo performance at 6pm, and the Naha City Drums on stage at 6:30pm. All program events take place at Palatte Kumoji, the large multi-story shopping center at the south end of Kokusai Street.

Action is Now

There is plenty of excitement for shutterbugs and mere tourists alike this evening, when Palette Kumoji comes alive beginning at 6:30pm. Two major performances begin at 6:55pm when the Shiohira Area’s drum performance “Kijimunaa” goes on stage, followed by the Tsuboya area’s shiisaa drum show.

Friday is Childrens Day, with the evening show beginning at 6:30pm at Palette Kumoji Open Area. Look for both a childrens’ drum show and also a Kobudo Drum Performance.

Saturday the action kicks off at 2pm, with dances by the Ishigaki City youth organizations. Other Eisa drum shows follow, with performances by RHK, Kafuu and Tengyuu groups.
A live concert by Hidekatsu kicks off at 3:10pm, followed by a Theater Performance at 4pm.

The week kicked off last Sunday with various performances on and around Kokusai Street.

Getting There

Travel south on Highway 58 to Naha. The first opportunity to turn left toward Kokusai will come shortly after passing the Tomari Port / Tomarine Hotel. At the next intersection, turn left at the Roynet Hotel traffic signal. Kokusai is about one-half kilometer away. Three other left turns can be made at Matsuyama Crossing, Kumoji Intersection and Izumizaki intersection. All are marked. Traffic will be heavy, and parking farther away from the Kokusai Street area itself is recommended.

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