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October a month for family, friends, festivals

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2004-10-01

This week, it’s the lull before the storm.

It’s time to chill out, relax, rejuvenate in preparation for an October filled with more events than the typhoon season’s offered. This weekend, plan to venture out and enjoy pure relaxation with no staring at maps, directions, clocks or museum guides.

This week, we offer some ideas for simple fun as you make ready for a month filled with 23 events on Okinawa, 14 of them major, with ten being on the main island. The biggest, of course, is the Naha Tug-of-War, which Fantastic Okinawa will highlight next week.

Mother Nature’s always going to do her thing, but the good thing is that this month is still a terrific month for hitting the beaches. Okinawa has dozens of beautiful beaches. Some are filled with the tourist mindset, while others are blissfully undeveloped. Your choice.

Close to the bases, on Okinawa’s west coast, are a series of beaches scattered across the Onna area. Most are easy to find, situated along Highway 58 north of Yomitan Village.

Tiger Beach and Fuchaku Beach are popular, located just past Hotel Moon Beach. A few kilometers further up the road are Seragaki Beach, near Manza Beach Hotel, then Inbu Beach and Kariyushi Beach, near the Kariyushi Beach Hotel.

For a slightly more “off road” adventure, take the streets through Yomitan Village, just north of Kadena Air Base, also off Highway 58, and work your way to Zanpa Beach, adjacent to Zanpa Point. This is also an excellent diving area, as is Maeda Point several kilometers farther north. Not many tourist snack stands, so take your picnic basket.

Another excellent option is the Torii Beach, located at the Army’s Torii Station in Yomitan. Their beach is outstanding, and there are amusement facilities and a water slide to entertain the kids.

Okinawa Convention Center

The Convention Center’s the landmark in Ginowan. The fun is in the facilities surrounding the complex. Tropical Beach is terrific, and there are cabanas and gas barbeque grills available for rental. There are also playgrounds for children, and for the young at heart.

Only minutes from Camp Foster, on the Highway 58 bypass, Tropical Beach has a fair amount of free parking adjacent to the beach abutments. Coolers are allowed, but open fires are not. There’s plenty of sand or lush green grass to lounge on. Perfect for just laying back and relaxing.
Get ready, though, because next week you will want your walking shoes AND your camera. The Naha Festival, with its Guiness Book of World Records tug-of-war, tops the list of things to do.

What else? Consider these: Yanbaru Industry Festival, where mainland Okinawa’s 12 northern municipalities showcase their specialties. The 27th Miyako Industry Festival, the Shimajiri Pantu, where visiting gods roam the streets to chase away evil spirits and pray for happiness, or the Futenmagu Shirine Festival, one of the Eight Shirines of the Ryukus. Then there’s the 19th All-Island Lion Dance Festival, the Ginowan City Festival, the 399th Anniversary Festival honoring the sweet potato, the 30th Gushikawa Festival, Zamami Sea Kayak Race, Kume Island Marathon, the 7th Okinawa Sports nad Recreation Festival, the 9th Japan Beach Soccer Championships in Onna, and……….the Rich & Beautiful Sea of the South Festival in the north zone of Itoman Port. Check your Island Market events listing for details.

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