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Tedako Festival in Urasoe this weekend

Date Posted: 2002-07-20

The 25th Urasoe Tedako Festival is an event that mixes history, culture, and entertainment wrapped up into one big two-day event. The festival takes place Saturday and Sunday in Urasoe Athletic Park.

Events include a three-on-three basketball tournament, traditional song and dance performances, sword performance and tug-of war. The official opening ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m., and will be followed by children's "Eisa" dancing and the "Miss Tedako" crowning ceremony. There will also be plenty food stalls.

Perhaps the most spectacular part of the festival is the Taiko Carnival that begins at 5 p.m. Saturday. The performance blends local history with the exceptional skills of Okinawa's best taiko drum groups. Numerous Ryukyu dancers also add to the atmosphere.

Fireworks end the festival on both days starting at 9:20 p.m.

Urasoe was the domain of the first Ryukyuan king, King Eiso, who started trade relations with China. Those exchanges that lasted for centuries gave Okinawa many of its characteristic cultural features that to this day sets it apart from the rest of Japan.

King Eiso was born in 1229 in Iso Castle in Urasoe. According to a legend his parents were not able to have a child until one day the king’s father had a dream that the sun visited his wife, and entered her chest. Soon after the wife became pregnant and had a son who was given the name Eiso. However, he was also known by another name “Esonotedako” meaning “Son of the Sun.” Tedako Festival takes its name from this legend.

The "Tedako Festival" main events will be held at Urasoe Sports Park, located near the Urasoe Civic Hall on Route 330. Parking will only be available at the Urasoe Port. A shuttle bus will take festival goers from the port to festival grounds. From Camp Kinser, head north on Highway 58. Turn left on the new road towards Okinawa Convention Center, and then immediately left to the port. From Kadena, head south on Highway 58 and look for the sign to the port on your right after passing through Ginowan.

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