Okinawa Tourism Information:TheGloriesoftheRyukyuKingdomSplendidlyComeBack!DigestofShuriCastleFestival

The Glories of the Ryukyu Kingdom Splendidly Come Back! Digest of Shuri Castle Festival

post : 2014.11.23 18:00

The Shuri Festival, which is held for several days from the end of October through early November, is one of the biggest events at Shuri Castle, in which you can appreciate the history and culture of the Ryukyu Dynasty. 

Also this year, for four days from Friday, October 31 through Monday, November 3 (National Holiday), the festival ran mainly at the Shuri Castle Park and other areas such as Kokusai Street in Naha City, sometimes solemnly and other times gorgeously.   A variety of renditions create “the wind of the Ryukyu Kingdom era”.

I would like to deliver the digest of the Shuri Castle Festival 2014.

On October 31, the first day of the festival, “Traditional Performing Arts of Celebration” to perform classical Ryukyuan dances and local folk performing arts started at Shichanu-una (free zone) of Shuri Castle Park was held until November 2. 

Dances originated at Shuri Castle and a wide variety of folk performing arts from everywhere in Okinawa, which have been designated as intangible cultural assets, fascinated visitors.

The main highlight on November 1 is the greatest ceremony in the Ryukyu Kingdom, “The Parade of Chinese Investiture Envoys and Coronation Ceremony.”  The Chinese investiture envoys’ group dispatched by the Chinese emperor go in procession from Shurei-mon Gate, Houshin-mon Gate, and to Una (center court).  That is where the coronation ceremony is reenacted to show how the Ryukyu king was inaugurated in a solemnly manner.  The venue was filled with tension, which told me how high-class national event the ceremony was. 

Even after sunset, visitors still come one after another.

At nights on November 1 and 2, the lighting of about 6,000 candles took place around the Shuri Castle Park as the “Lighting of Bridge over Nations.”  Shuri Castle is enveloped in soft, fantastical lights. 

On November 2, the most spectacular event of all the programs in the festival, “The Great Parade of the Kingdom’s King and Queen,” the Pageantry parade was held on Kokusai Street.  Based on the history, a total of about 800 people in gorgeous costumes for the Pageantry parade marched in procession along the street.  The parade showcased the splendor of the kingdom period, and tens of thousands of people from home and abroad soaked up the spirit of historical romantic adventure.

In addition, on both Nov. 1st and 2nd, a variety of music stage performances took place in the lawn square in front of Suimuikan (a building of parking, shop, and restaurant) at Shuri Castle. On Nov. 3rd, the final day was finished with a magnificent climax by “The Ancient Rite Parade of Ryukyu Dynasty Festival, Shuri.”

The four-day event was full of diverse contents, and everybody was impressed so deeply.
Next year, please come to see close to the moment that the ancient Ryukyu dynasty was revived gracefully.

2014 Shuri Castle Festival

Date: Friday, October 31 to Monday, November 3 (National Holiday)
Venue: Shuri Castle Park, Kokusai-dori Street, etc.
Admission: Free (* Admission fee is required for events in the paid area.)
Host: Shuri Castle Festival Executive Committee
TEL: 098-886-2020
Official Website: http://oki-park.jp/shurijo/event/182

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer  Kiwamu Ogawa

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