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700 Colorful Carp Streamers Majestically Flying in the Blue Sky. The Biggest Northern Okinawa Festival “The 25th Oku Yanbaru Koinobori (Carp Streamer) Festival”
post : 2014.05.13 18:00
Located in front of Oku Community in the northernmost pat of main Okinawa island, “Oku Yanbaru no Sato”is a accommodation facility, which has old-world flavor as well as modern convenience. On the spacious premise (nearly 50,000 m2) with idyllic fresh stream called Oku River, you can find a folk museum, an exchange hall, a restaurant,a miniature golf course, etc. “Oku Yanbaru no Sato” is an important sightseeing facility in the north.
“Oku Yanbaru Koinobori Festival,”an annually-held festival during the Golden Week here, was held in a large scale during the past May 3 to 5, for 3 days this year also. The event celebrated its 25th anniversary this year and more than 700 colorful carp streamers from throughout the nation were flying high, wide, and handsome in the giant sky of Yanbaru.
On the afternoon of May 3, the local elementary school students performed eisa dance in front of the main stage, which was followed by a ceremony for hoisting 3 koinobori made by also the local elementary school students. Then, the festival started crisply.
Originally the festival started for planning to boost the development of the village. The concept of the festival is to pray for a healthy growth of children and traffic safety.
This festival attracts about 20,000 visitors for 3 days, a daily average of about 2,000 cars from in and out of Okinawa every year. It is the second biggest event after “Kunigami Village Festival”in the north.
During the 3-day event on the special stage, there were also a variety of events and programs held, including children eisa dance performances, folk music shows, Ryukyuan dance, karate performace, and band performance. In addition, numerous stalls selling take-out foods made from plenty of local vegetables. The venue was crowded with many tourists and the locals with family from in and out of Okinawa.
The main attraction this year was the first ever wedding ceremony held in the festival. Taking the opportunity afforded by the koinobori festival 2 years ago, a newlyweds Mr. Yoshikimi Shiroma, a teacher at Oku Elementary School and his wife Kayoko (maiden name : Tamashiro), an office clerk at the said school, both of them are 31years old, started to going out. With their first son, Yoshihisa-kun, who was just born in this January, they flashed faces wreathed in smiles and showed themselves bursting with happiness with great celebration from the locals.
According to the executive committee, this was the first wedding ceremony they have had using the associated words:“鯉 pronounced as koi” as in koinobori and “恋 also pronounced as koi”as in love, and they want to continue this wedding style upon request. Okinawa is also well-known for resort wedding, which we call “rizokon,”but form now on we might be welcoming the age of “Yanbarukon (wedding in Yanbaru (the forested northern part)) or “Yankon” or “Barukon.” :)
Please note that the festival executive committee has been asking for handmade koinobori from around the country. Just imagine your handmade koinobori is flapping in the giant blue sky of Yanbaru! I hope that will be your new enjoyment for the next Golden Week in Okinawa.
“The 25th Oku Yanbaru Koinobori Festival”
Date: Saturday-Monday, May 3-5, 2014
Place: Oku Yanbaru no Sato, Oku River Park Stage
Address: 1280-1 Oku, Kunigamison, Okinawa
TEL: 0980-50-4141 (Oku Yanbaru no Sato / Oku Yanbaru Koinobori Festival Executive Committee)
Host: Oku Yanbaru Koinobori Festival Executive Committee
(Please note: These websites are written in Japanese. So please ask your Japanese friend for help.)
Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer Kiwamu Ogawa （Qey Word）