Okinawa Tourism Information:RichHarvestFestivalatKuroshimaIslandinYaeyama

Rich Harvest Festival at Kuroshima Island in Yaeyama

post : 2015.09.23 19:00

A rich harvest festival is a summer traditional event for giving thanks to the plentiful and abundant harvest for the past year and for praying for the productiveness of grain and good health for the coming year. 


Rich harvest festivals in Yaeyama are very different from area to area.  In Kuroshima, the festival includes miiraku procession, paaree boat race, offering bojutsu (a martial art of using a staff weapon) and dance to the god, etc. 


At 10 AM of August 2 at Miyazato Beach, rowers on a sabani boat started rowing to the sea.  


The rowers prayed for an abundant year toward otake (sacred place), singing songs and putting oars into waters (This activity is called asakui.), which made an opening of the rich harvest. 


This is a procession of a party group of people in brilliant costumes led by the miiraku god.  Miiraku is worshiped as a god who brings us happiness.  In Kuroshima, they call the god miiraku while many other parts of Yaeyama Region call the god miruku.


Hadikumai performed by Nakamoto Village is a dance which you can see only in Kuroshima.  They performed to describe how men invite women to dance in a comical way. 


A very heroic performance of bojutsu by men was dedicated to the god.  It was really cool!  The highlight of the rich harvest festival in Kuroshima is a paaree boat race by two sabani boats. 


Two selected men called uuni dashed to sabani boats right after receiving cups from the elder and jumped into them.  Then the race started.   



Making a U turn in the waters off the shore and arriving at the beach, they dashed back to the goal to decide who was winning the race.  This year, Miyazato Village won the victory. 


Lastly, surrounding ladies dancing in the center, everybody including the paaree rowers joined hands in a circle and danced makiodori to pray for the fertility of the coming year even much stronger. 


Kuroshima attracts many tourists.  Why don’t you come to Kuroshima to enjoy the rich harvest festival next year? 


P.S.  Usually, the rich harvest festival in Kuroshima is held under the scorching sun.  It is visually pleasing, but the heat is terribly hot for performers.  This year it became sunny in the end, but we had a cloudy day unusually.  Everybody said “This is the first time that we have experienced the rich harvest festival in such a cool weather.”  So usually you can witness that the event is held with a background of more beautiful blue sea!



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Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer  Masumi Sasamoto