Okinawa Tourism Information:OkinawaHaryusenFestivalCompetingFortheBest

Okinawa Haryusen Festival
Competing For the Best

post : 2016.02.29 15:00

On August 24the of 2015, the biggest dragon boat festival, Okinawa Haryusen Festival, was held at Itoman Port in Itoman City.

Haryusen means dragon boat which is said to be brought from China. This Haryusen Festival was started to keep traditional event, which takes place on May 5th of Chinese calendar and to create a new sporting event.

This year is the 6th festival and this time, two other major festival of Itoman City, which used to be held on a different day, were held at the same time, so many people came to the festival.

Usual dragon boat festival's programs are male, female, and municipality or workplace races, but this festival is uniquely composed of Okinawa's best, giant-killing, female, and pride match race.

To decide the Okinawa's best, only teams with great winning record can participate in Okinawa's best race which solely use traditional dragon boats and owls with the same condition. On top of that, these teams need to go through the festival organizer's evaluation. The race is breathtaking and you cannot miss any moment.

The giant-killing race is a race that a winning team can join the Okinawa's best race. Teams gathered from all over Okinawa to compete.

Female race is a race that all team members are female except for steerman and many foreigners participate in this race. Finishing time is important in preliminary race, so there were teams with a record that even male team couldn't beat.

Coworkers or local friends team mainly join Pride Match. Anyone can join this race.

Right next to the dragon boat race, 20th Nambu Yutakana Umizukuri Festival was held.

There were many events such as Sabani boat riding, Fish Catching, Shi-sa(Guardian Lion) making that children can enjoy. Besides that, there were shops that sell Itoman's fresh fish and families enjoyed the festival.

The 26th Itoman Furusato Festival has a variety of shows from dance battle to BMX to Eisa(Okinawan traditional dance). At the end of festival, 1000 fireworks lit up the sky.

At the final race of the Haryusen festival, teams were so neck and neck and people who were watching got so excited.

Race participants congratulate each other. Disappointments or happiness, everyone might have different feelings, but they all seemed to enjoy the race.

This year, team Hamayu won for the first time!! There were applauses from people. 

The purpose of the festival is to vitalize the local community and economy and to deepen the relationship with other people through this event. Every year, the number of foreign participants is increasing so I hope this festival become bigger so we can appeal to overseas.

Okinawa Haryusen Festival
Held around September or October every year

Still, there are many events and festivals held in Itoman City seasonally! Check out the website to learn more!

Okinawa CLIP Photowriter : Takano Nakao