Late
Aug

Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival

Free

Find yourself in Okinawa around O-bon time, when the spirits of the dead return to the world of the living? Check out the Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival, the island chain’s last major summer festival. And it’s a corker—three days of dancing and celebration as Okinawans gather to welcome their ancestors.

The eisa dances that form the centerpiece of the Zento Eisa Festival used to be held in separate communities all over the island, but now they’re gathered together for one eye-popping gorgeous festival. With traditional Ryukyu dress, massive taiko drums, song and dance, it’s an event not to be missed.

Eisa dancers at Koza Sports Park | Photo by iStock.com/catlane

The Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival begins with eisa parades on the first day, a youth festival on the second, and culminates with spectacular fireworks and laser shows on both nights. The main venue, Okinawa City Koza Sports Park, is centrally situated and parade routes involve much of the surrounding town area.

Get the best Japan Cheapo hacks direct to your inbox

Related Events
  • Apr 9
    ~
    Apr 17

    Nagahama Hikiyama Festival

    Taking place in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture, the Hikiyama Festival is named for the wheeled festival floats which are pulled along at many traditional festivals. However, the festival is known for ‘kodomo kabuki’ – children’s kabuki. In the case of the […]

    Free
  • Apr 17
    ~
    Apr 18

    Okinawa International Film Festival

    Founded in 2009 by comedy giant Yoshimoto Kogyo, the festival has a packed schedule which includes comedy and drama, as well as documentaries, young-director showcases, and development workshops. Despite the name, the Okinawa International Film Festival is decidedly more domestic […]

    ¥1,000 – ¥3,000
  • Miyako Odori
    Apr 1
    ~
    Apr 20

    Miyako Odori

    Cancelled

    A performance by Maiko and Geiko from different districts, also known as the dance of the capital. Begun to raise spirits after Tokyo was first declared Japan’s capital, it has been held in the Kaburenjo Theater since 1873 but due […]

    ¥4,000 – ¥5,500
  • Apr 23
    ~
    Apr 27

    Nagasaki Tall Ship Festival

    The Nagasaki Tall Ship Festival takes place in April each year in the spectacular backdrop of Nagasaki Harbor. Typically the event features a number of square rigged tall ships with their billowing sails providing a romantic glimpse into the bygone […]

    Free