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. Some use traditional taiko drums, some use pop music—all of them are amazing.
The Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival begins with eisa parades on the first day, a youth festival on the second, and culminating 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.