All posts tagged: ogimi

Exploring the Yanbaru

A couple of weeks ago I spent the day exploring the northern part of Okinawa known as Yanbaru. Here are a few snaps from a fun day out. I joined a guided walk that meets up at the Yanbaru Visitors Center and “Road Station” that opened in February 2020. There’s a mini supermarket packed with local produce if you need to stock up with snacks before your hike, or to buy ingredients for dinner after your adventure. A guided walk teaches you far more about the local flora and fauna than if you just treated the hike as a way to burn off calories. The guide was able to spot numerous critters, and explain the names and special features of the many plants along the trail. There was a good viewpoint from the summit on the trail looking out towards the Okuma Peninsular, and then we descended back down through the forest. We stopped for lunch at Maruhira restaurant while heading north on the west coast. If you contact the restaurant in advance they can …

Shioya Ungami Sea Festival, Ogimi, Okinawa

Yesterday, Shioya Ungami was held in Shioya Bay on the north west coast of the main island of Okinawa. Shioya is part of Ogimi village which is famous for having one of the longest living populations in the world. The festival begins with prayers and then the men of the village race dragon boats across the bay. The only woman in the boat is a yuta which is a local priestess. When the dragon boat arrived at the beach, the yuta was carried across the water so she didn’t get her feet and clothes wet. Many of the ladies and girls of the village wade into the water to sing and bang drums as encouragement for the dragon boat racers. They also stopped and prayed after the arrival of the first set of boats. The boats then raced back across the bay again as the ladies sang and waved. After the races the singing and dancing continued. Many of those laughing and bounding around were in their seventies and eighties. Many of the spectators were …