Today was the annual 10,000 Eisa Dance parade in Naha where, as the name indicates, 10,000 Eisa dancers from both in and out of Okinawa come to Kokusai Street, Naha to perform throughout the day between 1pm and 6pm.
Knowing that this is quite a popular festival we opted to take the easy route by purchasing tickets through Kadena ITT, which basically provides transportation to and from the event without the hassle of having to find (or pay for) parking. What I didnt realize before today was that the festival started at 1pm but by going through ITT we didnt arrive to Naha until after 2pm so we missed a good hour.
We also somehow missed the grande finale, I am not sure if it happened while we were eating dinner, although I suspect it occurred when we were rushing down Kokusai Street to get back to the bus for 6pm. Another con for taking the ITT trip is that we had to be back at the bus by 6pm, the same time the festival finished.
If we do it again next year we will definitely just brave the traffic and head down ourselves!
The actual parade itself was awesome, as always, we were captivated by eisa; the drums, dances and costumes. The sun was blazing and while we were all melting I tried not to complain too much since a) it was forecast to rain but it held off and b) the performers not only had layers of customs on but had to hold drums and dance around, they definitely had it tougher than we all did, sitting around and eating shaved ice!
The girls and their friend Sophia loved dancing in the street and at times had quite a few people paying them attention even the eisa performers, although they didnt care for it when anyone with their face painted came too close. It was such a joy to watch them, completely carefree dancing in the middle of the street.
A great way to spend a Sunday and another item crossed off the good ol’ Okinawa Bucket List, yeah!