2013 Gima Obon Festival
Obon in Japan takes place at different times throughout the year. In Okinawa it took place over three days from August 29-21. On the second night, communities throughout Kume Island celebrate together.
Since all of the small festivals take place at the same time, it’s hard to see all of them. This year I visited the largest festival since I was talked into buying raffle tickets in advance (they help pay for the fireworks and event materials). This year the weather was not too helpful, it rained quite strongly a few times throughout the evening, but participants and visitors alike stayed strong and saw the night through.
The Gima Festival is held at one of the small local fishing ports in Gima Aza. A wide area in the center is set aside for traditional Eisa and obon dances with festival attendees in a square around them. To the west was a series of food tents serving shaved ice and yakitori. On the other side was a small raised stage for musicians. Starting with local kindergarten students, various groups entertained the crowd with Eisa. Later, locals performed the local bon dance to live music.
Toward the end of the night, they had the drawing for the local raffle which had prizes from a WiiU to air conditioner, cash, trips, and more. The night was rounded out with fireworks which just managed to find a short duration without rain. All together it was a fun night with friends, culture, and a bit of hiding from the rain under tents.
For more on obon in Okinawa, check out my past posts.