Itoman Hare dragon boat race
I spent this afternoon at the Itoman Hare, or dragon boat race, which is one of the most traditional festivals in Okinawa. The hare (known as hari or haarii elsewhere in Okinawa) has a long history and was introduced to the southern fishing port of Itoman from China at the end of the 14th century. It is a fishing festival held to pray for a good catch and a safe voyage at sea. There is not just one race but many and today’s event took place all day under a scorching sun with the temperature at 30 degrees. The festival takes place on the same day every year and so is usually on a weekday. Despite this, all schools in Itoman were closed for the day so that children could attend and it seemed as if the whole of Itoman had turned out for the event.
Here are some photos taken at the Itoman Hare this afternoon: