Shuri Castle Festival   首里城祭

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Traditional Okinawan costumes

Colorful parades

From the end of October to the beginning of November the streets of Naha, the capital of Okinawa, are full of color and invite you on a journey back in time, to the era of the Ryukyu Kingdom...

Shuri castle

If you go to Okinawa this fall, this colorful festival is not to be missed! Through dances and parades, discover the history of the ancient kingdom of Okinawa.

An open air show

The parade of the Ryukyu Dynasty takes place on the third day of the festival. This huge event takes place on Kokusai Main Street and has about 1,000 participants. You might even have the honor of seeing the royal couple, each in their own richly decorated palanquin.

Read : The traditional Okinawan art of Eisa

The heart of the festival takes place at Shuri Castle, not far from the capital. This architectural marvel dating from the Sanzan period (1322-1429) is the starting point of the festivities: 3,000 people take part in the traditional procession. The performers gather in the castle area. Here you can see lion dance (shishimai) and banner dance (hatagashira).

Between parades and ceremonies

Many parades are scheduled in the festival program. Among them, we strongly recommend the Sapposhi parade and coronation, a reproduction of the movement of royalty from Sureimon Street to Shicha-nu-Una - inside Shuri Castle - and the coronation ceremony, one of the kingdom's most important events. It was in 1404 that the first ceremony was held, in the name of the Chinese Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

A reproduction of the Sapposhi coronation ceremony at Shuri Castle

The highlight of the show

Finally, during the last days of the festival (generally around 4-5 November), the castle comes to life at the sound of the musical festival: traditional instruments of the island will delight you with their melodies. When night falls, thousands of candles in the historic building are lit and light up with a soft light; creating a different, almost magical atmosphere compared to the daytime.

Videos by xxkybassmov taken in 2010

First video : Shuri Castle Festival - the day

Second video : Paths lit by candles in the castle and its night shows

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Dates for the festival in 2018?