Thursday, April 06, 2006

Iriomote Island (Okinawa) - Shichi Festival

Here are the photos I promised in my previous post from Iriomote Island, one of the islands of Okinawa. The photos date back to September 2002 and were taken during the Shichi Festival.

We spend about 10 days at Okinawa and we visit a total of six islands. First we flew from Tokyo to Naha on the main island of Okinawa (Okinawa-hontoo). We only spend the first night there and the night before we flew back to Tokyo. The other islands we visited were Zamami-jima, Ishigaki, Taketomi, Iriomote and Hateruma, the most southern inhabited island of Japan and much closer to Taiwan than to mainland Japan.

It was an excellent holiday, with nice sightseeing, nice food and drinking, interesting culture etc..., a nice mix of activities and relaxing. We also liked the people. Way less stressed and much more relaxed than on mainland Japan. They know how to party and they like drinking. We liked the Orion beer and the local drink Awamori, the notorious strong liquor of Okinawa that can contain between 30 to 60% of alcohol. Okinawa is also a great place for snorkling and diving. We did some excellent snorkling at Zamami-jima and saw gorgeous marine life, like lionfish, seasnakes and manta-rays. At some islands there are also spots for watching hammerhead-sharks and whalespotting during January to April. You can see humpback whales and also whalesharks. It's still one of my wishes to snorkle once with whalesharks. I already did with dolphins (also in Japan) and that was awesome.

I might post some more pictures from our Okinawa-trip later, but this time I will post pics from our trip to Iriomote-island from the Shichi-festival. It was a very scenic and colourful local festival with lots of interesting rituals. Some of the festivals on Okinawa have a long and rich tradition. Some more info of some of the festivals at Okinawa can be found here. More general and pretty good tourist information can be found here.

Enjoy the pics. For me they bring back some good memories.

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