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Must-see spring events in Okinawa

Okinawa

Home to 160 sub-tropical islands and located just three hours by air from Tokyo, Japan’s southernmost prefecture of Okinawa is set to welcome a collection of exciting events this spring – from a traditional lantern festival and flower carnival to an exhilarating triathlon, spectacular fireworks show and an international movie festival. Here, the team at Visit Okinawa summarises some of the must-visit events in the region during the season…

Ryukyu Lantern Festival – until 31st March 2024
At this festival, traditional wooden buildings in the classical style of the Ryukyu Kingdom shine under the soft glow of over 3,000 colourful lanterns, allowing visitors to step back in time to discover a piece of the prefecture’s fascinating past. Guests can make washi-paper lanterns, watch concerts and dance performances on a lantern-lit stage and see buildings illuminated with laser projection mapping as a modern twist on this historical event.  

Ryukyu Kaiensai Fireworks Festival – April 13th 2024

One of Okinawa’s largest displays and Japan’s earliest in the year, visitors can expect to see the night sky light up in glorious colour at this spectacular firework display that marries pyrotechnic flair with cultural charm. Vast numbers of fireworks are set off with meticulous precision to the beat of music, in a dynamic show that combines references to the region.

All-Japan Miyakojima Triathlon – April 14th 2024


Athletes from across Japan and abroad push themselves to the limit of physical endurance on land and sea in this exhilarating sporting event, held on the Okinawa island of Miyako. Participants display their athletic prowess by first swimming from beautiful Yonaha Maehama Beach, then cycling along a dynamic course around three islands with spectacular views before ending the race on foot.

Okinawa International Movie Festival – mid-April 2024
A film festival with Okinawan flair, this event has been running since 2009 and attracts visitors from around the world. Whilst the focus remains on movies, the festival has developed over the years to incorporate music, dancing, comedy, fashion, art and sport making it an all-around entertainment extravaganza.

Okinawa Tropical Illuminations – until 26th May 2024
One of Japan’s most popular illuminations, the award-winning Okinawa Tropical Illuminations event, held at the Southeast Botanical Garden on the Okinawa main island, showcases an array of spectacular light displays each encapsulating a captivating theme – from the marine-themed Hikari no Umi (sea of light) display to the Castle of Light which looks fit for royalty.

Okinawa Flower Carnival – until 31st May 2024

This series of events held across Okinawa from January until the end of May each year highlights the prefecture’s beautiful sub-tropical blooms, with floral arrangements on show in a myriad of colours all kissed by the islands’ fabulous sunshine and warm weather. Highlights include the Higashi Village Azalea Festival, the Le Island Lily Festival and the Okinawa Bougainvillea Fair.

For more information on events in Okinawa, visit: https://visitokinawajapan.com/discover/events/

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