Uminchu Festival on Oujima invites sabani sailors

Besides sabani sailing and dragon boat races, Oujima Uminchu Festival has plenty of other attractions.

Besides sabani sailing and dragon boat races, Oujima Uminchu Festival has plenty of other attractions.

Oujima, a tiny island just off the southern coast of the Tamagusuku district of Nanjo City, is widely known for a small shop, Nakamoto Tempura, that has a reputation of selling the best fish tempura on Okinawa.

Oujima, which is connected to the main island of Okinawa by a bridge, is also the venue of a two-day festival this weekend that features two different events related to the ocean, a Sabani sailing race and Haarii or Dragon Boat race.

The Sabani sailing race started in 2007 with an idea of gathering Sabani fans in an event where they can swap stories. The race was inaugurated in 2010 to revive old traditional seafaring skills, and to develop and spread maritime culture among people.

The first Uminchu Festival opening ceremony in 2010.

The first Uminchu Festival opening ceremony in 2010.

Sabani used for the race have a mast and a sail, and are able to hold up to seven crew. Participants who have registered in advance as a team go around Oujima four times to compete. The interesting aspect of the race is that people on the boat have to both sail and paddle. Along the route there’s a certain sailing only zone where they must catch the wind and cannot paddle the boat. So it’s essential for them to have sailing skills. This is the key to winning the competition.

A beach cleaning will be conducted on Saturday, and as a reward, people who participate in the beach cleaning can sigh up for a sailing experience on a sabani.

On the second day of the festival, dragon boats take to the sea from the morning. In addition to boar racing, a famous Japanese singer of ballads called “enka” is on stage starting 18:30. Ichiro Toba is especially popular among people in port towns as he used to be a fisherman himself and sings many songs about feelings and lives of fishermen.

The festival takes place on Sep. 5th and 6th from 10:00~21:00 at the Oujima fishing port at 19-9, Aza Ou, Tamagusuku, Nanjo City ( Admission to the event is free.


• 13:00 Sabani saling race starts
• 14:00~15:00 sign in for Sabani riding experience for people who participated in beach cleaning (beach cleaning 13:00~15:00)
• 15:00~16:00 Sabani riding experience
• 15:00 Opening ceremony
• 16:00 Sabani race prizing ceremony
• 17:00 Bo-jutsu (stick fighting) performance
• 18:00 Okinawan folk song show
• 19:30 Clown Airo performance
• 20:00 Southern Band Okinawa live


• 10:00 Harii competition
• 14:00 Shimauta live
• 15:00 Harii competition prizing ceremony
• 16:00 Beer speed-drinking competition
• 17:15 Karaoke competition
• 18:30 Ichiro Toba special live
• 19:30 Bo-jutsu / original Eisa performance / clown Airo
• 20:00 Tsuyoshi Azubuchi live
• 21:00 Fireworks

04:55 15 Jun , 2024