Manza Beach Governor’s Cup Dragon Boat Competition
On Sunday July 8th, the ANA Intercontinental Manza Beach Resort will host the 34th Annual Okinawa Governor’s Cup at the “Manza Haarii Festival”. The festival kicks in the morning starting at 11:00 and runs until 16:30.
The origins of the Haarii can be traced back for centuries. According to legend, a Ryukyu prince who was sent to China to be educated witnessed dragon boat races during his stay. He was so impressed that he brought the races and the first dragon boats back to the Ryukyu island.
Haarii, technically meaning ‘dragon boats’ is also used to refer to the races. It has become one of Okinawa’s most important traditions. Races are held every year as a means to pray and hope for a bountiful catch at sea and to bring back the fisherman safe and sound. Traditionally, most fishing communities observe the haarii event on the 4th of May in accordance with the lunar calendar.
Of all haarii tournaments held throughout the island, this is the only one where the winners get to keep the Governor’s Cup trophy for an entire year, thus making this haarii race one of the most prestigious events on the island. Every year, contestants from across Okinawa, Japan and even from overseas locations attend this event. Organizers believe that this particular haarii is more exciting to watch up close, as the Manza Beach Resort invites experienced and veteran competitors to the tournament every year, making this event all the worthwhile to see.
The races are divided into two groups. There is the “Challenge Race” division where anyone can participate, whether they are a group of friends or colleagues from work. And then there is the “Champion Race” division where veteran teams compete for the Governor’s Cup.
The application deadline to participate has already passed, but just watching is still a lot of fun. You can always sign up next year, but at least observing it this year will give you an idea of what to look forward to.
Additionally, the Manza Beach Resort is offering a special Military discount if you purchase one of their Ocean Park Lunch Sets, the Aquabelle, the Salvatore, or he Oriental Grill. A purchase of any of these sets gives you free access to the “Ocean Park”, one of biggest ocean playgrounds on Okinawa. Discount prices are ¥3510 for adults and ¥1800 for kids (3~12 yrs) (must show a valid military ID). And if you don’t want to play in the ocean, you can choose their Submarine Jr. II Lunch Sets (also called the Aquabelle, the Salvatore, and the Oriental Grill). A purchase of any of these sets gives you a free ride on the Submarine Jr. II, where children can see the vast aquatic life underneath the ocean. Discount prices for the Submarine Jr. II lunch sets are ¥3900 for adults and ¥2000 for kids (3~12 yrs) (must show a valid military ID). So get out there and have a great time at the Manza Haarii Festival, an event like no other. You’ll be glad you did.