Okinawa Island Guide

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Okinawa Island Guide

16th Chatan Haarii

Haarii (dragon boat races) are festivals held throughout the summer at various fisherman communities to pray for a safe voyage and a good catch and to thank the sea for its blessings. During the races, teams compete against each other by paddling small, narrow boats called sabani. The boats are similar to the sabani their ancestors used in the past, sometimes crossing astonishing distances across the seas in their tiny vessels.

While haarii races in Naha and Itoman are best-known, smaller versions of the event can be seen at fishing ports across the island. Chatan Fishing Port organzes their annual haarii on the 15th and 16th of this month.

The pre-festival on Saturday, the 15th, features live bands and a dance show by a local youth group. The Saturday event runs from 10:00 to 20:00.

The main event, the haarii races, is held in the harbor on Sunday. The races begin at 8:00 and run throughout the day. Live bands are again on stage, headlined by JET of Gate 2 Street fame. A fly-boad show gives extra pizzaz to the festival.

On both days, plenty of food stalls and trucks serve local festival fare, from yakitori and steak sandwiches to sweets and other delicacies.


Date: Saturday & Sunday, June 15 & 16m 2024
Time: 10:00-20:00 (Sat.); 8:00-20:00 (Sun.)
Place: Hamagawa Fishing Port
Admission: Free