History of the Naha Otsunahiki Festival
Originally, there was a custom in Okinawa that tells the omens of the year by tug of war. It is said that this custom already existed in Naha in the 1600s.
In the 17th century, along with the development of Naha, an event was held to compete as “Nahayomachi Large Ropes”. However, the game was heated and fights continued, so rules were set in 1812 and they were treated as important events in Okinawa.
It ends once in 1935 when it enters the Pacific War, but revives in 1971 after Okinawa is returned to Japan. And in 1995, it was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as “the best straw rope in the world”. In 2011, the name of the festival was changed from “Naha Festival” to “Naha Otsunahiki Matsuri” (Naha Gianttug of War Festival).
The tug-of-war is held at the intersection of Kumoji at Route 58, near the prefectural office, in the center of Naha City. Of course, traffic is regulated and is done using all lanes. At this time, the median will be removed.
Large Ropes are 186 meters long and weigh 40 tons. The rope diameter is 1.58 meters. It is enormous in size and has tremendous power. Usually, there is only one tug of rope, but Naha Otsunahiki Matsuri’s rope is used by connecting two ropes. The two ropes brought from east and west have loops at the ends. Join the loop parts through Kanuchi-bo. Since the rope is huge, it is hard to connect, but that is one of the highlights.
A “shogu” (a percussion instrument like a bell) is sounded, and the ropes are grinded with the shout “haaiya!” The giant rope has many reins, like centipede feet, that anyone can grind. However, in reality, there are too many people to approach the rope. The number of pullers is said to be 15,000.
With the shout of “haaiya !, haaiya!”, pull the rope for about 30 minutes. The time of this tug-of-war varies every year, and it seems that the shortest so far was 5 minutes. It was not settled and there were many draws. A giant rope that is incredible to move moves little by little. A very incredible sight. “Naha Otsunahiki Matsuri” is completely different from the mainland tug-of-war.
Introducing the access to the venue where the tug of war is held. You can get to Naha Airport by air from various places. Take the Okinawa City Monorail Line (nickname: Yui Rail) from Naha Airport and get off at “Kenchomae” station.
Charms and Highlights of “Naha Otsunahiki Matsuri”
Tens of thousands of people simultaneously draw in the world’s best straw.
“Naha Otsunahiki Matsuri” (Naha Gianttug of War Festival) held in Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture is an event where approximately 300,000 people visit the site every year. It is held annually at the Kumoji intersection of National Route 58 of Naha City at the time of 3 consecutive holidays in October. On the first day of the event, a parade will be held by about 50 organizations such as various circles, local groups, traditional arts preservation society, etc. at Kokusai street. Brilliant performances and traditional arts in Okinawa will be shown in the parade.
On the second day, the main event “Naha Otsunahiki” (Naha Gianttug of War) will be held. It is a masterpiece that tens of thousands of people simultaneously draw in the world’s best straw which received Guinness certification. It is the biggest Highlight of this festival.
It is very impressive as many people attract the rope which is 186 meters in length. If you want to join “Naha Otsunahiki”, you had better wait at the venue two hours before the start. When it is near the start time, there are too many people and you can not move. If you bring a small baby, let’s avoid going by a stroller.
Also, anyone can participate in “Naha Otsunahiki”, and in the middle of the tug-of-war, various languages are flying and it is interesting. When the tug-of-war comes to an end, they will enter a competition battle of rope. The rope of “Naha Otsunahiki” has long been considered a lucky charm, it is famous for carrying luck, and many people take home for amulets of the house.
At the main venue, “Citizen Festival & Orion Beer Paradise” will be held throughout the three days. There, you can drink Orion Beer directly from the factory, and live performances by artists in the prefecture will be held. In addition, there are also fireworks festival to be held for three consecutive days, there are many events to see.
Traditional festival of Okinawa
Naha Otsunahiki, it is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as “The World’s Largest Straw Rope”. More than 15,000 people pull the rope of 200 meters in total length against each other. It is the popular and greatest scale event of the Okinawa prefecture with a history and tradition of 400 years.
Naha Otsunahiki Matsuri is a traditional festival to be held in a center of Naha-shi in a 3 day weekend of ”the Health Sports Day” every year.
Tourists can participate
Because the tourists can participate in this Tsunahiki, it becomes attractive one, too.
Tens of thousands of people pull the rope
On the first day, approximately 50 groups perform the splendid dance as “The Citizen’s Entertainment, Folk Traditional Arts Parade”.
On the second day, a heroic parades of “the Hatagashira” (a flag of being ornamented) march throughout Kokusai Dori Street, the world’s largest Otsunahiki which has been recognized the Guinness authorization is performed grandly at the center of the town. While the Hatagashira fluttering, tens of thousands of people are united regardless of gender, age or nationality and the state to pull a rope against each other is right the best part.
30 minutes game
The ceremony begins at 3:15 p.m. of the second day, Otsunahiki begins to pull by a signal of the Mayor of Naha at about 4:20 p.m., and it becomes the game of 30 minutes annually.
Supported by the pride of participants
Naha Otsunahiki, which approximately 280,000 people come for sightseeing every year, is the traditional event that supported by the pride of participating local people and the long history to continue from the Ryukyu Kingdom period.
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Name:||Naha Otsunahiki Matsuri (Naha Gianttug of War Festival)|
|Adresse:||Kume 2-4 Naha, Okinawa 900-0033 Japan|
|Access:||Yui Rail Line “Kencho-mae-eki Station” (3 minutes walk)|
|Tel:||(+81)98-866-4858 (Naha Otsunahiki Preservation Society)|