Celebrate the mid summer with splendid fireworks this weekend.
Having a summer festival without fireworks is just like having a dinner without main dish. Do not miss the main part of the summer festival at Okinawa Ocean Expo Park (where world's famous Churaumi Aquarium is located) slated for July 16, Saturday at 8:00PM, admission free.
However, I strongly recommend that you get there earlier in order to find and keep a good place to watch fireworks. If you leave home too late, chances are you get caught in a traffic jam and be late for the last firework.
I scanned and posted a copy of the fireworks festival flyer. Copies of the flyer are available in most of convenience stores in Okinawa, and traffic information is printed on the back of the flyer.
Click the below picture to enlarge.
A number of bus companies are offering tour services.
If you want to drink rather than driving, I recommend
that you take advantage of those services. Call and find
out the fair and bus schedules.
Traffic Information (Japanese & English)
Click the below picture to enlarge.
Don't worry if you arriving at the park during the daytime. There are plenty of things you can do at the park. If you have never been to Churaumi Aquarium, it is a good chance to visit and see the world's largest viewing window (acrylic panel) through which visitors marvel at the sight of three shark whales swimming majestically among hundreds of other deep ocean fish in the second largest aquarium tank in the world. If you are frequent visitors to the aquarium and have seen enough of the place, another place I recommend is a village just north of the park called "Bise." This beach-side village features nice tree-lined promenades as well as a walk along the sea wall facing the beautiful East China Sea, with a view of Ie Shima off coast. Enjoy collecting sea shells and sea glasses (beach glasses) along the way, take photos, or just spend an hour or so just sitting under a tree shade, with a bottle of your favorite cold drink in your hand, relaxing and watching the blue ocean under the tilting sun.
Plan ahead and make things a little easier for yourself:
1) Arriving at the place too early is much better than arriving there too late.
2) Don't forget to protect yourself from the strong sun ray/UV. Bring sunscreen lotion and apply it on your skin as often as necessary. Wearing sun glasses, a hat or bringing a parasol will minimize UV exposure.
3) Drink plenty of water in order to avoid dehydration. You can bring your own bottled water or soft drinks. There are many vending machines inside the park, but do not forget to bring Japanese currencies, especially 100 yen and 10 yen coins (Most bending machines take 1000 yen bills as well.) If you have only US dollars, there is no place to change your currencies inside or near the park.
4) Bring a small folding chair to sit on for a few hours. It should be light enough to carry around and small enough not to take up much space. (The place will be very crowded. People will be walking in the park and watching the fireworks shoulder to shoulder. Carrying a large folding chair is awkward, or worse, it may cause an injury for other people when your chair hits.) An inflatable cushion will work fine, too.
4) Bring a pair of binoculars in order to see stage shows. If you are lucky, you may find a space near the stage, but it is very unlikely.
5) Thefts/pickpockets could occur even in Japan. They know spectators are so engrossed in watching fireworks. But, you don't want to be too worried about your valuables stolen. So, carry only necessary amount of money and take measures against thefts in advance.
6) Use a child-harness/leash, etc., in order for your small child not to get lost. It is always a good idea to write with a permanent marker or stitch your child's full name and a contact number on the inside of his/her clothes, hat, etc.
7) Many Japanese women enjoy wearing "Yukata" to go out for summer festivals and watch fireworks. For men, "Jinbei" is a choice. It won't hurt if you try to be like a Japanese. Why not taking full advantage of being in Japan and enjoy the exotic outfit for the occasion.