For a number of Americans the holidays just aren’t the same here as they are in the US. There are, however, some things that can give you a little taste of the holidays while here in Okinawa. One of these things is referred to as “illumination” but you might call it a “christmas light display”. These can be found all over Japan and there are various that happen here in Okinawa however this year I returned the Itoman Peaceful Illumination, where I went last year.
Located in the southern part of the island this illumination features over 600,000 lights in various forms. Last year there was a large eagle, this year there was a spectacular huge tent of lights as well as an ocean of lights on which a Japanese style ship was sailing. Everyone of all ages can enjoy this illumination. Young and old stare at the lights in awe.
The highlight of the night is when all of the lights are shut off for a moment and spectators can see just how bright the lights are. Then as the entire crowd counts down the lights go back on and everyone enjoys the rest of the evening. There are food vendors which gives this a matsuri feel as well as pony rides and live performances.
Admission for the event is 200yen and prices vary for other goodies such as hot cocoa, cotton candy and corn on the cob. For me this is a great place to come each and every year. It puts me in the holiday spirit. The event runs at the end of December through the new year which is perfect for those of you who want to add a taste of home to your holiday here in Okinawa.