While Okinawa is known for waves and boats yearround, these summery things never draw more attention than they do on the day of the Hare Festival.

A number of small events will be held across the area, acting as prayers for a bountiful ocean harvest and safe passage on the seas. Among these events, the Itoman Hare Festival is the most well-known. It’s held to mark the end of the rainy season (believed to be the fourth day of the fifth month according to the lunar calendar) and is known as the hare buni, an old Okinawan word for “racing boat.” And at the festival, boat races are the main spectacle.

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