Every year October
Naha’s annual Otsunahiki (giant tug-of-war) has its roots in a centuries’ old local custom, when ceremonial tug-of-war events were held to pray for rain or prosperity. The custom faded out in the 1930s, but in 1971, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Naha Municipal Government, the tug-of-war made a comeback. Now an annual event, the Naha Giant Tug-of-War is held to pray for the prosperity of Okinawa and the good health of participants, and attracts more than 250,000 spectators each year.
The enormous rope, which was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s biggest straw rope, is 200 meters in length and weighs 43 tons. With side ropes attached for pulling, the tug-of-war can accommodate up to 15,000 participants for this lively competition, which usually lasts for 20 or 30 minutes.
Hours: 11:00 a.m. (parade), approx. 3:00 p.m. (tug-of-war)
Address: Kumoji, Naha City, Okinawa
Airport: Naha Airport
Kokusai Street (parade), National Hwy. 58 Kumoji Crossing (tug-of-war), Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture
Short walk from Kenchomae (Prefecture Hall) Station on the Yui Rail