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Coverage: 2015 Okinawan Festival

Chinagu Eisa Hawaii

The 33rd annual Okinawan Festival took place this past Labor Day weekend on September 5 & 6, 2015 at Kapiolani Park, once again proving it’s the largest, most popular cultural festival in the state of Hawaii. Thousands upon thousands of folks — both tourists and locals — braved the intense summer/post-tropical storm heat, showing their support for Uchinanchu pride, creating long lines for a taste of Andagi to Champuru, all while enjoying the rich cultural dance and music native of the Ryukyu Islands.

Following are photos I shot on both Saturday and Sunday, mostly around the early afternoon time frame. Enjoy!

Showing off a Champuru plate, let’s start with da’ Okinawan Festival grindz!

Yaki Soba: Okinawan-style soba noodles stir-fried with vegetables and luncheon meat and a special chef’s sauce ~ $6 (12 scrips)

Yaki Soba (same plate as above, angle “B”)

Yaki Soba station

Okinawa Soba

Okinawan Pig’s Feet Soup: In Uchinaaguchi (Okinawan language), it’s called ashitibichi. Pig’s feet and spareribs are cooked in a soup stock and garnished with konbu (seaweed), daikon (radish), togan (squash) and mustard cabbage – and served with hot rice. ~ $10 (20 scrips)

Champuru Plate: Vegetables and agedofu (deep-fried tofu), mixed together champuru-style, stir-fried, served with hot rice, Okinawan shoyu pork, and a pork and miso garnish called andamisu. ~ $9 (18 scrips)

Champuru Plate (my plate!)

Andamiso for the Champuru plate (as good as GOLD right there!)

Maki Sushi

Maki Sushi & Yakitori Stick Obento (with Takuan)

Oki Dog: Hot Dog, Zippy’s Chili, Okinawan Shoyu Pork (Rafute) and Shredded Lettuce, wrapped up like a burrito in a soft flour Tortilla

Andadog production line

Andadog shown “in situ”, meaning, “in its original place”

The Okinawan Festival Andadog is essentially a Hot Dog dipped in Okinawan Andagi batter (“roughly” think doughnut), deep-fried to perfection, hence the Asian version of an all-American Corn Dog 

The Okinawan Festival Andadog is so, so sugoi oishii-yo!!!

Okinawan Festival’s Andadog = (arguably) The Best Hot Dog in the WORLD!

Andagi ~ 3 for $2.50 (5 scrips)

Okinawan Festival Andagi Express Cart (how cool is that?!!!)

The Okinawan Festival Andagi Express Cart quickly gets swamped by Andagi-craving festival patrons!

Okinawan Festival Andagi Express Cart selling ready-to-serve Andagi and Iced Coffee

2015 Okinawan Festival scrips (1 sheet of 20 scrips = $10 / 50 cents each scrip)

Toyomu Nakagusuku mascot

Toyomu Nakagusuku mascot

Keiki Bouncies a plenty

2014 Okinawan Festival (last year’s) t-shirts, selling for only $5 each at the Yomitan Country Store

2015 33rd Annual Okinawan Festival t-shirts



Uyehara ohana’s Aloha Tofu company had a large section at the Yomitan Country Store, offering all their oishii Tofu Mousse flavors, silken tofu and Aloha Tofu logo wear

Okinawan women folk dancer kimono (backside; in the cultural tent; not for sale)

Okinawan folk dance implements (in the cultural tent; not for sale)

Shisa (Okinawan Guardian Lion Dog)

Shisa (Okinawan Guardian Lion Dog)

Shisa (Okinawan Guardian Lion Dog)


2015 Okinawan Festival Heiwa Dori tent volunteers

Chinagu Eisa Hawaii

Chinagu Eisa Hawaii group giving free Okinawan Eisa  Taiko lessons

Huge crowd gathers around the Kapiolani Park Bandstand on a HOT Sunday afternoon to enjoy the music and dance of Okinawa

Here’s a video clip (HD available) I shot of two traditional Okinawan folk dances demonstrated at the Okinawan cultural tent on Sunday afternoon (the second dance is much more lively, so hang in there for that one)…

This video clip is from a fantastic MEGA-performance on Saturday…

For more information, please visit www.OkinawanFestival.com

Related links:
Okinawan Festival – Facebook page
Thousands kick off weekend at 33rd Annual Okinawan Festival  – HawaiiNewsNow.com
Andagi and more at Okinawan Festival (video) – KITV.com

The Tasty Island related links:
2007 Okinawan Festival
2006 Okinawan Festival
Aloha Tofu Grand Opening Celebration (just like an Okinawan Festival!)
Andagi + Hot Dog = Andadog

10 thoughts on “Coverage: 2015 Okinawan Festival

  • September 8, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Love your photos of the event, we didn’t last long there…too hot :)

    -Matt @ LookIntoHawaii.com

    • September 8, 2015 at 11:04 am


      Too HOT? Tell me about it! OMG, I was  DYING out there! I must have drank at least 5 gallons of water during my time out there each day at Kapiolani Park. Every minute was BRUTAL, where I could barely even focus on the videos and photos I was shooting, spending more time wiping dripping sweat off my forehead. DRIPPING.

      LookIntoHawaii.com is a very nicely done site! I’ve added it to The Tasty Island’s LINKS page. :-)

  • September 8, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Pomai, my cousins are not having good also in San Francisco now.  It Indian

    summer now and around 105 degree.

  • September 9, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Thank you so much for giving me a glimpse of the Okinawan Festival.  Our family was always very involved in the OF.  My mom used to be in charge of kids games and my grandpa used to do the plant sales.  Haven’t been in over 20 years!  So, I thank you for taking the time to cover it.  I can almost taste that AndaDog. Now I’m going to have to go home and make them.  I have to tell you, when I was younger, the first time I had a corn dog I thought it was terrible because my grandma always made me AndaDogs. Thanks, again.

  • September 9, 2015 at 8:57 am

    @ Shevon – Diner E volunteers every year at the OF. Where coincidentally you mention it, this year he was working at the Andadog tent (first time for him). He said his first few were “funny ‘kine”, but eventually he got the hang of dipping the hot dogs properly in the Andagi batter. Speaking of making Andadogs, check out my very first post on this blog titled “Andagi + Hot Dog = Andadogs“. Glad you enjoyed the coverage. :-)

    @ Amy  –  According SF local news, the record heat wave continues to grip the Bay Area.


  • September 9, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Pomai… posing with the ladies, nice smile, perfectly shaped head for baldness, and stuntin’ at an ethnic event that’s not Portuguese. You sir are a badass. I am here to learn. Cool looking fest. Wish we had more here.

    • September 10, 2015 at 7:16 am

      Souza-San (Johnny),

      I love you man, but you’re still not gettin’ my Bud Light. lol

      Seriously though, have you found a “stunt” yourself yet with your culinary degree now under your belt? Anytime you got stuff (oh, like, say, a certain dish or restaurant on the Big Island) you want me to promote, hit me up, bro’, and I’d be more than happy to help you out!

      • September 10, 2015 at 7:30 am

        Thanks Pomai.  Got an interview with Marriott this morning and had one with fish hopper yesterday.  Things are falling into place and looking good.  I had a leg injury that was holding me up.  Necrobiosis…yeah I got it after wracking my shin in the school kitchen.  Funny part is it usually affects diabetics and I’m not one.  OK wish me luck.

  • September 1, 2016 at 6:45 am

    I’m sure you all heard the news that the 2016 Okinawan Festival at Kapiolani Park this weekend (9/3/16 and 9/4/16) has been CANCELED due to the approach of Hurricane Lester. And they don’t plan on rescheduling it. Man, that’s a LOT of lost money on food, printed t-shirts and other merchandise. plus the cost to set it up. Not to mention the refunds for folks who want them on pre-purchased scripts. Itaidesu-yo!

  • September 1, 2016 at 9:35 am

    :(  I ended up having to cancel my trip because of an illness in the family, but I’m still sad to hear of the cancellation.  The festival is such a labor of love — you can see it and feel it (and taste it with those andadogs!).  They may try to schedule some kind of mini-fair so they can unload some of the merchandise.  I’m going to have a friend buy me some t-shirts as a contribution.

    Meantime, I’ll look forward to next year …


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