Spirit of Okinawan Bullfighting: An experience of a Karateka
“Bullfighting is truly a part of the lives of the people of Okinawa. To my surprise, after the winner was declared, children were invited up close for photos, with some even sitting on the champion bull’s back!”
From the times of the Ryukyu Kingdom to through the hardships of the largest land battle on Japanese soil, the Battle of Okinawa during the Pacific War, and then under the occupation of the U.S. and the tumultuous times that followed, the people of Okinawa have held their traditional culture very close to their hearts. The people of the islands go to great lengths and take great pride in handing their culture down to new generations. It’s the true treasure of these islands.
This feature focuses on Okinawa’s bullfighting, a popular entertainment among the local people since the pre-war days. We’ll introduce the experience of Kevin Chaplin, a Karateka hailing from England and an eight-year resident of Okinawa. He is devoted to his daily Karate training and teaching and is unwavering in his ambition of learning the ways of the traditional Okinawan karate and spreading it around the world.
Kevin recently had an opportunity to meet a family of bullfighting devotees and witness an exciting bullfighting tournament. As a result, he found something that connects the two seemingly very different traditions, bullfighting and karate. What he found was the exceptional spirit of the people, a spirit that’s unmistakably Okinawan.
Take a Ride on an Okinawan Sabani Feel the Traditions and History of a Maritime People
On these islands of Okinawa are cultures and traditions so unique and enchanting, nurtured across centuries and developed by the many generations of an island people. Since first setting foot on the island, Daniel López, a Swiss filmmaker and photographer, has been captivated by Okinawa and its deep-rooted history. On this day, Daniel López focused on Okinawa’s marine culture, an aspect that is deeply connected to the people and history of Okinawa. This rare and exciting experience involves a ride on the brilliant blue waters of Okinawa in a Sabani, a traditional wooden fishing boat. Seeing and feeling the traditions shaped by the forefathers of Okinawa on a traditional Sabani in an exhilarating ride on the water using only the powers of the wind and Ueku paddles, is truly a great Okinawan experience.
Miltos Beratlis; A two-day ‘Treat For The Soul,’ my magic experience in the deep forests of Yanbaru!
“I felt completely refreshed and rejuvenated in this truly wonderful and unique reserve of nature.”
The Okinawa main island is about 110 km long from Cape Kyan, its southernmost point, to Cape Hedo in the north, and takes less than a day to drive around the whole island.
Although the island is quite small, its scenery and environment change drastically from one area to another. A drive of just under 3 hours from Naha Airport (take comma off) can take you to places with creatures and plants living only here in the Galapagos-like world of the main island of Okinawa. Miltos Beratlis, a nature-lover from Greece, who decided to make Okinawa his new home after visiting the island, took a two-day retreat in this northern region known as Yanbaru. What awaited him was a magical forest, something that was beyond imagination.
Hayato MakiCEO, Simple Life Adventures Patagonia Ambassador
A Mystical Waterfall Hidden in the Jungles Adventures on Iriomote Island, the Galapagos of Asia
Nestled deep in the jungles of Iriomote Island is the magnificent Mayagusuku Falls. Iriomote Island is still one of the least explored islands within the Okinawa Islands, and to reach this waterfall requires permit applications to relevant agencies, as trekking without a guide is prohibited. The challenger on this tour is Hayato Maki, a professional surfer who has travelled the world and who now resides on Okinawa. It was Hayato’s first time on Iriomote, and he set off on his adventure of trekking through the dense subtropical jungle to reach the mystical waterfall with the words: “Nature always has lessons for us. Actively enjoying nature involves risks, but by understanding, being prepared, and experiencing these risks, they makes us grow.”
Pamela AnnChef-owner of "Little Greek Kitchen" a Greek restaurant
Discover Okinawa’s food culture at its vibrant markets
“A walk around a food market is a wonderful experience that taught me a lot about Okinawa.”
The Culinary Tour helps you to discover the true spirit of Okinawa through food, to know how local people feel and think about food and how they cook their everyday meals. The food experience of the “longevity island” makes one feel the vitality. The island has always been energetic even during difficult times, in the spirit of 'This is nothing yet."
American Pamela Ann took the Naha Food Walking Tour with us. She’s a chef residing in Okinawa and specializing in Greek cooking, specifically in making Greek cheese. The tour is a two-and-a-half-hour food experience, ample time to enjoy a variety of foods born from the uniqueness of the island, a combination of its mix of diverse cultures, and your five senses while strolling around the Naha kitchen and food shopping market.
Nature x Local Experts Relish the Special Yanbaru Time
Christal was charmed by the many and diverse allures of Okinawa, and she decided to relocate from the U.S. in 2016. Her health-conscious lifestyle made her the perfect candidate for the culinary tourism experience which took place in the beautiful northern region of Yanbaru, where the whole area is designated as a national park. The picnic lunch had an abundance of foods nurtured and grown in this area, and were prepared by the local experts who also assisted in the harvesting. Enjoy the blessings of Yanbaru in this wonderful experience which will surely soothe your body and soul with the natural energy and goodness of the ingredients grown in this region.