Where to see eisa during Obon…

If you are in Okinawa during Obon, then likely you will hear eisa drums in the distance. I previously wrote a tiny bit introducing about Okinawa’s bon dance, eisa エイサー, in another post. You can hear eisa pretty much year-round, and especially at summer matsuri (~July-October), but it is most important during Obon. Neighborhood Obon eisa can occur anytime in the 4 day interval from the first evening (unkeh ウンケー) usually until the day after last day (uukui ウークイ). The act of eisa parading around the neighborhood is called 道じゅねー “Michi Junee.”

So I know many people just keep their windows open and listen for the sounds of eisa, following it when they hear it. But, honestly there is a better way to find out when and where they will be performing near you… there are likely signs in your neighborhood, though if you don’t read Japanese, you might not realize that is what they are for. I have passed dozens upon dozens of simple painted wooden signs indicating when eisa will be performed for various neighborhoods, so just keep your eyes out; occasionally you will get some modernizing areas post it on the official village/town/city website or even on a Facebook page. So what do these signs looks like?

 

key words that you might see on signs:

旧盆 kyuubon 
お盆 obon
エイサー eisa
盆踊り bon odori/bon dance

ウンケー unkeh, the first day of obon
中日 nakanuhi, the 2nd day of obon
ウークイ uukui, the 3rd day of obon

月 month
日 day
時 hour

場所 place/location
区 ward/neighborhood
公民館 public hall
広場 open space/wide space

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