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Okinawa winter sports events

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Sports can be enjoyed throughout the year in Okinawa, and winter is no exception. Major events such as marathons, triathlons and bicycle races are held in the cooler months, with many athletes from Okinawa, mainland Japan and overseas converging on the islands to compete. Among Okinawa’s top runs, the Naha Marathon is one of the biggest in Japan, while the Okinawa Marathon is known for a unique course that includes Kadena Air Base.

Further afield, Miyako Island hosts the Waido Marathon, Okinawa’s longest distance race. Living up to its name, the Iheya Moonlight Marathon takes place at night. Athletes who finish receive fresh bonito in the Roman Kaido Irabu Island Marathon.

The All Japan Triathlon is held every year on Miyako Island, with each athlete competing in 200 kilometers of swimming, biking and running. The ITU Triathlon World Cup on Ishigaki Island serves as an important event for identifying Olympic athletes. Even if you are not a professional, you can still participate in the Ishigaki Triathlon. The Tour de Okinawa is a festival of bicycles, where amateur athletes and teams from all over the world come together and ride through the varied landscape of Okinawa.

The Agari Umai Joyathlon in Nanjo City is a new type of triathlon that does not involve time or distance. Everybody, from children to seniors, can participate in this event. Competitors go around to sacred places and castle sites dating to the Ryukyu Kingdom era by walking, cycling or swim-walking.

There are always crowds in the streets cheering the athletes on in sporting events. Volunteers offer food and drink to participants during the races, in a welcome display of Okinawan hospitality. Athletes are usually able to register for events from one to four months in advance. It’s worth joining in and experiencing a different side of Okinawa.

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Naha Marathon

The Naha Marathon takes place in early December, and its course includes five municipalities in the southern part of Okinawa.

 

Okinawa Marathon

The only event in Okinawa which has a competitive full marathon certified by the Japan Association of Athletic Federations. A 10-kilometer citizens’ marathon is also available for an easier run. The marathon takes place in late February.

 

Agariumai International Joyathlon in Nanjo 

This course is designed to include a series of sacred sites of religious importance, including World Heritage site Seifa Utaki. During the Ryukyu Kingdom era, these places were visited by kings and high priestess in a yearly procession of prayers that was called Agariumai. Participants can experience a touch of religious events while walking and cycling the courses, of which many are available.

 

Tour de Okinawa

An athletic event for cyclists held in northern Okinawa and participated in by prominent international athletes each year. Including the International road race, the eight divisions in the citizens’ road race and the 323-kilometer overnight cycling tour around the island, there is a wide variety of races to choose from. The race is held in November.

 

All Japan Triathlon in Miyakojima

One of the major triathlons held in Japan, also known as the Strongman Race, participated in by a large number of athletes from overseas. Those with experience in triathlons or anyone who has excellent physical endurance and confidence to finish the race are invited to enter. The race takes place in mid-April.

 

Ishigaki Triathlon

The citizens’ triathlon consists of an individual category and a relay with teams of three athletes including one swimmer, one cyclist and one runner. Elite triathletes compete in the World Cup in the afternoon. This triathlon is held in mid-April.

 

 


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