12th International Kite Festival at Uchinada

Uchinada is one of the larger Japanese festivals and has been an international festival for 12 years. It features an assembly of many regional Japanese kite clubs, and so represents many types of kites and kite flying. Located on a driving beach on the western shore of Japan it features gentle but steady wind.

After stopping at our favorite hardware store outside Kanezawa, Mushashi, we arrived at our Ryokan, Sasagawa, a traditional Japanese style country inn. Early that evening we attended the opening ceremonies for the 12th International Kite festival. The ceremony began with the traditional sake keg smashing, dancing, speeches, and toasts. Sushi was provided and time alloted for socializing, and drinking sake and beer. This was followed by a kite auction and demonstration of miniature kite flying..All in preparation of the next day’s flying on the beach.

The mayor of Uchinada (Mr. Hideo Iwamoto) with Mr. Modegi, after the mayor won a wan-wan kite at the auction.
The festival day was glorious weather, clear with a gentle steady breeze and the festival began. Amidst the free flying were demonstrations by Marc Ricketts, tehara fighter kites, a rokkaku battle, and a show of kite flying by the international guests.
Dancing Frog Banners
Martin Lester's Scuba girl
Oodako from Yokkaichi
Classic Edo Kite with hummer
Daimon Kite
Tehara fighting kite basket and glass coated fighting line
Tehara fighting kite clubs
Jennifer with the Dancing Frog Banners at base camp at Uchinada festival
Jennifer with Mrs. Modegi
Marc Ricketts with his mega glider
We spent much of the time flying kites with the Osaka Kite club. We became members of their club during the past year. Mr. Hashimoto, president of the club, presented us with our team happi coats at the Uchinada festival. The coats are a traditional indigo blue with the Japan Kite Association name on one lapel and our names on the other. The kanji for kite is on the back inside a yakko dako design with Osaka Prefecture as the designated club. We were very happy to be initiated into the club as we had known the members since they visited San Francisco for the opening of San Francisco as the sister city to Osaka in 1997.
We returned to Tokyo and had a celebratory dinner hosted by the Japan Kite Association, with many guests from the Tokyo area attending. Among them was Mr. Hike, author of the dictionary of Japanese kites. For most of the tour, this was their last night in Japan so we bid them farewell.
Yoshi Kishi- a wonderful companion at Uchinada and Tokyo, who we later saw at Sanjo for the rokkaku battles
Teruaki Tsutsumi - director of the kite museum in Tokyo, and Mr. Modegi's assistant in managing the Japan Kite Association.