Yokosuka is perhaps one of the easiest locations in Japan to be a foreigner in. Yokosuka has the American naval base, and a National Defense Force presence using docks and facilities alongside American sailors. English is more prevalent out in town because there are so many foreigners in such a small space. The influx of foreigners is both a blessing and a curse to the area, but one thing is for certain, it is a melting pot full of unique experiences.
Yokosuka curry is unique to the area, and something the city prides itself on – ask Sucurry, our duck mascot! Being such a hotspot for various nationalities, the curry has changed over time. It tastes to me like a Japanese curry and Indian curry combined. If Yokosuka curry is not your preference but you still love curry, then head to the annual Curry Festival in Mikasa Park. The weather just starts to really warm up in May, and everyone gets excited to shake away the last bit of frost in our bones. The spice-filled hot curry really helps me with that. For the last couple of years, the curry croquet has been my favorite. Although this year I was surprised to find that not only do I like shark, but also any seafood curry I can get my hands on. This may seem just like a food festival at first, but as you go through the park you will reach an amphitheater. Local dance troops and students from fine arts schools (ages from 5 years to 18 years usually) perform for free on the stage for hundreds of people. Bring a small blanket, collect your food, look for free samples, and make sure to find a spot in the sun and enjoy the show!
Yokosuka Pan Festival
To risk sounding like a famous celebrity: I love bread! More specifically, I love fresh bread and somehow, I love the smell of fresh bread better than eating it. Not only that, I love cafes and coffee. If you’re like me, this is a festival you do not want to walk past! Just outside of the U.S. Yokosuka Base is Verny Park, where this festival is held. Instead of the hip-hop dancers, at this festival we saw some Polynesian dancers and a small chamber orchestra. It’s hard to narrow down my favorites in bakery products, but I was quite partial to the cinnamon rolls and pita pockets. The bakery festival focused on local foods from the Miura Peninsula and local vendors. While I did not have the pleasure to try, the sausages were a massive hit and sold out in no time at all. Rose ice cream, drip coffee, and ice cream coffee floats were all options to cool down or warm up in these early fall days.
This last festival is something I stumbled upon this last summer in my neighborhood. Bon odori (盆踊り) is a dance festival dedicated to your ancestors. The dance is one of joy to welcome the ancestors to visit their shrines during the three days. My experience started off just helping put up signs, because a very old gentleman thought stepping on a see-saw was safe. In my neighborhood, they were very welcoming to the foreigner that wanted to sit and watch the dance. While customs vary all throughout Japan, favors were given along with treats and drinks. It is a time to not only worship your ancestors but appreciate those in your community around you. Some areas, Yokosuka included, host very large bon odori that give it more of the festival feeling. If you are just walking and are curious, it is always all right to ask if you could watch or join. I admit, I joined in the dance and managed to learn a few steps.
Yokosuka festivals information
Upcoming festival schedule
The next curry festival has a tentative date of May 18-19, 2019.
The last bread festival occurred October 20-21, 2018. Check event schedule for the next one.
Bon odori occurs all August long throughout to Japan. Yokosuka has some large-scale options.
Check the link below for Yokosuka festival info.