By Philbert Ono

Most viewed - Ikaho Merrie Monarch Hawaiian Festival 2008 伊香保ハワイアンフェスティバル
Aloha Dalire teaching hula in Ikaho. The Hawaiian workshops were held at the Ikaho Kaikan Hall in central Ikaho. アロハ・ダリレが教えるフラセミナー485 views
Main venue of the Ikaho Merrie Monarch Hawaiian Festival held every summer in Ikaho Spa, Gunma Prefecture since 1997. It is on a city-operated parking lot. 伊香保ハワイアンフェスティバル会場287 views
Group shot of the Hawaii gang and Ikaho Hawaiian Festival Committee.225 views
More photos here.197 views
For many women, hula is good exercise, recreational fun, or a chance to look and feel like a different person. The colorful costumes, flowers, attractive movements, and glamorous setting are all very appealing.196 views
Hawaiian celebrities Aloha Dalire and Luana Kawelu pose with yet another group of Japanese hula dancers in a hotel lobby in Ikaho.192 views
The audience sit on the Stone Steps to watch the "Street corner hula." So what did they do when it rained?172 views
Members of Hula Halau 'O Kamuela try Japanese-style dancing during the farewell party.164 views
On the last night of the festival, a farewell party was held for the Hawaii delegation. Shibukawa city council chairman Katsuaki Oshima (left) and Mayor Kogure pose with members of Hula Halau 'O Kamuela.157 views
This venue is called "Machikado Hula." (Street corner hula). It went on from 11 am to 5 pm during the four-day festival (except on the first day when it started from 1 pm).140 views
Many more photos of this show here.133 views
This was a song about paddling a canoe, I think.130 views
The nightly main event was an hour-long Merrie Monarch hula show by Hula Halau 'O Kamuela, the overall winner of the 2008 Merrie Monarch Festival held in Hilo, Hawaii.123 views
Colorful costumes and lots of eye candy.121 views
Mayor Kogure speaks with Aloha Dalire and Luana Kawelu after the Merrie Monarch Show.120 views
Crowd-pleasing performance.118 views
Kumu hula Kau'i Kamana'o does a solo number.117 views
Aloha also taught two hula workshops. For the first workshop, she taught the song "Nani Lawa'i" (sung by Na Palapalai). First, she had the students close their eyes and listen to the song.114 views
Aloha Dalire taught seminars in hula history, Hawaiian expression, and lei-making (pictured here). She brought a boxful of a'ali'i flowers for lei-making. All the students had heard of the flower, but it was the first time for them to see it.114 views
Short greetings by Luana Saiki-Kawelu, Assistant Director of the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, Hawaii. Ikaho's Hawaiian festival is Japan's only hula event officially endorsed by the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo.107 views
Every year, the overall winner of the Merrie Monarch Festival is invited to perform at Ikaho's Hawaiian festival. They started with a hula kahiko (ancient hula) dance.105 views
Kumu hula Aloha Dalire explains that she is a 7th-generation kumu hula in her family, and produced five Miss Aloha Hulas at the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, including all three of her daughters and Kuhi Suganuma, the 2008 Miss Aloha Hula.102 views
Thomas Goya during the closing ceremony.102 views
Aloha Dalire also speaks during the closing ceremony.101 views
Tommy Hirano, Honorary Consul-General of Japan from Hilo, Hawaii also speaks. It was his first visit to Ikaho.100 views
Kupuna 4分ごとに各フラチームがステージで出演。100 views
The Honorable Jiichi Kogure, mayor of Shibukawa, lauds the festival during the closing ceremony. 渋川市長 木暮治一100 views
Kumu hula Aloha Dalire, instructor of the Hawaiian seminars during the festival, also greets the audience. アロハ・ダリレ99 views
A few words by Kau'i Kamana'o, kumu hula of Hula Halau 'O Kamuela who was the festival's guest performer and overall winner of the 2008 Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, Hawaii.97 views
On the last day of the festival on Aug. 6, 2008, a closing ceremony was held at 8 pm before the prize drawing and Merrie Monarch Show. Luana Saiki-Kawelu gives a few words.97 views
For the second hula workshop, Aloha taught the song "Nani Manoa." The workshops were held at Ikaho Kaikan hall. 伊香保会館93 views
Kumu hula Kunewa Mook also speaks at the opening ceremony. In the background is the flag of the city of Shibukawa. In Japan, all cities, towns, and villages have their own official logo and flag.92 views
Dreamy stage lighting.92 views
Thomas Goya, from Hilo and president of the Japanese Community Association of Hawaii, speaks as a representative of the County of Hawai'i, Ikaho's sister city. ハワイ島日系人協会会長91 views
Students who attended all five Hawaiian seminars were given a Certificate of Completion signed by Aloha Dalire who enjoyed teaching the seminars. She then freely signed autographs and took pictures with the students.91 views
Tommy Hirano during the closing ceremony.91 views
Every 4 minutes, a new group of hula dancers went on and performed on stage. This went on for four days 10 am to 6 pm (except on the first day when it started from 1 pm).90 views
It cost 30,000 yen to take all five seminars or 10,000 yen for one seminar. The hula seminars were the most popular. Free ukulele lessons were also taught at a different venue by a Japanese teacher.90 views
Hawaiian Waiwai Party ("Waiwai" means boisterous.)90 views
Guests of Honor from Hawaii were introduced to the crowd.87 views
The opening ceremony included a few speeches and a ukulele performance by Mr. San'uemon Chigira, the chairman of the festival committee.86 views
Once upon a time, hula in Japan was mainly done by elderly women. Not anymore as hula's popularity has spread to all ages in Japan.86 views
The first day featured Keiki Hula (hula by children).85 views
A few hula dancers take a break after performing their number on the Stone Steps.85 views
After the Waiwai Party was a nightly drawing for prizes. People staying at any Ikaho inn/hotel would receive a lottery ticket which they put in this large box. The grand prize was a trip for two to Hawaii. The prize drawing was held on all four nights.83 views
All the seats were filled during the all-day performances. So many hula groups applied to perform during the festival that Ikaho had to draw lots to decide who could appear.82 views
A total of five 90-min. Hawaiian seminars were held during Ikaho's Hawaiian festival in Aug. 2008, and they were all taught by kumu hula Aloha Dalire who was very well received by the (thrilled) students.82 views
From 7 pm to 8:30 pm, the Hawaiian Waiwai Party allowed anybody to go up front and dance the hula. Hawaiian music provided by a Japanese Hawaiian band (Dan Yamamoto & Ikaho Hawaiians).82 views
One section of the Stone Steps also served as another venue for Ikaho's Hawaiian Festival. 「街角フラ」石段にて80 views
About 600 seats at the main venue. Ikaho's connection to Hawaii lies with the summer residence of Robert Walker Irwin, the Hawaiian Minister to Japan during the late 19th century.78 views
The Hawaiian festival's opening ceremony was held on the festival's first day on Aug. 3, 2008. Among Japan's many hula festivals, this one is unique since it is organized by a city government based on sister-city ties.77 views
Shops on the lower level.77 views
The main venue has two large adjoining tents. The tent on the left covers the stage, and the one on the right covers the audience seats. The place is ringed by outdoor shops selling Hawaiian goods (mainly clothing).76 views
During Aug. 3-6, 2008, about 390 hula groups (totaling 4,700 people) performed on this stage. About 838 hula groups applied to perform, and only 390 could be selected to appear.76 views
Signboard at the entrance to Ikaho Spa. ("Monach" is spelled wrong.) "Monach"はスペルミス。74 views
Main venue of the Ikaho Hawaiian Festival. メイン会場74 views
Shops around the main venue.74 views
More shops on the lower level.74 views
The famous Stone Steps of Ikaho. Ikaho is on a mountain slope, and the Stone Steps goes through the center of the hot spring town. It is lined with shops and inns. ("Monach" is spelled wrong.) "Monach"はスペルミス74 views
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