Beautiful Flowers of Okinawa
In the warm subtropical climate, you can enjoy colorful tropical flowers in Okinawa almost all year round. In mid-January while still in the middle of winter, spring arrives in Okinawa, and flowers begin to bloom earlier than anywhere else in Japan.
As the rare, exotic flowers begin to blossom, cherry blossom season arrives in Okinawa. Unlike the ones in the Mainland, the cherry blossoms in Okinawa have a vibrant pink color similar to plum and peach blossoms. Along with the arrival of this early spring, many flower viewing festivals are held in Okinawa. Also among them, folk song competitions, live concerts, and free Awamori events are held.
From January to May when plant growth is at its vigorous stage, flower festivals are held in Okinawa, and tourists flock from around the world to see the colorful flowers.
Yohena Hydrangea Garden
Time: Early May to late June
Hydrangea can be seen from late May to early June, which is during the rainy season even in Okinawa. The famous director, Yohena Uto, who has been interviewed by overseas media. It has been more than 30 years since Uto has started planting hydrangeas as a hobby when she was 60 years old, which became the hydrangea garden we know today. Now there are 10,000 hydrangea of about 30 species on the 10,000 m2 slope of a mountain. The number of flowers apparently reaches 300,000. When it is in season, tourists and media from all over the world visit to see the director and hydrangea. In addition to the hydrangeas, you can also see various types of flowers such as begonias and Chinese hypericum, which are seen in southern Japan.
Lily Festival on Ie Island
Date: Late April to early May
Place: Lily Field Park (Le Island)
One million lilies that grow from 200,000 bulbs blanket a big park that measures 86,000 square meters on Ie Island, known as the flower island. Ie Island is located only 30 minutes by ferry from Motobu Port in northern Okinawa. With an increase in frequency of ferry runs during the festival, the island welcomes a large number of visitors every year.
Cherry Blossom Festival
Date: Mid-January to mid-February
The Motobu Mt. Yae Cherry Blossom Festival features about 7,000 cherry trees along a three-kilometer mountain road, giving Mt. Yae a delicate color from base to peak. The Nago Cherry Blossom Festival is famous for its two-kilometer-long walk lined with over 20,000 cherry trees in bloom. These are Okinawa’s biggest cherry blossom festivals, along with the Nakijin Gusuku Cherry Blossom Festival held at UNESCO World Heritage site the Nakijin Castle ruins. This festival is known for the fantastic sight of cherry blossoms amidst the castle ruins lit up at night.
Okinawa International Orchid Show
Date: Early February
Place: Tropical Dream Center in Ocean Expo Park (Motobu Town)
This is one of the biggest orchid displays held in Japan, where orchid lovers from inside and outside Japan proudly show their orchids in one place. The venue is the Tropical Dream Center, located in Ocean Expo Park, home of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. There are approximately 10,000 exhibits, including potted plants, cut flower design and more.
Higashi Village Azalea Festival
Date: Early to late March
Place: Azalea Garden, Villagers’ Forest (Higashi Village)
Higashi Village is located on the east coast of northern Okinawa. Nestled in the tranquility of nature, about 50,000 azaleas are in bloom before any other parts of Japan. All azaleas are grown with care by village people. Higashi Village is also famous for a well-known ecotourism destination, the Gasashi mangrove forest.