The Subtropical Island of Okinawa in Full bloom
In mid-January, considered mid-winter, cherry trees begin blooming in Okinawa, well before any other part of Japan. Blessed with a warm subtropical climate, Okinawa boasts vividly colored tropical flowers throughout the year. Along with these exotic blooms, light pink cherry blossoms add an extra flavor to Okinawa’s scenery in spring, when many flower festivals are held in various places on the island.
Yohena Hydrangea Garden
Date: Early May to late June
Place: Motobu (Ie Island)
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 (Ie 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.
Nakijin Castle Ruins
Nago Castle Ruins
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.