Okinawa Tourism Information:NotJustHibiscusFlowers!Okinawa’sVariousFlowersoftheSeason

Not Just Hibiscus Flowers! Okinawa’s Various Flowers of the Season

post : 2020.01.28 13:00



When we think of flowers in this subtropical climate of Okinawa, many people will first think of the bright red hibiscus flowers. The brilliant colors of hibiscus flowers proudly blooming under the brilliant rays of the sun is symbolic of summertime flowers in Okinawa, but Okinawa also has other beautiful and delicate flowers for you to enjoy. During this season, Okinawa welcomes the blooming of the local cherry blossoms, as well as other flowers that won’t bloom in other parts of Japan until it gets much warmer. In this article, we’ll be introducing a number of flowers that will be blooming across the islands during this season.


 


The cold months of January and February are when the cherry trees bloom in Okinawa!



Cherry trees come into full bloom during the springtime in the rest of Japan, but Okinawa’s Kanhi Zakura cherry trees color their branches with beautiful pink flowers from January to February. Unlike the cherry trees in other parts of Japan, the Kanhi cherry trees bloom with the decline in temperature, and so their flowers begin to open starting from the northern region and spreading down to the south. So, the first place to view cherry blossoms ahead of anywhere else in Japan, is the northern areas of Okinawa!



When we think of cherry trees, many may first think of the Somei Yoshino cherry trees that are found throughout Japan, but as I mentioned, the Kanhi cherry trees are very different in appearance. The flowers are dark pink, and they bloom facing down. You can look up at the flowers from beneath the branches to see the delicate Kanhi Zakura cherry blossoms peering down at you. From January through February, there are numerous cherry blossom festivals that take place in various parts of Okinawa. These festivals are great stops while you’re sightseeing around the islands.




 


Let’s go see the rare Kumeno Sakura cherry blossoms.



The most famous of the cherry trees in Okinawa are the Kanhi Zakura, but there also is a type of cherry tree that is similar to the Somei Yoshino. They’re the Kumeno Sakura, and these trees have little flowers with white petals.



The Kumeno Sakura can be seen on Kumejima Island which is located just west of the main Okinawa Island, but they’re also found in Izumi in Motobu Town in the northern region of Okinawa Island. About 60 years ago, someone brought back a Kumeno Sakura from Kumejima Island and planted it in the area. During those day, though, times were tough and people were struggling for their own food, shelter, and clothing, and couldn’t afford to give the cherry tree enough fertilizers. Soon, the tree almost died. But in 2009, people began grafting the Kumeno Sakura on to Kanhi Zakura trees, and they were able to increase the number of trees. Nowadays, cherry blossom viewing events are held for people to enjoy the beautiful blossoms. In the Izumi area, Kanhi Zakura blooms through the months of January and February, followed by the Kumeno Sakura in March. These trees have their own unique beauties, so if you get a chance, do stop by and enjoy the season’s blessings.




 


Enjoy viewing the azaleas that bloom the earliest in all of Japan.



In Higashi Village, situated in the northern region of Okinawa Island, azaleas begin to bloom about two months earlier than in mainland Japan. “Japan’s earliest” azalea festival is held every year in March, in the Azalea Garden within the Higashi Village People’s Forest, which expands across four hectares.



Starting with Kerama Azaleas, which is particular to the Okinawa area, there are a total of eight varieties of azaleas growing in the gardens. With the blue of the Pacific Ocean in the backdrop, the brilliant red, pink, reddish-purple, purple, white, and others color the grounds, and the view will take your breath away.




Details on Higashi Village Azalea Garden
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Address: 766-1 Taira, Higashi Village, Kunigami, Okinawa


 


Popular among the locals through word-of-mouth! The beautiful Ochroreuca irises that bloom in the fields.



There is a type of iris in Okinawa called the Ochroreuca which begins to flower towards the end of March and sees full bloom from the beginning to mid-April every year. The Ochroreuca has slim and tall green stems, delicately long and narrow leaves, and large petals that are light purple in color. They have an elegant beauty that will charm anyone.


 

These irises are grown in paddy fields of a community in Ogimi Village in the northern region of Okinawa Island, and they are harvested and shipped out to various parts of Japan to use in Ikebana and other flower arrangements. Adding to the idyllic scenery of the area, the picturesque landscape during the season when these irises are in full bloom have come to be known among the local islanders, and today, many people visit the community to see the beauty of the irises.

In the language of flowers, the Ochroreuca means, “good news”. Stop by and enjoy the sight of these irises and maybe you’ll come upon some good news while you’re on your trip to Okinawa.



Details on the Ochroreuca irises of Kijoka
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Address: Paddy Fields in Kijoka, Ogimi Village, Okinawa


As the cold weather continues, our days are brightened by the various flowers that bloom during this season. Winter in Okinawa has different but equally charming features like its summers, and offers beautiful sights that we can only appreciate during this time of the year. We hope you’ll enjoy a day of flower viewing in this subtropical paradise that is Okinawa.


Okinawa CLIP Editorial Dept.
 

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