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Okinawa’s Cosmos Flowers are Now in Full Bloom!
post : 2020.02.15 06:00
It’s the season of cosmos blossoms in Okinawa! The name cosmos is also known is Japan as Aki Zakura, meaning ‘autumn cherry blossoms”. But here on balmy Okinawa, people can enjoy viewing these beautiful flowers from the winter season on the islands.
There are a number of cosmos fields within Okinawa Prefecture, but the largest is located in the Igei district in Kin Town.
The cosmos field in the Igei district expands across 25,000 square meters and every year, they hold a cosmos festival to invite people to enjoy the beautiful sight of the cosmos in full bloom. Now, why do they have such a huge flower field…
The secret is that the field is actually a rice paddy. Igei is known as one of the top producers of rice in Okinawa Prefecture, and after the rice is harvested, the farmers sow cosmos seeds at the end of the year, and uproot them and leave them to serve as mulch to enrich the soil through a process known as green manure. The flowers start blooming around January, and cover the field in brilliant hues of reddish-purple, pink, and white flower petals.
The cosmos festival in 2016 (when the original Japanese article was written) was on February 14, and many people gathered to enjoy the flowers. Also available at the festival were various specialty products, food and beverages, and newly harvested local rice was sold for a great deal at 1,500 yen for five kilograms.
Another factor that adds to the popularity of the festival is that on the day, visitors are given 20 cosmos flowers to take home. At the venue, rental scissors are available for 100 yen, and you can clip the flowers yourself. Be sure to leave the roots, though, as that helps to fertilize the soil. All across the field, you’ll see people happily collecting the cosmos flowers and lots of smiling faces.
Even after the festival, you’ll find plenty of cosmos flowers decorating the field in Igei. Go along route 329 and turn toward the community center at Igei intersection, and you’ll find the cosmos field on your right-hand side. The flowers are great to see until around the 21 of the month, so if you get a chance, please visit Igei!
*The Cosmos Festival in Igei this year is scheduled for Sunday, February 16.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA)