Okinawa Tourism Information:Youcanenjoy“phantomcherryblossom,”KumenosankuraonmainlandOkinawa!

You can enjoy “phantom cherry blossom,” Kume no sankura on mainland Okinawa!

post : 2015.03.27 19:00

The typical cherry blossom in mainland Japan, someiyoshino will be blooming soon.  In Okinawa, can’t we find someiyoshino?

It has been said that someiyoshino does not grow under the climate of Okinawa; however, actually, cherry blossom which looks like someiyoshino can be found in Okinawa!

Speaking of cherry blossoms in Okinawa, generally kanhizakura is popular.  The kanhizakura bloom in pink in January to February, and their flower petals drop together with their calyces.   

Other than that, we have “Kume no sakura,” which grow wild in Kume Island and bloom in white in March.

The flower color of Kume no sakura is white unusually in Okinawa.  Also when the flower petals fall, they flutter to the ground just like someiyoshino.

How amazing!  We can see sakura fubuki (a flurry of falling cherry blossoms) in Okinawa!

Other characteristics about Kume no Sakura are white flowers gradually turning into pink and have a good scent.

We had to visit Kume Island to view Kume no sakura, but actually, Kume no sakura is cultivated in Izumi, Motobu Town in the northern part of mainland Okinawa!
You can appreciate Kume no sakura, which is called “phantom cherry blossom,” for free.

You can view the cherry blossoms along the street just next to Isumi Parking Lot in Izumi, Motobu Town.
About 1,000 trees of Kume no sakura are planted around the area.

Why do people call Kume no sakura “phantom cherry blossom”?

About 60 years ago from now, the local resident of Izumi was impressed to see white cherry blossoms grown on Kume Island and decided to bring them to Izumi.

However, they did not have money to buy enough food, clothes, and living in those days, so they could not afford to buy fertilizer for growing the Kume no sakura.  Finally the cherry blossoms declined to the brink of extinction.

In 2009, they tried to increase the number of the Kume no sakura by grafting the Kume no sakura onto the kanhi zakura.  Finally, last year, they could hold the first Kume no sakura viewing festival.

Izumi, Motobu Town is a home for tankan (Okinawan tangerine).

At the festival venue, you can find the local housewives selling their specialty products including tankan.  I especially recommend a freshly-squeezed juice from 10 fully-ripen tankan for 150 yen per cup!

Izumi is famous not only for tankan but also for a viewing spot of the kanhi zakura.
And now, you can enjoy viewing the Kume no sakura in Izumi.

“Following after blooming of the kanhi zakura in January to February, the Kume no sakura starts blooming in March.  Here in Izumi, you can appreciate cherry blossoms two times a year!” The local people are proud of their Kume no sakura.

Now also in Okinawa, sakura (Kume no Sakura) is welcoming its best season!  You can enjoy the full bloom of the cherry blossoms by this weekend!

Location: The street just next to Isumi Parking Lot and the surrounding
Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer    Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA)