Okinawa Tourism Information:Revivethesacredrivertocreateaflowerbloomingoasisinthecommunity

Revive the sacred river to create a flower blooming oasis in the community

post : 2015.04.08 18:00

Shimashi, Ginowan City in the central part of Okinawa was originally a sacred place, and Chibugaara River, which used to be fresh water, and the local residents revived the river and had flowers bloom along the river.

On March 28 and 29, “The First Okurareruka Festival” was held.  “Okurareruka is at its best now.  You can enjoy viewing flowers until mid April!,” said Mr. Sakugawa, President of Chibugaara River Preservation Association.

This area is a dividing ridge, a higher ground looking over the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea, but still water gush out here.  There is something to this place.

The water was used for drawing “wakamizu (the freshest water collected for the first time in the morning of New Year's Day)” and water drawn for “ubuyu (water for a newborn infant's first bath).

The river has very high-quality, clean water so that shrimps and crabs can inhabit.  “We used to swim in this river,” said Mr. Futenma, a local resident here.  The water was used carefully as daily life water. 

However, this area became a site of a university about 30 years ago.  The river had been just abandoned, and covered by thick vegetation, and became a bushy area.  Broken motorcycles, PCs, air conditionings, etc were dumped in the hollow.  Habu snakes appeared at the dumpsite; therefore, the local people kept away from the river side.  

Mr. Sakugawa, who moved to this area 5 years ago, started cutting grass all by himself.  The local residents joined him one by one, and finally they established a society of reviving the river.  The present number of member is about 20, and as NPO Chibugaara River Preservation Association, they do cleaning activity in watershed areas every 2nd and 4th Saturdays.   

When it was cleaned up, nobody threw garbage any more, and no habu snakes appeared.

About 3 years ago, they received 20 okurareruka from Kijoka, Ogimi Village, which is famous for cultivation of the flower, okurareruka, and started planting around the clear river.  Now they increased as many as 2000. 

In order to share the beauty of spring with the local people as well as many visitors, they held “The 1st Okurareruka Festival.”

The festival was over, but it is the best time to view the flowers, so please visit their handmade, heartwarming flower-viewing spot.

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer  Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA)

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