Recommendation for your outing during the GW! This year again, of course, “Iejima Lily Festival”
post : 2015.05.02 19:00
Among the large-scale events during the Golden Week in Okinawa, I would highly recommend “Iejima Lily Festival.” Over one million lilies bloom at Lily Field Park on Ie-jima Island, the venue of the festival. On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays during the festival, there are many events to entertain everyone.
This is the biggest tourism event on Ie Island, so additional ferry services will operate to carry huge crowds of visitors to Ie Island.
The festival celebrates its 20th anniversary, and the yuru chara* of Ie Island “Tacchun” appears for the first time!
*yuru chara are anime-style cartoon mascots that represent the various prefectures of Japan.
“Tacchun” puts on a hat shaped like Iejima Tacchu (also called “Gusuku Yama”) with lily decoration, wears jiimaamii (peanut), which is a specialty product of Ie Island, and holds island shallots on his back.
He became very popular among children already, and was surrounded by “uumakuu (high-spirited kids) who went up on the stage.
Highlights of events on weekends and holidays during the festival period are different according to the day. Among all, traditional songs and dances got a lot of attention.
Ie Island, which is a 30-minute ferry ride from the mainland Okinawa, is not far, but the island has a number of performing arts that mainland Okinawa does not. And on top of that, each community has its own performing dances and songs. Also footwork and hand gestures that cannot be seen in Ryukyu Dance are unique, so please watch the following videos.
Usually adults, including young people give performances, but for this festival, the local children perform with heart and soul. At school, the fifth grade students start learning the traditional performing arts, experience performing on the stage for school plays several times, and their final big stage will be the venue at the Lily Festival. That’s how the tradition passes on.
The first footage is “Shitina-bushi.” You can never find performers wearing black hoods in any other places in Okinawa.
The second footage shows the shortest performance in the world called “Jyuni,” so please enjoy them! (If you become interested in the performances, please come to Ie Island!)
In addition to traditional performing arts, you can enjoy stage live shows by artists who are active in Okinawa. When I visited there, the live performance by Suguru Ikeda san, who is from Funauki, Iriomote Island, was held.
“When I was a child, I was a grandma’s boy. I feel as if everybody on the island had reared me.” As he talked about his home island, he wholeheartedly sang his pet song, “Shima no Hito yo (Oh, the people from my home island).” His singing performance won the heart of the people also live on an island.
Before long the sun was setting, and white lily flowers was colored with sunset orange. It was very romantic to wee the flower filed at evening twilight.
By the time stage events finished, it was all dark around me. At night, I smelt the scent of lilies much stronger. Actually, lilies produce stronger scent at night.
When I was feeling the night wind, I really enjoyed very beautiful lilies under the moonlight.
In order to get to Ie Island, you can take a ferry, which is only a 30 minute ride from Motobu Port. Round-trip ferry fare is 1,370 yen for adults and is 690 yen for children. Admission to the festival is free.
Why don’t you take this opportunity to sightsee Ie Island?
“Iejima Lily Festival”
Festival Period: Saturday, April 18 to Wednesday, May 6
Venue: Lily Field Park, Iejima Island
The 20th Iejima Lily Festival Official Website:
・Iejima Lily Festival last year
・A Magical Inn on the Foot of Iejima Tacchu “casa VIENTO”
・“ninufa” A Pretty Sundries Store on Ie Island
Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA)