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23/12/2022 By : Siddharth Vijay Jairaj

Looking forward to Okinawa's Cherry Blossom Season

Okinawa is gearing up for the cherry blossom season with a series of events and festivals to welcome visitors keen to witness the earliest showing of this magical display. Thanks to its subtropical climate, the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa enjoys the earliest blooming cherry blossoms in the whole of Japan with some seen as early as mid-January, and they do not only arrive earlier but have a unique vibrant pink colour, darker than the shades seen elsewhere in Japan.

The Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau highlights some of the events due to take place on the Okinawa Main Island in 2023:

Nakijin Cherry Blossom Festival (late January)

From the 21-29 January, the ancient ruins of Nakijin Castle become the backdrop of the weeklong festivities. The UNESCO-listed 13th century castle is the second largest in Okinawa with more than 1.5 kilometres of walls, which during the festival are illuminated allowing visitors to enjoy the cherry blossoms also at night. An array of traditional Ryukyu arts and performances take place all week. Further information about the event is available here.

Nago Cherry Blossom Festival (late January)

Held at the Nago Central Park, the Nago Cherry Blossom Festival is due to take place on January 28th and 29th. The highlight of this two-day event is the two-kilometre path lined with over 20,000 cherry blossom trees, a beautiful sight year-round, but extra special at this time of the year. This event also presents an opportunity for travellers to enjoy the traditional Okinawan dances of eisa and Ryukyu with performances scheduled to take place both days. Further details are available here.

Naha Chura Cherry Blossom Festival (early February)

In February, Manko Lake Park, in the capital Naha, will host a one-day event (date is to be confirmed) with traditional dance performances and local food stalls to welcome the blooms. The approx. 400 trees at the park are at full bloom all month so visitors can celebrate their very own cherry blossom festival throughout February. The well-known Kokusai-dori Street is walking distance from the park and offers a 1.6-kilometre stretch of stores, restaurants, bars and sightseeing options to enjoy before and/or after taking a relaxing stroll at the park. Further details about the event are available here.

Additionally, from January to May, Okinawa also sees the bloom of a myriad of many other flowers and celebrates the Okinawa Flower Carnival, which takes place in different shapes and forms throughout the prefecture with highlights including the Higashi Village Azalea Festival, the Ie Island Lily Festival, and the Okinawa Bougainvillea Fair.

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