Azaela flowers

Azaela (Photo Courtesy of photoAC)

With the cherry blossom season coming to an end, it’s Azaela’s turn to celebrate the early arrival of spring in Okinawa.

Through March 20, Tsutsuji Matsuri, or Azalea Festival, will take place at Higashi-son’s Azalea Park.

Higashi-son is about a 40-minute drive from Camp Schwab and 90 minutes from Camp Foster.  The northeastern village is best known for its hirugi trees, traditional craft of bingata cloth-dyeing, and delicious pineapples. In the spring, however, it is impossible to ignore the colorful bunches of azaleas that bloom there every year.

This is the Azalea Festival’s 42nd installment and it is sure to draw a crowd looking to enjoy the park’s blooms, the festival food vendors and live performances.

The village itself has many other attractions that make it a great place to spend the day exploring.

Hirugi Park, a 10-minute drive from Azalea Park, offers a boardwalk to stroll through a forest of Rhizophoraceae mangrove trees.

Nearby, Matayoshi Coffee Farm has a coffee bean harvesting experience, a zipline course and ATV rides.

Compared to the villages on the west coast, which are home to the many hotel resorts, Higashi-son maintains a quiet, chill island vibe. But, come spring, that changes as locals and tourists want to get out and enjoy the azaleas and other seasonal flowers.

Don’t miss the festival and all the activities Higashi-son has in store for spring!

Azalea Festival flyer

Azalea Festival (Kadena ITT tour)

Higashi-son Tsutsuji Matsuri (Higashi Village Azalea Festival)

Location: Higashison Min no Mori Tsutsuji en (Azalea Park in Higashi villagers’ Forest)

GPS: N 26.637316, E 128.156506

Dates: Until Mar. 20

Time: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (last admission at 4 p.m.)

Admission: 300 yen (approx. $2) for high school students and above; free for middle school students and below

* Free Parking

Tour by Kadena ITT

Date: March 9 and 10 (Sat and Sun)

Time: 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Fees: $28 for adults, $19 for ages 6 and 15, $6 for infants

For more info, check out Kadena ITT at the website and Facebook.

Hirugi Park

GPS Coordinates: N 26.604012, E 128.144792

* Free Parking

Matayoshi Coffee Farm

GPS Coordinates: N 26.60990, E 128.14384

Hours (coffee farm): 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (9:30 a.m. – on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays)

*Hours for zipline and ATV can be different from the above.

* Free Parking

Zipline ride costs 5,500 yen for 16 years old and above, 4,500 yen for 15 years old and below.

For more details and reservation check out the link below.

Website (for zipline and ATV)

Website (coffee farm)

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