Okinawa’s Azalea Festival returns March 1-21

Photos courtesy of Higashi-son Tsutsuji Matsuri Jikkou Iinkai
Photos courtesy of Higashi-son Tsutsuji Matsuri Jikkou Iinkai

Okinawa’s Azalea Festival returns March 1-21

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

Though February may be one of the coldest on the island, once it’s over, Okinawa’s colorful flowers bloom and herald the arrival of spring.

Another signal of the new season are flower festivals. This year, the azaleas will be on display in Higashi-son at Tsutsuji Matsuri, or Azalea Festival, from March 1 through March 21.

Higashi-son is about a 40-minute drive from Camp Schwab and 90 minutes from Camp Foster. This beautiful northeastern municipality is known as the “Village of Flowers, Water and Pineapples.” Every year about 50,000 azaleas bloom there drawing around 40,000 visitors, according to the village office.

The venue boasts a superb view of the east coast and area forests. Take a walk and enjoy the colorful azaleas against the backdrop of vibrant blue and green.

While you’re visiting the flower park, don’t forget to explore other sites which make this “village of the east” a great place for some adventure.

Stop at Hirugi Park, only a 10-minute drive away, which offers a boardwalk through a forest of Rhizophoraceae mangrove trees.

Matayoshi Coffee Farm is another attraction that is less than a 10-minute drive away. This farm has fun activities including harvesting coffee beans, ziplines and ATV rides.

This side of the island is known for its calm, relaxed and quiet nature. But, every spring Higashi-son’s beautiful flowers create a lot of buzz and draw in many visitors. The season is a great time to check out what the “Village of Flowers, Water and Pineapples” has to offer!

Higashi-son Tsutsuji Matsuri (Higashi Village Azalea Festival)
Location: Higashison Min no Mori Tsutsuji en (Azalea Park in Higashi villagers’ Forest)
GPS: N 26.639615, E 128.159249
Dates: Mar. 1 – 21
Time: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (last admission at 4 p.m.)
Admission: 300 yen (approx. $2.63) for high school students and above; free for middle school students and below
* Free Parking

Hirugi Park
GPS Coordinates: N 26.604014, E 128.144789
* Free Parking

Matayoshi Coffee Farm
GPS Coordinates: N 26.609960, E 128.143926
Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (9:30 a.m. – on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays)
* Free Parking

Zipline ride costs 4,500 yen for 16 years old and above, 3,500 yen for 15 years old and below.
Tell: 0980-43-2666

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