Cherry blossoms to open in northern Okinawa

The stone path to Nakijin Castle in night illumination is a beautiful sight.

The 8th Nakijin Castle Cherry Blossom Festival is little more than a week away at the Nakijin Castle Remains in northwest Okinawa.

Night-time offers a different view.

The earliest cherry blossom festival of the season on Okinawa will take place at the Nakijin Castle site, which was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Shurijo Castle in 2002. The Nakijin Castle Remains are of comparable size to the Shuri Castle. Nakijin is one of the most popular, as well as earliest Kanhi cherry blossom sites in Okinawa.  Organizers will lighten up a row of cherry blossom trees at night so people can enjoy daytime and night-time fantastic views.   The festival is scheduled to have craft market and sell special local products along with cherry blossom event.

The “Tunnel of Cherry Blossoms.”

The Nakijin Castle Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off January 17th, and runs through February 1st.  The grounds are open to spectators 8 a.m. ~ 9 p.m., with last entry at 8:30 p.m.  Entry is ¥400 for adults, and ¥300 for high school, junior high and elementary school students.  Admission is free for pre-school kids and younger.

Festival opening ceremonies are the 17th, with photo sessions with Hokuzan King and Queen on the 17th, 18th, 24th, 25th, 31st and February 1st.  The Nakijin Village local products exhibition and sale will run the 18th, 24th, 25th, 31st and February 1st, while the craft market will be open daily during the festival.  Sakura tea serving, a free festival event, takes place daily.  Organizers will give tours around Nakijin historic sites on the 23rd, 24th and 25th.  Traditional Ryukyu attire dress-up experiences are offered the 18th, 24th, 25th, 31st and February 1st, while traditional performing art takes place Jan. 31st and Feb. 1st.

The ruins of Nakijin Castle were registered as a World Heritage site with eight other historical sites within the prefecture.  From the castle gate to the main enclosure, in the Nakijin ruins of a castle which residents are as proud of as the Shuri Castle in Naha, about 300 cherry trees stand in a single row.  The pink of the cherry trees look beautiful in the ramparts of the tasteful building blocks, the nocturnal view of cherry blossoms as lit, and the spectacle of the region.  Although the cherry blossoms at Nakijin Castle site blossom somewhat later than those on Yaedake, the festival starts on the same day.

More on the festival is at http://nakijinjo.jp/english/index.html