Lily Festival attracts thousands with million flowers
Ie Island off the northwestern coast of Motobu on the Okinawa main island is well known for its annual lily festival that showcases more than one million Easter Lilies that bloom on its Lily Field Park on the west coast of the island just outside of Ie Village. This year the festival runs from Apr. 23rd through May 5th. Besides the while Easter Lilies, the fields now grow about 90 varieties of lilies in every imaginable color.
Ie Island is a tiny community of about 5,000 permanent residents, but during the Lily Festival thousands visitor descend on the island to enjoy the sweet fragrance and beauty of the flowers. The island has lately been in the news as the local village government, in order to boost the shrinking population of the faming community, recently made a decision to give a very generous subsidy to resident couples to have more than two children.
During the festival, on weekends and national holidays, there is live entertainment on a stage set at the Lily Park. Fireworks is also scheduled for the first day of the festival, Apr. 23, at 20:00. Booths selling food and drinks are also lining the Lily Field.
It takes about one and half hour by car from Naha to Motobu Port and another 30-minute ferry ride to reach Ie island. The ferry schedule changes depending on the day, as the ferry makes four to eight round trips each day.. The daily schedule and fares are on Ie Village’s English language website. Please note that the ferry can be full to the capacity during the festival, and one may have to wait for the next ride before getting on. However, tickets to the ferry can be purchased and reserved on line through the website above.
A bus costing ¥250 for adults and ¥100 for kids runs between the ferry port on Ie Island and the Lily Park during the festival. The bus timetables are posted at the port and at the park. Make sure to check for the return time to catch the ferry in time.