Sagaribana flowers bloom for only one sweet night
Sagaribana (Barringtonia racemosa) is a tree that grows in tropical and subtropical coastal areas from African east coast to the Ryukyu Archipelago and Polynesia. In South Africa it’s known as a Powder-puff tree because the brilliantly colored petals of its flowers look like bursts of fireworks in the sky.
The flowers can bloom only for a single night in the summer before falling off in the morning, but new buds appear one after another that replace those that have fallen off, so the season lasts for several weeks. The flowers also have sweet fragrance that enhances their attractiveness. During the Ryukyu Kingdom era, Sagaribana was called ‘Kifuji,’ and was treasured as a rare flower.
The Sagaribana blooming season is here. There are a few places, mostly in Shuri, where organized Sagaribana viewing events take place.
Baba Street, in Sakiyama Town in Shuri has two days dedicated Sagaribana viewing fest. The first is scheduled on Saturday, July 2nd, from 19:00 to 21:30, and the second on Sunday, July 3rd starting at 19:30. Admission for the mini-festival is free. Besides viewing the magically lighted-up flowers, visitors can enjoy live sanshin and ocarina music and traditional dance performances (Saturday only).
Sueyoshi Park in Shuri has a free Sagaribana viewing light up event from 19:30 to 21:30 a week later on July 9th and 10th. During the event, OEC Planning Co. is organizing a guided (Japanese) dinner and park walk tour, highlighted with Sagaribana and firefly viewing. The tour starts at 17:00 and ends at 20:30. The western-style dinner is at a local restaurant. The cost is ¥3,200 for persons over junior high school age. Elementary school children tickets are ¥2,000. Younger children above age three sharing dinner are ¥500. Babies and toddlers under three are free. Advance Reservation by 6th is required. Call 098-987-0356 (for English, Mon-Fri 9-18) or e-mail. For more details, see their website.
The Okinawa Environment Club (OEC) is organizing a guided (Japanese) Sagaribana viewing tour at Kokuba, Naha City this Saturday, June 25th. The hour-long tour commences at 20:00 and costs ¥300. During the tour, the guide will introduce Sagaribana and the village history. Booking before 24th 18:00 is required, as the number of participants is limited to 35 persons. Call 098-833-9493 or e-mail. Visit their website for maps.
Organizers advise visitors to the viewing events in Shuri to park their cars in parking areas in Naha, and use public transportation, such as the Yuirail monorail line, to get to the venue, as there are no parking spaces in the area.