Itako’s 61st Annual Ayame (Iris) Festival

Period: Late May until the last Sunday in June

Location: Maekawa Ayame Park (main area)

This festival’s history goes back to 1952, when it was conducted by iris-lovers placing the cut flowers in beer bottles as decorations.

Within the park there are over 10 000 irises in roughly 500 varieties, and when they reach their peak blooming point the whole area is lit up with them. In previous years the best viewing day was June 10th.

Furthermore, there are many local events being held during the festival, such as the Bridal Boats, Iris Dancing, and much more.

 

Bridal Boats:

Up until the land reclamation operations conducted as part of local development in the first half of 1955, the Itako area was built upon a system of canals. For that reason, when a new bride and/or her goods were to be transported to her new home (the husband’s family home) it was done using a Sappa boat, which is where the term Bridal Boat comes from.

The Bridal Boats during the Ayame Festival will be operating along the Maekawa river within Ayame Park. First, after having arrived at the ‘Itako Bride’ memorial, the bride will walk along the pathway to the boat with her matchmaker and the boatman, then the boat will set off. Often the groom will be waiting at the dock of the destination and it will be a very celebratory mood. (may be cancelled due to weather)

Every Wednesday starting at 11am, Saturdays at 11am, 2pm, and 8pm, Sundays at 11am and 2pm (may change due to circumstances of the couple)

 

Other events include different kinds of dance performances, sailing demonstrations, an iris-growers exhibition, and more, mainly held on Saturdays during the festival period.

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