Coordinates to the Yogi Park Cherry Blossom Festival: 26.2084625, 127.6901788
I wanted to see cherry blossoms this year. It was one of my bucket list items. I’d wanted to go to the Nago Cherry Blossom Festival before Dane left, but there just wasn’t time. After he left I started pestering my friends to go to visit Mount Yaedake (which blooms late January to early February) or Shuri Castle (which blooms into mid-February), but again, my weekends just kept filling up.
Since we were both single for Valentine’s Day, I convinced Brette that nothing could be more romantic than taking her kids on a journey to find cherry blossoms with me. We started prepping them on Friday for our adventure the next day. “We are going to go see the cherry blossom trees!” We told her three year old excitedly. He didn’t seem to grasp what exactly would be so fun about going somewhere to look at trees (even if they were “covered in flowers”) but our excitement was contagious and he is always up for a good adventure. Her almost-one year old just seemed to be happy enough eating crackers, so that Saturday we loaded the car up with kids, snacks and a camera and went on a cherry blossom excursion.
We’d been asking around about the best place to see cherry blossoms so late in February and found out that there was a festival down in Yogi Park, so we looked it up and read on Okinawa Hai that some of the highlights include:
“…delicious food, games, rides, parades, folk music, concerts, folk dancers, flower displays, kimono shows, religious ceremonies and a beauty pageant.”
“A beauty pageant?!” Well duh! Of course we were heading south to Yogi Park!
The whole day was a blast. We didn’t see any kimono shows or beauty pageants, but that might have been because we were preoccupied with feeding. And I don’t just mean eating. I mean… feeding.
We had no idea what to expect from this little festival, but it did not disappoint! It was reminiscent of an American county fair (albeit a very small county). There was plenty of fried dough, frozen ice and food on a stick. Booths were set up to display handmade jewelry and pottery; and you could fill bags with local produce and honey. There was an enclosure of goats for the kids to feed, and for 500 yen (about $5.00) they could take a pony ride up and down the cherry blossom lined road.
One thing that did seem different from the States was- the games seemed almost rigged in our favor. Now, I am not saying that Cruise doesn’t have some natural athletic ability- I mean this is a Knaute kid we are talking about- but I’m still not sure how he walked away with a prize after throwing rings at a peg board.
The whole day was full of Babes and Blossoms for us. I just couldn’t stop snapping pictures of Cruise covering his mama with kisses.
Next year I am definitely looking forward to getting out a little bit earlier in the cherry blossom season to check out Mount Yaedake and Shuri Castle, but the Yogi Park Cherry Blossom Festival will probably remain on my list of must-dos for spring in Okinawa.
Coordinates to Yogi Park: 26.2084625, 127.6901788
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.
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