Two days after arriving in Okinawa I went to the Nago Castle Park (Sakura) Cherry Blossom Festival. I was jet lagged, in culture shock, and overwhelmed. Luckily, I didn’t get scared away and now the cherry blossom festivals are something I look forward to every year! The cherry blossom season actually starts in Okinawa and then travel north through mainland Japan and then into Korea. It’s a beautiful time of year throughout Asia.
One of the bigger events is at Nago Castle Park where the street food is just as enticing as the trees. The festival is typically held the last Saturday and Sunday of January, and since they base it on a time of year, the trees may not be in full bloom. Luckily, the area itself and the delicious food help create a fun event.
Street parking is the only option so plan on arriving early or spending a little time looking for a spot. Make sure that you pay attention to all signs and avoid “no parking” areas. Also, bring plenty of yen for foods such as my personal favorites yakisoba and yakitori! If you plan on exploring the area to look for blossoming trees there are A LOT of stair to climb, so where comfortable shoes and prepare yourself mentally.
Because the festival is held the same week each year, the trees may not be in full bloom so keep your eyes open on the drive up, and if you have time, add some of the other festivals to your trip.