Shobu-en Iris Festival in Yokosuka, Japan

If you live in Japan you experience the rhythm of life that revolves around festivals. Japan celebrates a lot of festivals, many having to do with nature, that occur at the same time every year. There are festivals when cherry trees are in bloom, when wisteria is blooming, when sunflowers are in bloom. There are festivals for fertility, for fire walking, for snow and for obon (an annual Buddhist event for commemorating ancestors), just to name a few.

Every June, Shobu-en Iris Garden in Yokosuka holds a festival when over 140,000 irises are in bloom.

After entering the garden we walked around admiring the flowers and checking out the people who were dressed for the dancing that would take place later. Musical performances included taiko drummers.

Iris garden
Iris festival
Iris festival
Taiko drummer

The fields of flowers were incredible and were tended by women dressed in traditional field worker attire. They wore amigasa hats, a very practical option for keeping the sun off of your face.

Iris festival
Iris festival
Iris festival
Iris festival
Iris festival

In addition to the taiko drummers and other musical performances, there was a portion of the festival that included music and dancing around the wood boardwalk that criss crossed through the fields of irises. The public was encouraged to step in and dance with the ladies.

Iris festival
Iris festival
Iris festival
Iris festival

I found a youtube video of the music and dancing.

We tried to get Sam to go join the ladies as they were dancing, but he was being shy. He preferred to sit on the sidelines and enjoy the show.

Sam observing


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