2022.06.03Ayame Matsuri (Iris Festival) in Itako (潮来あやめまつり)

Every year for more than 70 years the local Ayame Matsuri (Iris Festival) is held on the banks of the Hitachitone river in Itako city in the northern Ibaraki. More than 1 million irises of 500 varieties bloom from the end of May to the late June, with their blooming peak around June, 10.

However, it is not only the fields of flowers against the backdrop of arch wooden bridges that delight visitors. During this festival, three times a week, you can see a traditional wooden sculling oar boat, passing with a real bride in exquisite wedding attire and her parents or close friends.

This custom dates back to the times when the whole city of Itako was covered by water channels which served as a means of transportation. Back then, after the wedding, the bride used to move to live in the bridegroom`s house, and that moving (by boat) became a solemn tradition, which is honored even now, during Ayame Festival. After boat, the bride joins the groom waiting her in a rickshaw. Newlyweds from all over Japan can apply for participation in this traditional boat procession. However, spots are limited, only around 30 couples get their chance every year.

Enjoy Ayame Matsuri, comprising flower viewing and local traditions.


Ayame Matsuri (Iris Festival) in Itako (潮来あやめまつり)

When: until Sun, 6/19 (blooming peak is around 10th of June)
Where: Suigo Itako Ayame Gardens 1-chome-5 Ayame, Itako, Ibaraki
Fee: no entrance fee