2024.06.0473rd Ayame Matsuri 2024 (Iris Festival) in Suigo-Itako Iris Garden, Itako

Every year for more than 70 years, the local Ayame Matsuri (Iris Festival) has been held on the banks of the Hitachitone River in Itako city in northern Ibaraki. More than 1 million irises of 500 varieties bloom from the end of May to late June, with the peak blooming around June 10. This year, the official season of iris blooms is from May 17 to June 16.

However, it is not only the picturesque fields of flowers against the backdrop of arch wooden bridges that delight visitors. During this festival, on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, a traditional wooden sculling oar boat with a real bride in exquisite wedding attire and her parents or close friends passes by the river along the iris garden. After the boat ride, the bride joins the groom, and they continue their journey together on a rickshaw through the historic streets of Itako.

The custom dates back to when the whole city of Itako was covered by water channels that served as a means of transportation. Back then, after the wedding, the bride used to move to the bridegroom’s house by boat. It was a solemn tradition that is still honored today during the Ayame Festival.

Today, newlyweds from all over Japan can apply for participation in this boat procession, but the spots are limited; each year only around 30 couples get their chance.

Ayame Matsuri is a beautiful festival allowing visitors to enjoy both the beauty of irises in bloom and local traditions.


May 17 – June 16, 2024


Suigo-Itako Iris Garden
1-5 Ayame, Itako, Ibaraki


Free of charge

About Ayame Matsuri (Japanese)