Third Time’s the Charm: An Iris Princess Again

The Itako Iris Festival is on from today (May 25th) to June 29th. I’m only there on Sundays, but I have the honor and pleasure of serving with 15 other Iris Princesses this year who will be there more often than me. The Iris Princesses are at the park on Saturdays and Sundays from 8-5.

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I am waaaaaaay in the back

Today was the perfect start to the festival. The weather was nice with the sun hitting the iris flowers just right, making them really vibrant. There are over one million of about 500 different kinds of purple, yellow, and white iris flowers at the park.

This festival has been around since 1952, when iris-lovers placed cut iris flowers in beer bottles as decorations in for the festival. Until 1955, the Itako area was built upon a system of canals. For that reason, when a new bride and/or her goods were to be transported to her new home (the husband’s family home) it was done using a Sappa boat. These traditional boats are still used in Itako as tourist attractions. People can ride in the boats and enjoy the beautiful scenery as they travel up and down the rivers.

And to this day, the Bridal Boat (Yome-iri Fune) wedding send of ceremony is performed with a bride at the Iris Park. After arriving at the ‘Itako Bride’ memorial, the bride will walk along the pathway to the boat with her matchmaker and the boatman, then the boat will set off. Often the groom will be waiting at the Wai-Wai Fantasy dock.

The other Iris Ladies and I spent all day posing for pictures and helping people find their way around our little town. I even helped out a few foreigners that came to the park, which has never happened on the first day before.

The park this year is selling some cute straps and plush goods, which they didn’t do last last year. I want them all!

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The mini Ayame-chan character strap

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The big plush Ayame-chan

On the weekends is the Iris Bride send off event. That’s at 11:00, 14:00, and 19:00 (but times are subject to change). There are several events during the festival, such as traditional Japanese dancing and mochi making. We’ve also got boat rides up and down the river that are quite fun.

 

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By the way, the park is (semi) famous! It was featured on a recent Japanese suspense/ thriller drama on Fuji TV. They actually came to the city and filmed parts of it right here in Itako. Isn’t that cool?! I got to watch it tonight. It was kind of awesome to watch it and go, “Oh my God! I’ve been there!” I thought it was particularly cool because someone was even murdered in a river that I’ve been to (television murder, not real life, obviously).

It’s easy to get to Itako via the Kashima-Orai Line from Mito or the Suigo-Itako Bus from Tokyo station. If you’ve got the time, please come on down!

Ayame Matsuri (あやめ祭) 2013! START!

Once again, I’ve signed up to be an Iris Princess for the Iris Festival in Itako. The Iris Festival starts this weekend on May 18th and will go on until June 23rd.

It’s a beautifully romantic event, especially at night with the lantern lights and candles. During the day, there are boat tours available. They can be intimate rides with just you and your special someone, or they can be party boats for you and your friends. Nearby in Kashima, there’s the Kashima Soccer Stadium which features the Kashima Antlers soccer games.

Please come and enjoy!

もう一度、私は潮来市内のあやめ娘です。あやめ祭が5月18日から6月23日までです。

それはランタンライトとキャンドルで特に夜間美しくロマンチックなイベントです。日中は、使用可能なボートツアーがあります。彼らはあなたとあなたの特別な人だけとの親密な乗り物であることも、彼らはあなたとあなたの友人のためのパーティーボートすることができます。鹿島に近く、鹿島アントラーズサッカーゲームを提供しています鹿島サッカースタジアムがあります。

来て、楽しんでください!

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