62nd Izu Oshima Camellia Festival
29 January – 26 March 2017
Izu Oshima Island
A volcanic island with a mild climate, Izu Oshima is located less than two hours away by boat from Tokyo, at 100 km south of the metropolis (25 km southeast of the Izu Peninsula). Every year, “Izu Oshima Tsubaki Festival” is held on the island during the blossoming season of tsubaki (Japanese camellias), for two months from the end of January.
Pretty, exotic and elegant, camellia flowers start blossoming in January. They continue to bloom until the beginning of April, when the island’s native cherry trees (Oshima-zakura) also go into full bloom. A great many kinds of camellias, ranging from the native species to horticultural varieties, can be seen here-and-there on the island. Major sites include camelia gardens (Tokyo Metropolitan Oshima Park and other reputed gardens) and “Tsubaki Tunnel”, which is a stretch of 100 meters of road lined with camellia trees, which looks like a tunnel made of branches.
During the festival period of about two months, Camellia Plaza and stalls will be open. You can also rent, for free, a kimono costume of “anko” (a dialect meaning a young woman) for your selfies.
Several events will take place on weekends, including “Edo Mikoshi” and “Anko Parade” (29 January), “Camellia Queen Contest” (4 February) and “Night Festival” (3 February – 19 March). For the fit, marathon races will be held for the joy of running, while feeling the sky, the sea and the spring air with a hint of camellia flowers (February 12 and March 26).
To Izu Oshima, it is easy to make a one-day trip from Tokyo. Other than for the festival, the island is also an ideal place to recharge yourself and explore natural wonders. You won’t want to miss the scenic views of the island designated as a geopark (Mount Fuji seen from the shore, the volcano Mt. Mihara and Urasabaku desert…). The island offers activities such as onsen (hot springs), hiking and cycling, diving and fishing, shopping for local products including the renowned camellia oil, culture experiences, tasting local dishes like bekko-zushi and soba noodles with “ashitaba” leaves…
As a bonus, travel to the island will cost you less during the festival. The fees for transportation, accommodation or a package tour to the island will be reduced thanks to the subsidies provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (conditions apply). One more reason to take a long weekend to refresh your body and mind, celebrating spring, on Oshima Island.
High-speed passenger vessel “Seven-Island Tairyo”
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