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Awaken Your Senses at Dawn: Unveiling the Early Treasures of the Iriya Morning Glory Festival



2023.06.22 (Thu)

By Dan Lewis, inbound tourism adviser and consultant, long-term Japan resident & outdoor activity enthusiast.

Are you an early riser and looking for some natural beauty? Come see the splendor at the Iriya Morning Glory Festival, the largest morning glory market in Japan!

Iriya has a rich history with morning glories, which have flourished as a beloved summer tradition since the Edo period. Despite a brief hiatus during the Taisho era, their resplendent beauty was revived in 1948 after World War II. The revival of the morning glory market not only reinstated this cherished cultural tradition but also served as a symbol of resilience and hope. Today, these captivating flowers continue to captivate hearts and minds, especially among Japanese elementary school students who enthusiastically engage with them as educational tools during science lessons.

Held annually from July 6 to 8, the festival takes place at Iriya Kishimojin and Kototoi Street, where you'll find 40 morning glory vendors and 96 stalls during the fair days. It's a lively event that attracts about 400,000 people each year.

The festival begins bright and early at 5:00 am. It's a truly magical sight to watch the morning glories bloom with the sunrise. With large crowds every year, it's best to visit in the morning if you want to take your time and admire the beautiful blossoms.

Another highlight of the festival is the much-anticipated pedestrian paradise, during which time, the festival streets become a vehicle-free haven, allowing visitors to freely explore and indulge in the vibrant atmosphere. This year, the pedestrian paradise will take place on Thursday, July 6, and Friday, July 7, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and on Saturday, July 8, from 12:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Be sure to join in when the festival comes alive in a whole new way when the streets are closed to traffic!

But if you can't make it early in the morning, don't worry - you can still enjoy the enchanting sight of Edo-style lanterns illuminating the festival grounds at night. Passed down since the Edo period, these lanterns are dedicated to Kishimojin, the goddess of childbirth and child-rearing. They add a touch of elegance and create a captivating atmosphere that offers a unique experience even after the morning glory festivities.

So don’t be a late bloomer! Arrive early to make the most of the Iriya Morning Glory Festival! In addition to enjoying the flowers, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the market, enjoy the delicious food stalls and soak up the vibrant atmosphere! Don’t miss it!

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