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Not far from Camp Foster, Okinawa, there's a 10,000-square-meter piece of land filled with nearly 400,000 sunflowers.

Not far from Camp Foster, Okinawa, there's a 10,000-square-meter piece of land filled with nearly 400,000 sunflowers. (Jessica Bidwell/Stars and Stripe)

Not far from Camp Foster, Okinawa, there's a 10,000-square-meter piece of land filled with nearly 400,000 sunflowers.

Not far from Camp Foster, Okinawa, there's a 10,000-square-meter piece of land filled with nearly 400,000 sunflowers. (Jessica Bidwell/Stars and Stripe)

The annual Sunflower Festival in Okinawa, Japan, runs through Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, but the flowers will remain for visitors to view for another week.

The annual Sunflower Festival in Okinawa, Japan, runs through Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, but the flowers will remain for visitors to view for another week. (Jessica Bidwell/Stars and Stripe)

The annual Sunflower Festival in Kitanakagusuku, not far from Camp Foster, Okinawa, boasts nearly 400,000 sunflowers to brighten up winter days on the island.

The annual Sunflower Festival in Kitanakagusuku, not far from Camp Foster, Okinawa, boasts nearly 400,000 sunflowers to brighten up winter days on the island. (Jessica Bidwell/Stars and Stripe)

Folks on Okinawa don’t have to wait until spring to enjoy colorful blossoms.

The annual Sunflower Festival in Kitanakagusuku, not far from Camp Foster, boasts nearly 400,000 sunflowers to brighten up winter days on the island.

But the event, organized by the village in 2008 to boost tourism and commerce, features much more than yellow rows of brilliant blooms. On weekends, local farmers gather to offer fresh vegetables, flowers and simple dishes.

Designated paths are lined with carpet to ensure visitors do not step on the blooms or walk through mud. A platform in the center of the field offers visitors an elevated view of the perennials.

This year’s blossoms are about an eighth of their usual size, but the event is still attracting large crowds.

The festival ends on Sunday; however, the sunflowers will remain for visitors to view through Feb. 13.

bidwell.jessica@stripes.com

Sunflower Festival in Kitanakagusuku

DIRECTIONS

From Camp Foster’s Legion Gate, follow Route 81 to 329; take a left. Follow 329 for three blocks, and the sunflower fields will be on the left side.

TIMES

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily

COSTS

Free.

FOOD

Farmers sell fresh veggies and simple dishes on weekends.

INFORMATION

Call: 098-935-2233


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