Sunday, 9 June 2013

June Bride on the Kashima Line

EMU JR East 257-500 series, "Ayame", heads to Itako City on the Kashima Line

In June, the bells perhaps ring nonstop in churches in Western countries. The girls in the West must dream of being a June bride. But, it doesn't necessarily apply in Japan, as June is a hot and humid rainy season here. It is not suitable for a wedding ceremony or party in general. The only exception is Suigo (the water country) in the eastern part of the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Suigo lies astride the prefectures of Ibaraki and Chiba. Being surrounded by large rivers and lakes, it is known as the water country. The small rowboat has been a means of transportation for local people since medieval times. Suigo is also known for iris flowers in June. We can view colorful blossoms in the glade. It is the most gorgeous season of the year in Suigo.

In June, the bride in Suigo embarks the small wedding boat and marries into her bridegroom's home (see the following photo). The full blown iris adds grace to the traditional ceremony. Today, the wedding boat is one of the most popular events in Suigo.

To get to this traditional water country, take the JR East Kashima Line and get off at Itako Station. It takes about two hours from downtown Tokyo by limited express "Ayame (iris)" (see the top photo). You will find a beautiful iris garden only a few minutes' walk from the station. The dock of the wedding boat is also located near the iris garden.

Boardng a wedding boat, the June bride marries into her bridegroom's home in Itako City