Oitomi is a town in Ayabe City in the north of Kyoto Prefecture, where there's a forest with dense fields of oriental paperbush (mitsumata) and fringed iris (shaga, Iris Japonica) flowers. These fields were discovered in 2015 by a photographer, and are a rare and beautiful sight. From the end of March to mid-April a sea of oriental paperbush flowers bloom and cover about 1.5 hectares of land. Oriental paperbush is a deciduous shrub that grows 1-2 meters tall, with little scented yellow flowers which are made up of four sepals with no petals, and a fibrous bark that has historically been used as material for washi (Japanese paper) and paper money. From the end of April until mid-May, after the oriental paperbush season, the mysterious-looking, snow white fringed iris bloom and cover the forest floor. In some parts of the forest, there's also a 400 meter-long "corridor of irises." The flowers are short-lived and last just a single day, but every day new flowers bloom to replace them. During the flowering season from the end of March to mid-May, you can also find local goods, tea, coffee, and sweet red bean-based soup at the Hanayadori rest area, which is open on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.. While you don't need to hike to see the flowers, the forest is not paved please make your visit in shoes you don't mind dirtying.
- 0773-42-9550 (Ayabe Tourism Association)
*Reception for reservations of sightseeing buses is also available.
- Zainaka, Oitomi Cho, Ayabe City, Kyoto Prefecture
- Car: From the Yamake Intersection on National Route 27, enter Prefectural Road 1 and go straight to the border of Fukui Prefecture.
- Business Hours
- Bloom peak: End of March to mid-April (Oriental Paperbush), end of April to mid-May (Fringed Iris)
*Weather conditions may shift the peak bloom earlier or later. Please inquire for blooming conditions.
Sightseeing buses (space for 1, advance reseration required), microbuses, mid-sized vehicles 1,000 yen, large vehicles 2,000 yen