Sagaribana サガリバナ are a type of powderpuff tree, also called Barringtonia racemosa. The trees bloom during nighttime from late June and into July in Okinawa; each little bloom lasts for only 1 night before falling to the ground in the morning. There are a few locations to spot these. One is in the town next mine, Nishihara 西原町!
Most people recommend to look for them ~8:30pm when they are in full bloom. In Nishihara town within the Kadekaru neighborhood (嘉手苅), there is a small park where many of these trees can be found, and some of the surrounding houses have them in their yards. This tree is a protected tree in Nishihara and is the symbol on the Nishihara town manhole covers. They are called Sawafuji サワフジ and are located at the Uchima Udun (a residence site where the Ryukyu king Sho En lived for 15 years before he came to the throne).
In Shuri, the trees are “kiifuji” キーフジ as they were known in the Ryukyu Kingdom era. They were highly prized trees for their unique blooms.
The first time unfortunately, as I did not exactly plan my evening walk properly, I arrived way too early (both time of evening and in the month) to see the full blooms. Since then, I have made various trips to Nishihara and Shuri areas. And I am not a photographer or have a nice camera… but the flowers are gorgeous!
Other known places to view Sagaribana are near Shuri (Sueyoshi Park and Sakiyama area), Zanpa (Yomitan), Naha, and Nago (Haneji/Makiya); you can also spot these on some of the outer islands, such as Miyako-jima and Ishigaki-jima.
Of the locations I have visited, probably the Sakiyama road area in front of the Zuisen Awamori distillery in Shuri is probably one of the best, especially during the “light-up” weekend. Otherwise I hear Nago is great as well. But to be honest, I sort of just like the small neighborhood park in Nishihara. Unless an area is having a “light-up” event, I recommend bringing a flashlight so you can see the blooms nicely.
Location in Nishihara(Google coordinates): 26°13’37.8″N 127°46’04.4″E
Place on the map nearby: Okinawa Prefecture, Nakagami District, Nishihara, Kadekaru, 59