The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia
A spring celebration of the culture, craft and cuisine of Japan
April 2-13, 2014
Whether it’s enjoying the fragile pink blossoms of 1,000 cherry trees, listening to the thundering beat of a giant Taiko drum, creating origami masterpieces or honing your sushi-making skills, the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia is the place to celebrate all things Japanese.
The centuries-old tradition of Sakura Matsuri, or Cherry Blossom Festival, takes place throughout Philadelphia and includes ceremonial drumming, martial arts exhibitions, a traditional tea ceremony, origami demonstrations, Japanese movies and a special sushi-making presentation, which features nationally recognized master sushi chefs from Japan.
Most events are free and offer something for every age to enjoy.
The Festival continues a legacy established in 1926 when the Japanese government donated cherry trees to Philadelphia in honor of the Sesquicentennial of American Independence.
The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival features more than 50 events including culinary demonstrations, workshops, film screenings, live performances and more. Read on for a few of our festival highlights.
• Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival Karaoke Kick-Off: The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival starts on a sweet note as Yakitori Boy hosts an evening of karaoke for interested festival-goers. Get in the spring spirit with sushi, yakitori, drinks and plenty of karaoke from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $30 for Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia members and $35 for non-members. Tickets are available at the door.
When: Wednesday, April 2, 7-10 p.m.
Where: Yakitori Boy, 211 N. 11th Street
Cost: $30 for JASGP members, $35 for non-members
• Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance Troupe: An internationally touring Tokyo-based troupe, the Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance Troupe returns to Philadelphia for six performances throughout the Cherry Blossom Festival. See the traditional Japanese folk dance, percussion and elaborate costumes at venues in both Philadelphia and the suburbs. On Saturday, April 5, tickets are available to two shows at the Painted Bride Art Center, and all of the shows beyond Center City are free.
When: April 4-8
Where: Various locations, including The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street
Cost: Painted Bride show, $25 in advance; others, free
• Cherry Blossom 5K: A day before Sakura Sunday events get started, the Cherry Blossom 5K kicks off the weekend at 7 a.m. for a fundraising run against the backdrop of blooming Japanese cherry trees at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center. Register online for this feel-good spring run.
When: Saturday, April 12, 7 a.m.
Where: Horticulture Center, Fairmount Park
Cost: $20 JASGP members; $25 non-members; $30 on-site
• Sakura Sunday: Come Sunday, April 13, the centerpiece of the festival unfolds with the day-long Japanese culture extravaganza Sakura Sunday. This celebration of all things Japanese includes a ton of activities in Fairmount Park — from live music and dance performances, to martial arts demonstrations and karaoke. Look out for highlights like the Harajuku Fashion Show, tours of Shofuso Japanese garden house and the Subaru Sushi Samurai of the Year Competition.
When: Sunday, April 13, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Horticulture Center, Fairmount Park
Cost: $10, adults; free, children 12 and under
Best Blooms Map
Cherry blossoms are around a notoriously brief time, so it’s best to get out and see them while you can. Click the button below for the best places to see the blooming blossoms in Fairmount Park.
Cherry blossoms have deep significance in Japanese culture and are a traditional motif in art, literature and cuisine. As Japan’s national flower it is sometimes offered as a symbol of friendship to other nations. In traditional Japan the time of ohanami, or viewing of the ephemeral cherry blossoms, was said to remind one of the paradoxically fleeting yet enduring nature of life.
Cherry trees beautify the city landscape, improve our air and water quality, absorb pollutants and provide numerous other environmental benefits. You can sponsor the purchase and planting of a new cherry tree through the Japanese Society of Greater Philadelphia.