Don’t Miss This Year’s Cherry Blossom Festival

Each year, travelers from near and far come to New York City to experience one of the prettiest festivals of the year. Sakura Matsuri, commonly known as New York’s Cherry Blossom Festival, is the place to celebrate Japanese culture and the beauty of nature.

Here you’ll experience pink-petalled trees as far as the eye can see, while enjoying a wide range of activities and celebratory events.

Everything You Need to Know About This Spring’s Cherry Blossom Festival

Although the trees typically bloom in early April, the real festivities begin on April 27, 2019, from 12 p.m. until noon the following day (April 28, 2019).

Taking place at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, this annual festival features more than 60 performances and events, all of which celebrate contemporary and traditional Japanese culture. While enjoying the approximately 220 cherry trees in full bloom, you will also gain access to taiko drumming, bonsai-pruning workshops, J-pop concerts, tea ceremonies, and much more.

You may view a sample schedule based on last year’s events and activities here. Some of these featured events, activities, and performances, included:

  • Taiko drumming
  • Martial arts performances
  • A stunning fashion show featuring Japanese music
  • High-octane jazz, inspired by anime and video game themes
  • Various concerts and meditative ceremonies
  • Comic art by a Kyoto native
  • Tours and workshops, including an exceptional demonstration on giant origami
There are also plenty of activities for kids, making this the perfect festival for the whole family.

To gain access, you can either become a Botanic Garden member or buy tickets in advance.

Although the Sakura Matsuri Festival is the most popular and lavish cherry blossom event in New York City, you can also spot cherry blossoms at Central Park, at Randalls Island Park, on Roosevelt Island, at the New York Botanical Garden, and Riverside Park.

cherry blossom festival

Credit: Alon Adika / Shutterstock

The Inspiration Behind This Annual Festival

Around the world, Japan is known for its cherry blossom festivals. However, unlike the festival in New York, trees bloom at varying times throughout Japan.
The tradition of going to enjoy the blooming blossoms is known as hanami, which literally means “viewing flowers.” This tradition is believed to date back more than 1,000 years.
Today, the people of Japan use this blossom-viewing time as an opportunity to gather and picnic under the trees. Just like in New York City, the gorgeous blooming trees are the main attraction. However, they also enjoy a wide range of performances and ceremonies. This is also a popular time for vendors to sell their crafts and specialty foods.
Japanese Garden Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Credit: Shutterstock

What Else Is There to Do in the Surrounding Area?

If you plan on exploring Brooklyn, there is plenty to see and do within walking distance. For those who appreciate history and learning, the Brooklyn Museum is located beside the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Central Library is just two short blocks away. Take a stroll to Grand Army Plaza to visit the Farmers Market, which is there every Saturday.

If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, pop into Natural Blend, Banh Mi Place, or Lincoln Station. For a sit-down meal, stop by RIO Kitchen & Wine or Colala, which serves up Chinese and Japanese fare.

For more tips and ideas, also be sure to check out this guide

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