The 48th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, a previous grantee of the San Francisco Japantown Foundation, starts April 11-12 and continues on April 18-19 in San Francisco’s Japantown.
The free event expects to attract more than 200,000 people “showcasing the color and grace of the Japanese culture and the diversity of the Japanese American community.”
The festival offers food booths, cultural performances, martial arts, live bands, the annual Queen Program, and more. The Grand Parade will be held on Sunday, April 19, beginning at City Hall and concluding in Japantown.
1. Sakura 360 – Embodying the spirit of the “new Japan,” involving fashion, gaming, and anime that are currently trending in both America and Japan. This new area, sponsored by Japan Expo, will feature local cosplayers and performers, along with all kinds of contests and fabulous prizes to be won.
2. Hello Kitty Cafe Truck – This is the first time the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is making an appearance in the city, and it’s bringing lots of adorable desserts and pastries!
3. Pocky Truck by Glico – The Glico Pocky Truck will give away Pocky snacks on the first weekend, April 11 and 12.
4. Sapporo USA Beer Garden – Two beer gardens will serve crisp and refreshingly cold Sapporo Premium Beer. Must be 21 or older to be admitted to the beer gardens.
5. Social Media Lounge, Powered by New People – The festival’s Social Media Lounge on Post Street will be in front of New People. Stop by to play some games and win some awesome prizes, or watch interviews with local performers, DJs, and special guests.
6. The Japantown Mandala Exhibition and Art Installation by Suite J-Town, a First Voice Production – This new exhibition uses visual art, sound, video, and performance to convey the resilience and beauty of the Japantown community as it evolved over it’s 110-year history.
7. NCCBF Mobile App – The NCCBF app will soon be available for both iOS and Android devices.
8. New Dogwood Stamp – The USPS will announce a new commemorative stamp at the festival’s Opening Ceremony on April 11. This stamp will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. giving a gift of dogwood trees to Japan in 1915.
9. Miniyonku Club – Miniyonku, fun-sized 1/32 scale race cars, will make its first appearance at an open tournament on April 11, 12, and 18 from 10am-3:30pm.
10. Kendama USA – Kendama is a traditional Japanese ball-and-cup toy that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity in both America and Japan. The Consulate General of Japan is partnering with Kendama USA to present the first ever Northern California Kendama Championship – dubbed the “Sakura Classic”!
Learn more about these new attractions and more at sfcherryblossom.org.