Now celebrating its 47th year, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is one of California's most prominent celebrations of Asian traditions. Each year, more than 200,000 people attend this dazzling display showcasing the color and grace of the Japanese culture and the diversity of the Japanese-American community.
Taking place over two weekends, the event includes a street fair in San Francisco's Japantown featuring cultural performances, martial arts, live bands, the annual Queen Program, exhibits and demonstrations of ikebana (flower arranging), sumi-e (brush/ink painting), calligraphy, bonsai (tree dwarfing), origami, and doll-making.
Guests also enjoy Japanese traditional arts and crafts demonstrations and exhibits in the Japan Center, including flower arrangements, brush/ink painting, bonsai, origami, and doll-making.
On April 12, the festival presents the Cherry Blossom Grand Parade, featuring dozens of floats and more than 1,500 costumed participants from both the Bay Area and Japan, including marching bands, traditional Japanese musicians, kimono-clad dancers, and a mikoshi -- a portable shrine carried on the shoulders of a 100-person contingent. The two-hour-long parade starts at San Francisco City Hall at 1 p.m. and continues to Post and Fillmore Streets in Japantown.
This year's festival will run two weekends: April 11-12 and April 18-19.
Japantown, at Post and Buchanan streets
Stay at one of our three hostels in San Francisco.