On Saturday April 14th along with the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade you can catch the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival! The Festival will take place at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW from 11:00am to 6:00pm. The Sakura Matsuri is being held in a 6 block radius that will include entertainment, food and shopping!!
The entertainment will include many artists from Japan including the Tamagawa University’s taiko group, samurai performers from New York, bon-adori dancers from Yokahoma and Orientarytythm a hip-hop martial art group. Special guests include NASCAR driver Akinori Ogata, Sataoshi Furudawa, a Japanese astronaut, the Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and court, Maki Kaji known as the “Godfather of Sudoku” and a special group of students from Fukushima who will perform as a taiko group (drumming group). These 13 students were evacuated from their homes during the tsunami and nuclear disaster of March 2011!
A favorite for all is the ‘Taste of Japan”! The Taste is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company and will feature 25 Japanese and Asian restaurants. Another favorite is the Hakutsuru Sake Tasting Pavilion and the Kirin Beer Gardens!!
Shopping, a favorite to many, will also be available. Check out the Japan Now and Ginza Marketplace areas. You will find things such as handcrafted cherry blossom jewelry to Koksheshi dolls. There will also be many Kimono merchants. For the young at heart several vendors will be carrying anime products along with toys and trading fugurines.
A must see is the Arts and Culture section. Here you will be able to view Japanese woodworking, learn haiku, see how washi paper is turned into beads and used as jewlry and learn how to properly care for Bonsai. You will also be able to learn about the Japanese culture such as how to say prayers of thanks and shinto dancing. ” Heart for Japan” will be creating t-shirts and greeting cards in the Ezome tradition with the proceeds going to schools affected by the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.
The cost to attend the Sakuri Matsuri is $5.00 and children under 12 are free. You can purchase tickets at Sakuri Matsuri tickets. When you arrive the festival pick up an official program at one of the three information booths sponsored by the Washington Examiner.
The Japan-American Society of Washington D.C. sponsors this event in the hopes of promoting a better understanding of Japan and its culture. The goal is to also strengthen the American and Japanese friendship. This sounds like an amazing event with something for everyone!!