Japanese dancers in traditional costumes perform for throngs of spectators.
Springtime in Japan means one thing: blooming cherry trees. Lots of them. The tradition of flower viewing (or hanami in Japanese) describes a celebratory period during the peak of the season when meadows and parks from Mount Fuji to Tokyo are blanketed in a cloud of cotton-candy-colored buds. Stateside, Washington, DC, may get all the attention for its National Cherry Blossom Festival—more than a million visitors each year descend on the capital to ogle the thousands of trees in bloom—but Philadelphia observes the same flowery rituals in exceptional fashion with the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, April 1 through 9.
Now in its 20th year, the event, hosted by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, is a revelrous tribute to the music, art, food, and flowers of the island nation. The festival kicks off at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, now home to the only traditional hinoki cypress bark roof outside of Japan following last fall’s restoration project. A sushi-making class, martial arts demonstrations, and the Cherry Blossom 10K are just some highlights of the packed calendar, which culminates with Sakura Sunday at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park. Tanoshii!