Home Community Sakura Matsuri Still Going Strong in 45th Year

Sakura Matsuri Still Going Strong in 45th Year

By Mimi Shiraki
NAP Contributor

The Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, held at the Seattle Center from April 12 to 14, celebrated its 45th anniversary. Showcasing Japanese culture, educational programs, arts, martial arts, exhibits, kids’ activities, various workshops, delicious food, performances and Japan’s rich heritage, the festival provides a place to gather everyone in this Seattle community. This event started back on May 8, 1976, as a celebration of the bicentennial of the United States and the friendship between Japan and Washington State. As a token of that friendship, former Prime Minister Takeo Miki gave Seattle 1,000 cherry blossom trees, sparking the tradition of this awesome festival.

At Seattle Center, the Fisher Pavilion and Armory Stage took center stage, drawing crowds of people. Friday, being a weekday, saw fewer folks around, but the weekend was buzzing with people of all ages. The Fisher Pavilion was packed with group booths showcasing various Japanese prefectures, origami stations, traditional sweets stalls, food stands, sales of traditional ceramics, and displays of Japanese dolls, filling up every inch of space.

Outside, people were cooking up fresh yakisoba on giant hot plates, a dish that instantly transported folks back to Japan. Over at the Armory Stage, where there were food courts and such, impressive performances such as taiko drumming, judo, karate, sumo wrestling, aikido, martial arts and dance were showcased. People who hadn’t initially planned to attend the event and were just walking through were draw in.