The 10th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park is a two-day celebration in the Japanese Friendship Garden; this year the event will take place on Saturday March 7 from 10am-4pm and Sunday March 8 from 11am-3pm. Walk through the garden’s beautiful cherry tree grove while enjoying authentic Japanese food, sample some libations at the beer and sake garden, watch lively music and dance performances, or enjoy a number of activities that are perfect for the whole family.
The Japanese Friendship Garden boasts the largest cherry tree grove in the western hemisphere – it’s home to approximately 150 of them! The yearly festival is dedicated to the beautiful cherry blossom tree blooms, known as sakura in Japanese; their delicate pink flowers symbolize purity and only stay for a few short weeks every year. Festival-goers are encouraged to participate in Hanami, the traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of the flowers by picnicking under the trees with friends and family. Throughout the weekend, there will be Japanese Cultural entertainment, authentic street foods, unique arts vendors, a kid’s corner, and a beer and sake garden sponsored by Asahi Beer, Gekkeikan Sake, and Stone Brewery.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city Yokohama, Japan, that binds the two cultures to create a unique experience for visitors from all over the world; it’s well known for its unique setting, stone arrangement, koi pond, exhibition hall and ornamental tree collection. The garden has undergone extensive expansion in the last few years, including the addition of nine extra acres which included more cherry tree groves, a large Azalea and Camellia Garden, Tea & Herb Garden, Children’s Garden, and Tea Pavilion with an outdoor amphitheater.
The Japanese Friendship Garden is located at 2215 Pan American Road East, San Diego 92101. Tickets to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park are $6 for adults and $5 for seniors, students, and military; kids under the age of 6 get in for free. For more information, call (619) 232-2721 or visit www.niwa.org.
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