Northern California Cherry Blossom Fest: Japantown


From traditional Tea Ceremony to new pop culture, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the few places outside of Japan to see the breadth of Japanese Culture. We invite you to check out the many groups preforming, presenting and demonstrating their art at the festival. Here are some events that you might not know is taking place:


The Bonsai and Suiseki display at the 2016 Cherry Blossom Festival will take place the second weekend inside the Japanese Cultural Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC) at 1840 Sutter St. Five organizations from the Bay Area — Bonsai Society of San Francisco, Marin Bonsai Club, Yamato Bonsai Kai, California Suiseki Society, and contributions from the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt—provide this special display. Bonsai is the centuries old art of cultivating a tree in a pot for display in the garden or, briefly, in the home. Early illustrations show this art in India, traveling to China and brought to a high level of beauty in Japan. From these beginnings, it has traveled throughout the world.


Ikebana is one of the most famed Japanese traditional arts, and traces its origin back hundreds of years. Ikebana was historically placed within the “tokonoma” alcove of the Japanese home. Now it is practiced in most of the contemporary world as an artistic decoration placed throughout the home. In its basic form, an Ikebana arrangement follows a fixed pattern: a triangle of three points representing Heaven, Earth and Human.  From there, many other guidelines are taught depending on the flower and branch material used.   Ikebana usually contains the foliage and flowers of the season at hand, used in their natural state, except when arrangers enhance the beauty with trimmings. All demonstrations and displays will be at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California.


The Northern California Cherry Blossom food area every year is a crowd favorite. The block long area located on Webster Street between Post and Sutter is uniquely run solely by non-profit organizations. You can find the best of Japanese outdoor festival food prepared by heart of the Japanese community organizations. All proceeds benefit each organization.


Miyabikai displays their dolls every year at the festival. Miyabikai is a club which holdsworkshops on a style of Japanese doll making called kimekomi. Kimekomi means pushing fabric into grooves of a wooden doll form. The members are comprised of instructors and students who enjoy Japanese kimekomi doll making. Mataro doll is a type of kimekomi dolls. These dolls are the product of the Edo period (1600-1867) and have a history of more than 300 years. Our instructors are certified by the Mataro Academy in Tokyo, Japan. The group includes people located in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento area who enjoy making kimekomi dolls in the Mataro style. We make, teach the techniques of making, and share their dolls by displaying them at during the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival. The Mataro doll displays is on the 2nd weekend of the festival at the Union Bank Community Room, 1F Japan Center East Mall.


Always regarded as sacred, the taiko drum was first used to ward away evil spirits and pests harmful to crops. It was believed that the rain spirit would be forced into action if one imitated the sound of thunder during times of drought. The taiko was joyfully beaten to express thanks for a bountiful crop during harvest. Today, a cultural renaissance has taken place in Japan, leading to a rediscovery of native arts. Taiko enthusiasts have popularized and revolutionized the art around the world.

Posted by: Rebecca White on