We had a fun time at the 35th annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival. This two-day festival took place on April 30-May 1 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. We had the unique opportunity to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms and immerse ourselves in traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. We were very lucky because the gorgeous pink cherry trees were in FULL BLOOM!
Cherry blossoms are the national flower of Japan. The Japanese believe that this gorgeous flower represents both the FRAGILITY and BEAUTY of life. Cherry trees are incredibly stunning in full bloom with their baby pink and white petals. Cherry blossoms last for JUST one to two weeks, flying away almost as fast as they bloom. Every cherry blossom season, tourists and natives attend festivals in Japan and around the world to enjoy these beautiful flowers and celebrate Japanese food, music and culture.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has one of the most lavish cherry blossom celebrations outside of Japan. Cherry blossom season in Brooklyn runs from mid April to May. The first cherry trees were a gift from the Japanese government and planted after World War I. Today, the garden has more than 200 cherry trees of 42 different varieties. There’s even a Cherry Watch on the website.
Visitors often dress up for the Sakura Matsuri festival. We spotted kimonos, neons wigs and colorful costumes. The festival is also kid friendly with sword fighting, manga artists and live musical performances.
We strolled to other parts of the botanic garden and saw an array of beautiful violet, white and magenta tulips, yellow daffodils, crimson red emperors and several other beautiful flowers.
Although the festival was the perfect spot to watch the city burst into bloom, you can also visit the garden a week before or after festivals to avoid large crowds. We recommend checking the Cherry Watch to see when the flowers are in full bloom. If you do attend a festival, you need to buy your tickets online. You can also avoid waiting on long ticket lines by becoming a Brooklyn Botanic Garden member. We also suggest packing a picnic lunch because the food lines were also very long. You can’t picnic in the Garden, but Prospect Park is just a short walk away.
“A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.”––Max Muller