Explore and experience the cultural roots and contemporary influences of Japan through live performances, visual arts, hands-on activities, foods and games. This feast for the senses features Taiko drumming and artisan demonstrations.
The Festival was initiated by a gift of 1,000 cherry trees that were given to Seattle on May 8, 1976, by Japan’s former Prime Minister, Takeo Miki, in commemoration of America’s bicentennial and the long friendship between the people of Japan and Washington state. Today, the Festival is the largest and oldest of its kind in the Northwest. Hanami, cherry blossom viewing, is a reminder to celebrate life, and the pink petals carried on the breeze at the first Festival engendered that thought. People sat on the grass, eating from sack lunches, enjoying traditional Japanese music and dances performed free on a temporary stage.