Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cherry Blossom Season, Hanami, to Begin with First Flush of Flowers
Sakura Matsuri: April 27 and 28, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
—Each year, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) encourages visitors to experience Hanami, the Japanese cultural tradition of enjoying the cherry blossom season, from the first buds to the lush flowers to the multitudes of falling blossoms blanketing the ground. BBG’s Hanami display is the most extraordinary in the U.S., with more than 200 trees—the nation’s most diverse collection—providing a spectacular seasonal show. This year, Hanami begins when the Garden’s horticulture staff observes the first flush of blossoms, usually found in the weeping higan cherries in the iconic Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Hanami will be announced on the Garden’s website (bbg.org), Twitter, Facebook, and in a media advisory to national press.
The glorious trees inspire Garden classes, special tours, and festivals, including Sakura Matsuri, the country’s largest annual event in a public garden.
In Japan, centuries-old customs associated with Hanami include strolling among the trees and capturing falling cherry petals in open palms. During Hanami at BBG, visitors can enjoy several highlights inspired by its collection of over 200 flowering cherries:
- Free Hanami tours (Saturdays and Sundays, 1 to 2 p.m.) focusing on BBG’s Japanese plant collections and specialty gardens, including the cherries, the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum, and the Tree Peony Collection.
- Selection of special Japanese menu items at BBG’s Zagat-rated Terrace Café.
- The Hanami collection at BBG’s Garden Shop, featuring handpicked items inspired by the Garden’s blossoms and Japanese aesthetics.
The cherry display will be tracked in real time on BBG’s web-based CherryWatch feature, which maps the entire collection and provides daily blooming updates. The Garden also encourages all visitors to share their cherry blossom images—amateur or professional—using the hashtag #bbgcherries on Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and Facebook.
Hanami culminates in the Garden’s legendary weekend festival Sakura Matsuri—popularly considered New York’s rite of spring. A celebration of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture, Sakura Matsuri (April 27 and 28, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) features over 60 performances, demonstrations, and exhibits—many of which are specially commissioned for this dynamic festival—and attracts one of the largest, most colorful audiences for any cultural event in the city. Sakura Matsuri 2013 will present some performers straight from Japan, including Zakuro Chindon, an all-female marching band, and The Asterplace, whose anime rock is celebrated in the cosplay (costume play) community. Other festival artists hail from the five boroughs, such as Taiko Masala, the beloved drumming group, and jazz pianist Kuni Mikami, who interprets Japanese folk songs to great acclaim.
Perennial Sakura Matsuri favorites include Dancejapan with Sachiyo Ito (classical and Okinawan dance); the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of NY; BBG’s Parasol Society (comprised of hundreds of Tokyo goth girls, Victorian maidens, and sweet shepherdesses); and the fabulous Cosplay Fashion Show, showcasing over 20 of the city’s most extravagant and talented cosplayers to a crowd of thousands. Manga comic master Misako Rocks and illustrator Jed Henry will be leading drawing workshops and demonstrations on both days.
Admission to Sakura Matsuri is $20 for adults, $10 for students (12 to 17), and seniors (65 and over).
A full event schedule is available at bbg.org/sakuramatsuri.
For more information about Hanami and Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossoms, please visit bbg.org/discover/cherries