The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is said to be the second largest festival outside of Washington, D.C. to celebrate the blooming of cherry blossoms; and held at one of three remaining Japantowns in the United States.
Every year we are joined by hundreds of performers from both Japan and California to give our thousands of spectators a taste of the Japanese culture.
The first Cherry Blossom Festival took place in April of 1967. It was a time of changes in our society. Young people throughout the United States left home to fight in the Vietnam War.
Here at home San Franciscans witnessed on-going rallies and demonstrations for both the war and civil rights. It was a time of new ethnic community awareness for groups such as the Japanese Americans.
The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival started as a great display of Japanese cultural heritage and pride. Community groups came together as a spirit of unity, some taking form for the first time in order to participate in the Festival. Throughout the 40 years, it has grown to encompass the many facets of the Japanese community.
Throughout the two weekends, the streets of Japantown becomes a live stage where you will have the opportunity to see Japanese dancing, singing, martial arts demonstrations, as well as taste traditional and nontraditional Japanese delicacies.
During these two weekends we encourage you to savor the taste, listen to the sounds and see the rich colors that make the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival unique. We thank the many volunteers that have committed their valuable time and effort to make this possible. Our deepest appreciation to our sponsors and community leaders for their support.
Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with some events performing later if necessary. Please check the Schedule of Events for complete update of times and events.