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50th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Opens This Week

April 7, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

In 1968, community leader Hisao Inouye initially conceived the idea of a festival that would promote Japanese and Japanese American culture and mark the opening of the Japan Cultural and Trade Center. The executive committee of the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is grateful to continue his legacy and announce the opening weekend for the 50th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival on April 8 & 9, 2017 and, is free to the public. The festival continues on April 15 and 16 featuring groups from Japan and ending with the Grand Parade on April 16 starting from SF Civic Center and ending in Japantown. and this year will celebrate the festival that has been a part of San Francisco Japantown for 50 years.

The festival is announcing the items to see at the 2017 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival and many of them unique to the 50th festival:

  • Cherry Blossom Film Festival – The first Cherry Blossom Film Festival will be held on April 8, 9 and 15, 2017 at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema. This first Cherry Blossom Film Festival, in partnership with NEW PEOPLE, Consulate General of Japan showcases six of Japan’s best films and anime such as My Neighbor Totoro, Castle in the Sky and others, reflecting the diverse and unique legacy of Japanese cinema. Paid admission required. For tickets and details visit
  • Sake Tasting – A special tasting area for Japanese alcohol returns to the festival, with cooperation from Japanese sake brewers and distributors. This event will introduce visitors to the allure and depth of Japanese sake (rice wine), shochu (distilled liquor), and awamori (Okinawan shochu). Available on the first weekend, Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9, from 11:00AM-5:00PM, Located near Post St. and Webster St. in San Francisco Japantown. Admission: $10 (Ages 21+ only).
  • Hiro Kimono School Demonstration – Commemorating the 60th year of Osaka-San Francisco Sister city relationship. An amazing Kimono show from the Hiro Kimono School is going to be held at the 50th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco. Various kinds of Kimono will be shown on our second weekend, Saturday, April 15th at 1:00 pm at the SUNDANCE KABUKI CINEMA. Admission Free.
  • Rakugo – Japanese sit-down comedy “Osaka-style English Rakugo” In another celebration in honor of the 50th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival and 60th anniversary of Sister city relationship between San Francisco and Osaka, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco and the Japan Foundation present a special traditional Japanese kamigata (Osaka-style) rakugo comedy and variety entertainment show during the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival. In addition to English Osaka-style rakugo, this show will feature Japanese traditional juggling and shamisen performance. The performances will be held Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9; 4:00PM-5:30PM at the JCCCNC Stage (Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California; 1840 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94115). Admission Free.
  • Sakura 360 Area – An expanded Sakura 360 Area is coming back to the festival and expanding to two weekends, April 8th and 9th, 15th and 16th. The first weekend will feature Anime and Pop-culture themes with the 2nd weekend featuring gaming. The area continues to embody the spirit of the “new Japan”, involving fashion, gaming, and anime that are currently trending in both America and Japan in a cross-cultural flavor.

Information on schedule is available here at

  • Sanrio’s Kids Corner and Hello Kitty Cafe Truck – Families with children are always welcome to Sanrio’s Kid Corner, April 9, 10 & 16. The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will make its 3rd appearance and will be in the Hello Kitty Area of the festival. Special 50th Anniversary Hello Kitty gear is available at Amiko Boutique in Japan Center West mall. This area is located at Webster and Post Streets.
  • Scavenger Hunt – We are proud to present a new and interactive opportunity for you to explore the many aspects of Japantown and the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival. Discover the treasures of Japantown through the Cherry Blossom experience. Please join us on the first weekend of the festival (April 8th and 9th) for our app-based scavenger hunt. Missions and activities will challenge you to attend, learn, and take photos at events, performances, exhibits, vendors and businesses within the festival. Photos will be uploaded to our app and tagged using our #CBFScavengerHunt. To participate: download the app – Goosechase in your iOS or Google play store and search for the CBF Scavenger Hunt.
  • NBC Bay Area Sports Tent – Festival attendees will have an opportunity to take photos with their favorite giant Giant’s cut-out faces, play sports games and see some of the local NBC 11 personalities. NBC 11 will be featuring a giveaway trip to Hawaii. April 8th and 9th only. Post & Buchanan Streets.
  • Cherry blossom under the stars – Our first official night time event “Cherry Blossom Under the Stars” will be held on Saturday, April 15th from 7 p.m. until 10:00 p.m at the Japan Peace Plaza. There will be food trucks, a beer booth, and live entertainment.
  • Grand Parade Grand Marshal – KONISHIKI – We are proud to announce KONISHIKI as the Grand Marshal for the 50th Annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Parade. Born Saleva’a Fuauli Atisano’e, KONISHIKI is a Hawaiian-born former sumo wrestler of Samoan descent. He was recruited by Takamiyama of the Takasago stable and started sumo in 1982, at age 18. He was recognized for his potential and received the name “Konishiki,” after the 17th Yokozuna. Just five years later, KONISHIKI became the first non-Japanese born sumo wrestler to reach ōzeki, the second highest rank. During his 15-year career, he won 3 championships in the top Makuuchi division and garnered 733 wins. He paved the way for other foreign-born sumo wrestlers. Have a chance to meet him on the second weekend , 4/15 and 4/16.
  • Kendama Sakura Classic – Kendama, the reborn traditional Japanese toy, is now the popular freestyle competition. The Sakura Classic will be held on April 8th & 9th from 11AM – 7PM featuring Pro Workshops, mini-games, and prizes.

The 2017 NCCBF performers and schedules is available at. for the latest information.

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