Last year, we took a look at winter and spring festivals in Japan and discussed its Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) that dates back to the 8th century BC. This year, this beautiful festival started 2 weeks early, tying an all-time record for the early arrival of the cherry blossoms in Japan. If you've never seen it, it's one of the most beautiful times of the year for incentive trips or team building retreats in Japan.
Thanks to the gifts of thousands of cherry blossom trees from the Japanese government starting just over a century ago, there are a number of places in the U.S. where corporate groups can get a taste of this festival.
Washington, DC - April 13, 2013 - 10:00 - 6:00
In Washington, since 1912, cherry blossom trees have bloomed in the spring at the Tidal Basin reservoir. The 53rd annual Sakura Matsuri, hosted by the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC., will take place on Penn Ave. between 9th and 14th Streets. It will include a parade, dance and shamisen performances, Taiko drumming and martial arts displays. Just exit the Metro at Federal Triangle or Metro Centre.
New York City - April 27 - 28, 2013 - 10:00 - 6:00
The best place to view the sakura is in Manhattan's Sakura Park, where 2000 cherry blossom trees donated by Japan were delivered in 1912. Enjoy a weekend of Taiko Drumming, Tea Ceremonies, Samurai Sword Fighting and Nihon Buyo Classical Dance at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.
Monterey Park, California - April 21 - 22, 2013 - 11:00 - 6:30
In California, there are 2,000 sakura at Balboa Park and another 2000 at Lake Balboa in Los Angeles. While the annual Cherry Blossom Festival Southern California in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo has not been announced for 2013, Barnes Park will hold its 16th annual cherry blossom festival. Visitors will be treated to Kabuki by the Kyo No Kai Kabuki troupe, Taiko drumming and an appearance by Japanese-American actor Rodney Kageyama who will be the MC.
Photo Credit: izik