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Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival: May 2 and 3, 2009

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Celebrates Its Cherry Blossoms

With a World-Class Lineup of Japanese Music, Dance,

Fashion, Food, and More!

Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival: May 2 and 3, 2009

During Hanami, BBG's world-renowned collection of flowering cherry trees take center stage, culminating in in the two-day Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival, “New York's Rite of Spring,” featuring over 50 events and performances (Left photo, Joseph O. Holmes; Right photo: Barbara Alper;. Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden.)

SAKURA MATSURI: the 28th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival

Saturday, May 2–Sunday, May 3, 2009 | 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

HANAMI: Celebrating the Cherry Blossom Season | April 4–May 10, 2009

BBG Named April Culture Spot by NYC & Company

Brooklyn, NY—March 23, 2009— Brooklyn Botanic Garden's peerless collection of cherry trees—the largest and most diverse outside Japan—creates a canopy of blossoms in the spring that is most worthy of a major celebration. Over the course of its 28-year history, Sakura Matsuri (May 2 and 3, 2009) has evolved into one of the city's most anticipated weekend events, as tens of thousands of visitors come to experience not only the breathtaking beauty of the cherry tree's fleeting blossoms but also to learn about Japanese culture–both traditional and contemporary–with two days of music, dance, martial arts, food, film, workshops, demonstrations, and guided tours of the Garden's plant collections.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden will be the #1 springtime destination for anime, cosplay, manga, and Japanese pop and rock from the 1960s to the present. For the first time ever, three programs at Sakura Matsuri will be presented in collaboration with the hugely popular N.Y. Anime Festival, link bringing the finest in Japanese anime and manga talent to the Garden that devotees and the simply curious can enjoy. The all-new Manga & Anime Artist Alley is part of the expanded Sakura J-Lounge—which features more music, more dancers, and the addition of several famed Japanese comic artists signing their colorful works. In addition, Samurai Beat Radio will be broadcasting live from the J-Lounge to several stations in Japan!

Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. All activities take place rain or shine, with indoor locations provided for all activities in the event of rain. Tickets are available through www.TicketWeb.com; for same-day ticket information, visit bbg.org or call 718-623-7200. A detailed schedule of the festival is available at bbg.org/sakuramatsuri, and information is available by calling the public events hotline (beginning late March) at 718-623-7333. Admission fees of $12 for adults and $6 for students and seniors will be charged all weekend, including Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

Sakura Matsuri: Event Highlights

Note: hi-res photos available for events and performers

Visitors to the Garden enjoy traditional Japanese music performed with authentic instruments as well as contemporary music by leading musicians. The Sakura J-Lounge returns with an expanded lineup of DJs spinning a wide variety of Japanese pop and rock old and new to give extra punch to the festivities! Other musical highlights include a Japanese pop concert by star Ai Kawashima, who has gained national renown in Japan; Minami Kuzuki, singing and playing shamisen J-pop melodies inspired by the folk songs of her home in the Amami Islands; and a performance of traditional koto and shamisen music by Misayo Ishigure and the Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble. Brooklyn favorite Kagero will bring the house down with its border-crossing Japanese gypsy rock. A Children's Suzuki Recital features kids ages 4 to 13 performing string versions of Japanese folk songs. Traditional music lovers will be enthralled by an ethereal shakuhachi flute concert and a classical koto and shamisen concert. Enjoy the adrenaline-pumping sounds of taiko performances by Taiko Masala, Soh Daiko, and the all-child Genki Daiko—then try this ancient art of drumming in two hands-on taiko drumming workshops for families!

Dance and Martial Arts

The J-Lounge features fabulously attired dancers throughout the afternoon rocking to Japanese group sounds, Shibuya-kei, '60s pop rock, and anime-themed J-pop. Samurai Sword Soul returns with another original piece, Bushido: The Soul of Samurai, showcasing the mastery of these sword-fighting professionals. Enjoy works by the legendary dance troupe Sachiyo Ito & Company, which performs in the expressive tradition of Ryukyu Buyo, Okinawan dance, and graceful Nihon Buyo, Japanese classical dance. Experience vibrant Japanese folk dance with the colorful Hanagasa Odori (Flower Hat Dance) parade and minbu dance, performed by the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York. Witness a moving performance of butoh, a Japanese style of dance that emerged after World War II, performed by Dean Street FOO Dance.

Traditional Arts

Explore Japanese art forms and creative disciplines with special workshops and demonstrations of ikebana flower arranging, origami paper folding, mataro ningyo wooden doll making, and washi ningyo paper doll making. BBG's own curator of the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum, Julian Velasco, shares his expertise in bonsai pruning techniques. Other highlights include a traditional Japanese tea ceremony presentation, and a whimsical soft sculpture sushi display and photo op. Plus, enjoy the New York premiere of the film Transcending—The Wat Misaka Story, which recounts the story of the first Japanese-American basketball player in the NBA.

Manga and Anime

With the N.Y. Anime Festival, Sakura Matsuri presents the most exciting manga and anime activities around! During NYC's Largest Cos-Play Photo Shoot, thousands of festival-goers in costume will gather together under BBG's peerless flowering cherry trees for some unforgettable image-making. The Funny Voices: Anime Voice Actor Roundtable features the city's hottest talents in anime cartoon voice talent talking about, and as, their legendary characters. At the AnimeNEXT Manga Library, children and adults can partake of the global phenomenon of these exquisitely illustrated Japanese comics and read nature-inspired manga. Plus, renowned manga illustrator Kensuke Okabayashi presents a fantastic character-sketching talk and demo and signs copies of his book Manga for Dummies. Manga mania will continue with Misako Rocks! A Crazy Comic Life, during which illustrator Misako Rocks!, known for her works Rock and Roll Love, Biker Girl, and Detective Jermain, will guide visitors through her colorful childhood in Japan and other sources of inspiration for her manga.

Children's Activities

Children's activities include a special session with manga illustrator Misako Rocks!, after the AnimeNEXT Manga Library's display of nature comics is a must-see. Other kid-friendly events include Samurai swordplay performed by Samurai Sword Soul, a hands-on workshop all about haiku and papermaking, an entertaining origami paper-folding workshop, plus taiko drumming for the whole family. Kids will love watching their peers star onstage in a kimono show, a suzuki recital, and a taiko-drumming performance.


Founded in 1910, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is an independent nonprofit institution committed to education, research, and the display of horticulture. BBG serves communities in New York City and internationally through its world-class gardens, extensive research collections, and numerous educational and community programs. Situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn, the Garden is home to over 10,000 types of plants and hosts more than 700,000 visitors annually. Brooklyn Botanic Garden was rated Brooklyn's number one tourist attraction in Zagat's recently released 2008 Best of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. The Garden is closed on Mondays; open holiday Mondays, except Labor Day. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens (65 and older) and students with ID. Children under 12, all school groups, and Garden members are admitted free at all times. Seniors are admitted free all day Friday, and the Garden is free to the public all day on Tuesdays and until noon on Saturdays (except Saturdays of major Public Programs such as Sakura Matsuri). Visitor entrances are at Flatbush Avenue, at the parking lot gate at 900 Washington Avenue, and at Eastern Parkway. By subway, take the 2 or 3 train to Eastern Parkway or the B (weekdays) or Q train to Prospect Park. By bus, use the B16, B41, B43, B45, B48, or B71. Parking is available at 900 Washington Avenue for a fee. For more information call 718-623-7200. Additional information is also offered online at bbg.org.

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