Once again, there’s no need to head to Japan if you want to see cherry blossoms: Gardens By The Bay’s Sakura Matsuri is back, this time with more free activities than before.
Held from now till 31 March, the Sakura Matsuri comes with four elements this year: The always-popular cherry blossom floral display, cultural programmes, Nippon Street and Anime Garden.
The star of the show will be the cherry blossoms, together with Gardens by the Bay’s wonderful displays. You’ll get to see interpretations of iconic elements of Japan, such as a dramatic pathway lined with 15 Torii gates, a red bridge inspired by the Hirosaki castle bridge in Aomori, and marumado – traditional circular windows – whose aesthetic principle is to perfectly frame a carefully-cultivated scene as one peers out.
There will be 30 varieties of cherry blossoms on show throughout the duration of the display. These varieties include Prunus serrulata ‘Pink Perfection’ with large blooms of 5cm in diameter, the showy Prunus
‘Kanzan’ with each blossom having 20 to 30 petals, and unusual weeping forms of sakura trees.
Due to the warm weather, some cherry blossom varieties have bloomed earlier than expected, and the floral display could reach full bloom earlier than in previous years. Visitors can check Gardens by the Bay’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/gardensbythebay for updates on the state of blooming before they visit.
Anime Garden will take place in the last weekend of March at The Meadow. You’ll get to enjoy free anisong concerts with performances by Megumi Nakajima, ReoNa and Ayaka Ohashi. Local J-pop idol groups Tokimeki JUMP and Natsuiro Party will also get to show off their chops.
For cosplay fans, star cosplayers such as Olivie & Luffy from Hong Kong, Thames Malerose from Thailand and MON from Taiwan will make an appearance, as well as the finalists of the World Cosplay Summit (Singapore). Additionally, there will be a cosplay competition!
Find out more details as well as the event timings here.
The majority of this year’s Cultural Programmes will be held outside Flower Dome, for free! You will get to see showcases of traditional arts such as folk dance, instruments like the koto, shakuhachi and taiko, as well as martial arts such as a kendo demonstration. These programmes are curated in partnership with Japan Creative Centre, the cultural arm of the Embassy of Japan in Singapore.
Find out more about the performances and their timings here.
Happening across from the floral display in Flower Field Hall is Nippon Street, which is free to enter on weekdays. Boasting a more extensive lineup than last year, there will be 20 food and retail stores.
You’ll also get to play traditional Japanese matsuri games, such as fishing coloured balls with a washi paper net; and the chance to try kyudo or Japanese archery, as well as dress up like a samurai. The fair is organised in collaboration with JTB Pte Ltd.
At the launch on Saturday (9 March), Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong and the Ambassador of Japan to Singapore His Excellency Jun Yamazaki broke a sake barrel to symbolise the beginning of Sakura Matsuri. They also enjoyed an energetic performance of Suzume Odori, the traditional Japanese “sparrow dance” that welcomes spring.