Sakura Sunday brings Japan to Philly

Fairmount Park turned a delightful shade of pink in recent weeks, as the cherry trees came into bloom. Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) member Japan-America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) hosted its annual Sakura Sunday event on April 14.

Fairmount Park’s cherry trees were originally a gift from the people of Japan in 1926 – a way of sharing the Japanese tradition of ‘hanami’ or ‘cherry blossom viewing’ with Philadelphians.

Almost a century later, these original trees – and many others planted in the years since – continue to symbolize Philadelphia’s strong connection to Japan. Sakura Sunday is the culmination of the annual Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, which brings people from across the region together to celebrate Japanese culture and heritage.

Held in the grounds of West Fairmount Horticultural Park, home to JASGP’s Shofuso Japanese House, Sakura Sunday featured a huge range of activities for all ages.

There were traditional performances by the Tamagawa University Taiko Drum and Dance Group, and local Philadelphia schoolchildren in colorful kimonos sang classic Japanese songs.

One of the event’s culinary highlights was the Subaru Sushi Samurai of the Year Contest, with experts competing to show off their sushi-making skills.

Philadelphia pets also got into the spirit of the festival, with the Prettiest Pet in Pink Competition seeing adorable dogs and cute cats dressed up in all manner of cherry blossom colored costumes.

Japanese pop culture was a vibrant part of the festival, with Pennsylvania convention Kodaikon partnering with JASGP to host a cosplay fashion show and competition, packed with people portraying their favorite anime and video characters.

GPA was delighted to have a stand at the event, where we invited adults and children alike to color in World Heritage City postcards; write their own haiku poems about Philadelphia; and pose for pictures with our World Heritage Coloring Book characters, Caleb and Olivia, in our photo booth. We had visitors of all ages, coming together to celebrate this special event in Philadelphia’s global calendar.



Article by Alice Krainock for Global Philadelphia Association

Photographs by Melissa Stevens for Global Philadelphia Association