Bloom county! Sakura Matsuri back at the Botanic Garden

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Break out your kimino — Sakura Matsuri is back.

A celebration of Japanese culture, the festival will take over the Brooklyn Botanic Garden from May 1 to 2.

The weather may not fully cooperate — the blooms were in full crepuscular beauty this weekend and are starting to fade — but the weekend will still feature workshops including flower arranging, anime-inspired costume competitions and haiku poetry readings.

“It is the best of Japanese and Japanese-American culture here at the garden, with the stunning background of the cherry blossoms,” said Kate Blumm, of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Across the garden’s grounds, traditional arts performances will mix with events focused on modern Japanese culture such as anime and manga, making for a “visual circus,” said Blumm.

Among the more traditional offerings will be a performance by Dancejapan featuring Sachiyo Ito — a staple at the festival for nearly 30 years — and taiko drumming by Taiko Masala and Soh Daiko.

For Japanese fashionistas, the festival will also host a high tea for “Victorian maidens, boho bo-peeps, and Tokyo goth girls,” as well as a costume fashion show to exhibit manga-inspired designs.

Despite its name, it’s not all about the cherry blossoms at Sakura Matsuri.

Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden [1000 Washington Ave. at Crown Street in Crown Heights, (718) 623-7200] May 1 from 10 am to 6 pm and May 2 from 10 am to 7 pm. For info, visit

Updated 5:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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