Hanami is the Japanese name for cherry blossom viewing, around which the Japanese have long-established customs, including picnicking under the boughs of cherry trees and trapping fallen petals in cups of sake. Cherry blossoms have inspired Japanese poets and artists for centuries, and now, they can be celebrated here at home.
From now until May 11, visitors to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden can partake in HANAMI: Celebrating the Cherry Blossom Season. Japanese flowering cherries can be found throughout Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Special highlighted concentrations of cherries can be found in the Cherry Esplanade, a broad field with 76 specimens of the bright pink Prunus ‘Kanzan’ cherry Cherry Walk, a meandering path east of Cherry Esplanade and behind the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, and between Cherry Walk and Cherry Esplanade, which is planted with Cherry cultivars.
Hanami culminates with Sakura Matsuri, “New York City’s Rite of Spring,” with over 50 events and performances. Sakura Matsuri (May 3 and 4) is a two-day festival of Japanese culture, arts, and performances for all ages in tribute to the Garden’s iconic collection of Japanese flowering cherry trees. Visitors from around the world and the New York metropolitan area alike will enjoy a dynamic weekend of music, dance, martial arts, food, workshops, demonstrations, art exhibits, and guided tours of the Garden’s plant collections.
Among these events, DJ Saiko Mikan will be spinning a set of Group Sounds—the buoyant genre of late sixties Japanese rock—and DJ Hayden Honey will thrill visitors with a set of pure Shibuya-kei, the fusion pop that exploded out of the uber-hip Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo. Other musical highlights include a Japanese pop concert by ZAN, who make thoroughly modern music using the traditional Japanese instruments shakuhachi bamboo flute and the harplike koto. Spinnin Ronin Martial Arts Dance Theater will dazzle audiences with its performance of The Legend of Ninja Kotaro. Kids will love watching their counterparts star in a suzuki recital, a taiko-drumming performance, and a special hanagasa odori (flower hat dance) parade.