There are many reasons to celebrate spring: the days get warmer, nights get longer and the city pops with colour at the peak of cherry blossom season. Each year, more than 40,000 cherry trees spring to life, decorating Vancouver’s streets and parks with a canopy of white and pink blossoms. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (April 3 to 28) honours this time of year. From colourful soirees to educational seminars, the vibrant festival offers a variety of events that delight in the rebirth of spring and beauty of the sakura (cherry blossoms in Japanese). Our top picks:
Indulge in traditional Japanese cuisine. Kick off the festival at Sakura Night, a pink-tie opening gala showcasing the best of Vancouver’s Japanese cuisine. Attendees can sample delectable eats fromTojo’s Restaurant, Zen Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Raw Bar, Miku Restaurant,Seventeen89 and Zakkushi. The event takes place at Tojo’s Restaurant on March 30. To purchase tickets, click here.
Take in live music under the blossoms. Soak up live music, dance performances, Haiku readings and more at the Cherry Jam Downtown Concert. The event takes place on April 3, from 12:00pm to 1:30pm, under the cherry blossom canopies of downtown Vancouver’s Burrard Station.
Discover the beauty of cherry blossoms at night. The Sakura Illumination Tour invites locals and visitors to experience the beauty of cherry blossom after dark. Taking place on April 4 at Granville Island’s Sutcliffe Park (7:30pm to 9:00pm), the event encourages attendees to revel in the beauty of an illuminated canopy of cherry blossoms brought to life by LED and patterned video lights.
Experience traditional Japanese culture. Treat yourself to all things Japanese at this year’s Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Botanical Garden, April 5 to 6. Chow down on Japanese food, sip traditional tea and sake and take a class or two (like calligraphy or origami). Additional highlights include ikebana lessons, guided walks through the blossoms, taiko drumming, martial arts performances, a children’s area and more.
Picnic, walk or bike the cherry-pink way. Use the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival bloom map to locate your favourite blossom variety and the whereabouts of city streets lined with blooming cherry trees – then decide whether you want to eat, walk or bike under the pink canopy. If you’re keen to join a group, pedal along at Bike the Blossoms – a free blossom bike ride that takes place on April 26.
Press release courtesy of Tourism Vancouver’s travel media newsletter for April 2014.