Sakura Sunday Is Coming April 15

Sakura Sunday Is Coming April 15

While the calendar says spring, Winter does not seem to have left the Philadelphia region.  we think it has left and then it returns and says "hold my beer and watch this"!  I think we are all tired of the rain, sleet, snow power failures and fallen trees.  Perhaps a visit to Japan to sit under a blossoming Cherry tree while admiring the blossoms while drinking tea and discussing the latest Wes Anderson Film " Isle of Dogs" is in order.  Flying from Philly to Tokyo is time consuming and expensive, but we have a much cheaper alternative right here in Fairmount Park.

For a week, starting on April 7 to April 15, you can enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival, sponsored by Subaru, and held at the Japanese house and garden (Shofuso Villa) located by the Horticultural Center,  here in Philadelphia.  In Japan, the arrival of spring is marked by the blossoming of cherry trees and is an event which is looked forward to with great anticipation.  Families and friends gather under the blossoming trees to enjoy the beauty of the flowers and to celebrate the arrival of spring.  This is a time for festivals and parties and the progress of the blooms is followed across the country.  In Japan the cherry blossom is a metaphor for life, beautiful but fragile and short, like the cherry blossom, only visible for a short time.

The Sakura (Cherry Blossom) festival in Philadelphia only dates back to 1988, but Philadelphia's connections to Japan go back much further into the 19th century.  Japan was represented in the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 with a traditional Japanese garden and pavilions where Japanese porcelains and other decorative items were sold.  The current Japanese garden is on the site of the 1876 original and a few years ago an archaelogical dig found traces of the original Japanese  buildings from the centennial.  In 1926 the country of Japan gave Philadelphia a gift of 1600 flowering Cherry trees to celebrate the friendship between Japan and Philadelphia and we have been planting more since then, giving us the second largest collection in the country.  Washington DC still has a few more than we do, but we are catching up fast!

On of the hidden treasures of the park is the Japanese house and garden.  This building was built in Japan in 1953 for an exhibition of "Houses in the Garden" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  When the exhibition was finished , the house was taken apart, shipped to Philadelphia and the existing Japanese garden was redesigned to provide a proper setting.  What we have is a unique example of classical Japanese design and construction.  The house is an interpretation of a 17th century nobleman's villa and is designed to harmonize with the garden, indeed the idea is that the house and garden are one.  The name "Shofuso" means Pine Breeze Villa, and is well worth a visit, and it is the only example of this style of house in the country.

If you go to the festival, you will enjoy many Japanese inspired activities from demonstrations of traditional drumming and theater, Japanese fashion and and manga inspired cosplay, and of course food!.

For more detailed information, here is the website - Subarucherryblossom.org. 



Steve Drabkowski Headshot
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Phone: 215-760-5825
Dated: April 5th 2018
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About Steve: Steve has been a long term resident of Philadelphia, coming here in 1983 and being stationed at the ...

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