Sakura Matsuri returns for a second spectacular year!

Sakura Matsuri 2019 _7846

If you missed 2018’s Sakura Matsuri, or Cherry Blossom Festival, then make sure not to miss it this round!

Gardens by the Bay has brought back the popular Japanese-themed event, and like many of the plants and flowers blooming in Singapore, it has already begun!

Yesterday (12 Mar), Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, Lawrence Wong, and the Ambassador of Japan to Singapore, His Excellency Jun Yamazaki, commemorated the start of the festival with the breaking of a sake barrel.

Following that, they also enjoyed a lively Suzume Odori, a traditional Japanese “Sparrow Dance” that welcomes spring.

Anyway, for those who are unfamiliar with the event, there are four main components to this year’s festival: the Cherry Blossom Floral Display, Cultural Programmes, Nippon Street, and Anime Garden. We’ve done up a small event guide of sorts below.

Cherry Blossom Floral Display

2019’s lineup is much more impressive than last year’s, featuring over 30 different varieties of cherry blossoms! Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the Flower Dome, admiring the numerous torii gates adorning the walkway. If that isn’t enough to satisfy you, take a peek through one of the many marumado (“round window”) available! Each of them frame a delicate but beautiful display, so you could consider it an ultra-fancy photo frame. What better way to spice up your Instagram profiles?

Date: Saturday, 9 March – Sunday, 31 March
Time: 9am – 9pm
Location: Flower Dome
Details: Admission charge to Flower Dome applies.

Cultural Programmes

If traditional Japanese culture, sports, and music are your jam, make your way over to this section. Held at the Flower Dome and the Canopy, visitors can enjoy the more delicate aspects of Japanese culture here, such as tea ceremonies and Suzume Odori dances. For those who are more fired up, there are taiko drum performances and kendo demonstrations as well. Go nuts!

Date: 9–10, 16–17, 23–24, 30–31 March
Time: Variable
Location: The Canopy & Flower Dome
Details: Programmes at The Canopy are free. Admission charge to Flower Dome applies.

Nippon Street

Worked up an appetite after all that walking? Check out the Nippon Street section, which houses over 20 food, retail, and lifestyle outlets. Try your hand at traditional Japanese games, rent a yukata, and even dress up as a samurai! Afterwards, pig out at the various street food stands or savour a multitude of instant noodle flavours along the Ohanami Street in the Waterview Room. Itadakimasu!

Date: Saturday, 9 March – Sunday, 17 March
Time: 10am – 8pm
Location: Flower Field Hall and Waterview Room (Flower Dome)
Details: Free admission from Monday to Friday. Admission ticket to Flower Dome is required on
Saturday and Sunday.

Anime Garden

Embrace your inner otaku at Sakura Matsuri’s Anime Garden. Get up close and personal with your favourite celebrity cosplayers at the Meadow, such as Thailand’s Thames Malerose or Hong Kong’s Olivia and Luffy.

Alternatively, go wild at the J-pop concert performance. This year, popular local groups such as Tokimeki JUMP and Natsuiro Party are on the payroll, so make sure to check them out!

Additionally, anime movie screenings are on the menu too, including Crayon Shin-chan the Movie: Bakumori! Kung Fu Boys – Ramen Chaos and the award-winning A Silent Voice. Last but not least, why not snag a souvenir at the merchandise booths before heading home? There should be something for everyone.

Date: Saturday, 30 March – Sunday, 31 March
Time: 4pm – 11.30pm
Location: The Meadow
Details: Programmes at The Meadow are free. Admission charge to Flower Dome applies.

When asked for comment, Gardens by the Bay CEO Felix Loh said:

“With beautiful cherry blossoms bursting into flower already, and a wonderful variety of Japanese-themed activities, many of them free, we encourage all to join us at Sakura Matsuri for an unforgettable experience you can only get at Gardens by the Bay.”

Well, you heard the man. Check out the event website here for more info and see you there!

Photos: Ninemer/Gardens By The Bay

Kenneth Ang

Kenneth is your dedicated jack of all trades gamer and borderline anime nut. When not writing, he likes to wind down with Overwatch, Apex Legends and a bit of Fate: Grand Order on the side.