April 2018

The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, the city’s annual celebration of Japanese culture and art, is returning for its tenth year on April 14.

Held on the front lawn of the Metro Courthouse at Nashville Public Square, this event has been a joint effort from the Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville, the Japan-America Society of Tennessee, and Metro Government to bring Nashvillians closer to Japanese traditions and to raise the money to plant 100 cherry trees in the area every year.

Photograph by Fei Yang

“We will be celebrating 1,000 cherry trees planted in Nashville parks and neighborhoods [this year],” says Ginger Byrn, the director of programs and membership development for the Japan-America Society. “The trees serve as both a symbol of friendship between the people of Japan and the United States as well as the backdrop for our annual . . . festival.”

The festival will see a broad range of activities and events that highlight Japanese history and modern culture. There will be “J-Pop” music and dance performance, martial arts, a Ginza- inspired marketplace, “Taste of Japan” food options, a 9:45 a.m. walk around the cherry blossoms, and more. Nashville Arts will host a booth for children’s arts and crafts activities.

“Great care is taken to offer activities for individuals of all ages to interact with Japanese culture,” Byrn explains. “As few residents will have the opportunity to travel to Japan themselves, the festival offers glimpses of both traditional and contemporary Japan without having to step foot outside of Middle Tennessee.”

In Japan, the blooming of cherry trees traditionally marks a time to enjoy with family and friends. This year’s rendition in Nashville is sure to bring the custom to the West.

The 2018 Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival will take place on the front lawn of the Metro Courthouse at Nashville Public Square on April 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.nashvillecherryblossomfestival.org.

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