BROOKLYN, N.Y.—One of New York City’s most anticipated weekend events returns in late April for the 31st time: Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Tens of thousands of visitors will come to enjoy a dynamic weekend of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture inspired by BBG’s famous collection of flowering cherry trees. Visitors will experience a program of over 60 events and performances including dance, martial arts, manga, costume play (“cosplay”), workshops, demonstrations, and guided tours of the garden’s Japanese plant collections.
Among the dozens of offerings on the schedule for April 28 and 29 are a specially created performance by renowned jazz pianist Kuni Mikami and his band, interpreting traditional Japanese folk songs using a jazz vocabulary. Morning Musuko, a 15-member J-pop big band, returns by popular demand, playing a stand-alone set in addition to scoring the dazzling Cosplay Fashion Show. Closing the festival for the third year in a row, the fashion show features over a dozen unique renditions of Japanese manga and anime characters—all painstakingly hand-fashioned by dedicated participants exclusively for this event.
Other returning favorites include performances by Okinawan-pop stars happyfunsmile and the martial arts ensemble Samurai Sword Soul. Manga and anime activities include a live collaboration between Veronica Taylor (the original voice of Ash Ketchum from Pokémon) and artist Misako Rocks! At Puzzle Plaza, visitors can immerse themselves in Sudoku, LaQ, shogi, and the game of go, and throughout the Garden there will be hands-on activities especially for children.
Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29. All activities take place rain or shine, with indoor locations provided for some activities in the event of rain. A detailed schedule for the festival will soon be available at bbg.org/sakuramatsuri.
Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students with ID; kids under 12 and Garden members are admitted free of charge. Admission fees will be charged all weekend, including Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. (On all Saturdays without scheduled public programs, the Garden will continue to extend free admission from 10 a.m. to noon.)
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