On this weekend: the last days of cherry blossom festivals in Tokyo, the colorful African Festival Yokohama, Buddha’s birthday celebrations, and the not-to-be-missed Kamakura Matsuri.

Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shrine, Kamakura
Tsurugaoka Hachimangū Shrine, Kamakura | Photo by Ik T used under CC

Kamakura Matsuri (April 8-15): The annual Kamakura Matsuri festival features a variety of parades and performances at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine. Note this Sunday will feature the Shizuka no Mai dance and next Sunday (April 15) will feature horseback archery.

African Festival Yokohama 2018 (April 6-8): A festival of all things African in Yokohama, “to bridge the cultural difference between Africa and Japan”. There will be traditional drumming and dancing, games, a photo exhibition, fashion, quizzes, African product displays and a wide range of food and drinks.

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Hana Matsuri: Buddha’s Birthday celebrations (April 8): Hana means flower, so as part of bday bash rituals, a herbal tea made from hydrangeas is poured over a small Buddha statue. There’s free tea for visitors, and a large white elephant—a symbol of the big man himself—goes for a spin around the Sensoji grounds in Asakusa. Event from 10am-3pm.

Last call for cherry blossoms

Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival (March 21-April 8): The rowdiest, most iconic spot in all of Tokyo to enjoy cherry blossoms. Ueno Park is decked out with blue picnic tarps (good luck finding a spot), illuminations, food stalls and a ton (we mean A TON) of people.

Bokutei Cherry Blossom Festival (March 22-April 8): More illuminations can be found at Sumida Park in Asakusa. Take a stroll along the park’s kilometer-long line of cherry trees and grab some tasty treats at the many food stalls too!

Nakameguro Cherry Blossom Festival (March 24-April 10): The Nakameguro Canal provides the perfect and most picturesque backdrop from your cherry blossom viewing. It’s one of Tokyo’s most popular sakura spots, with illuminations, lanterns and festival stalls.

Edo Fukagawa Sakura Festival (March 24-April 11): The Edo-Fukagawa Matsuri offers not only illuminations and plenty of food, but boat rides too! For 500 yen per person, take a ride on a wasen (traditional-style) boat along the nearby river in the quiet Monzen-Nakacho neighborhood. You’ll need to register though, so see the event listing for more info.

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