2021 Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival Highlights

In 2021, the Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival went virtual for the first time. The online edition featured video content that introduced viewers to various aspects of Japanese culture and traditions. View last year’s festival content below. 

Hear from festival organizers and enjoy cultural performances in the virtual Sakura Tent.

Traditionally the home of the festival’s mainstage, the Sakura Tent in previous years housed the opening and closing ceremonies of the Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival. This year’s video includes welcome messages from Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Consul General Takashi Hatori of the Consulate General of Japan in Vancouver, and the BC Wakayama Kenjin Kai’s Dr. Jim Tanaka, Mary Hirano, and Sammy Hirano. The video closes with a special shigin (performance of a Japanese poem), which pays tribute to the pioneering Japanese immigrant Gihei Kuno. The background music heard throughout the video is an original composition by Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos performed on the shakuhachi (bamboo flute) and shinkin (three-stringed lute).

Explore calligraphy, origami, bonsai and more in the virtual Hanami Tent.

Hanami (flower viewing) comprises the many activities that one can enjoy while observing the beauty of flowers. Walking through the park or picnicking are popular options for enjoying cherry blossoms in spring. The video presents three additional ways to slow down and appreciate the beauty of simplicity.

Master calligrapher Fusako Fujiki demonstrates how to write the Japanese word 希望 (kibou), or “hope” — this year’s festival theme — in Japanese calligraphy. Her daughter Rei provides information about the history, tools, and techniques of calligraphy. Shizue Fukuda and Mieko Ushijima showcase their sakura flowers and traditional origami figures.

Dive into kimono (traditional dress) in the virtual Kitsuke Tent.

Kitsuke, or the art of kimono dressing, can be discovered in the Kitsuke Tent. Donning Japanese traditional clothing takes several steps, as a kimono is made up of distinct layers. In past editions of the festival, visitors had the opportunity to try on different styles of kimono to experience the art of dressing first-hand. In the video, Richmond local Miyo Saito explains the significance of the kimono and the four traditional styles.

Learn about the tradition of picnicking under the blossoms in the virtual Matsuri Tent.

Named after the Japanese word for “festival,” the Matsuri Tent has always been a must-try for festivalgoers. In years past, visitors could picnic in the park with food and beverages from the tent. Offerings included bento boxes, onigiri (rice balls wrapped in seaweed), chirashi (rice bowl with fish and vegetables), soft drinks, and tea. In the video, local restaurant Takeya Sushi offers a glimpse of how they make their seasonal Sakura Bento Box, which is available through April 21.

Discover the art of ikebana (flower arranging) in the virtual Kuno Tent.

The Kuno Tent is named after Canada’s first Japanese immigrant from Wakayama Prefecture, Gihei Kuno. The festival celebrates his pioneering legacy by highlighting the breadth of Japanese culture. Past festivals featured a variety of music and art performances in the Kuno Tent. In this video, local florist Stephen Kuo describes the difference between North American flower arrangements and ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), and demonstrates how to create a piece using cherry blossom branches.