Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival: Everything you need to know to enjoy this year’s virtual event

The virtual Richmond Cherry Blossom Festival brings the best of Japanese culture right into your home. This year’s program features seven original videos with local artisans teaching viewers how to recreate arts and crafts with the whole family.

Learn how to fold origami cherry blossoms, weave a basket out of paper, handroll temaki sushi, and much more. Make sure to get your shopping done early, so that you can kick-start the festival on April 10! You can even enjoy some of the spoils right at Garry Point Park, by packing up the homemade sushi for a picnic under the cherry blossoms.

Learn more about the artists presenting at this year’s festival

Arts and crafts


Activity description: Write two different words in Japanese: 絆 (kizuna), or “the bonds or connections between people,” and ありがとう (arigatou), or “thank you”
Difficulty level: Easy
Length of time required: 5 minutes

  • Fude, or a Japanese ink brush
  • Hanshi, or calligraphy rice paper
  • Sumi, or Japanese ink
  • Bunchin, or a paper weight
  • Suzuri, or an ink stone with ink well
  • Shitajiki, or a fabric “undersheet” that is placed beneath the rice paper

Origami: Cherry Blossom

Activity description: Fold an origami cherry blossom
Difficulty level: Moderate
Length of time required: 10 minutes

  • Paper (cut into 15×15 cm squares), such as origami sheets or wrapping paper

Seniors Crafts: Woven Paper Basket

Activity description: Weave an intricate basket using only household materials
Difficulty level: Hard
Length of time required: 4-6 hours

  • Paper (and lots of it!)
  • Cardboard
  • Paper clips
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Craft varnish
  • Patience


Activity description: Create a free-style floral arrangement following the principles of the Sogetsu School
Difficulty level: Moderate
Length of time required: 10-20 minutes

  • Ikebana vase or any flat-bottomed cooking dish or bowl — approx. 10” in diameter
  • Kenzan, a needle point flower holder, or floral foam
  • Ikebana flower scissors or pruning shears
  • 2-3 of any variety of flowers or branches that stand straight (carnations, roses, tulips, or gardenias)


Activity description: Re-pot and prune a growing bonsai tree
Difficulty level: Hard
Length of time required: 1-2 hours

  • Bonsai tree of choice
  • Wide-mouthed pot that suits the tree and has drainage holes
  • Weeding hook
  • Bonsai scissors or gardening shears
  • Aluminum wires
  • Akadama soil
  • Kiryuzuna soil
  • Moss
  • Electric saw or hand saw
  • Sandpaper or steel brush
  • Chopsticks
  • Vegetable oil

Food and culture

Takeya Sushi: Temaki Roll

Activity description: Make temaki sushi, or hand rolls, using a variety of fresh ingredients
Difficulty level: Moderate
Length of time required: 5 minutes for assembly

  • Sushi rice (made with 2 cups of rice, 2 cups of water, ½ cup of rice vinegar, 3 tbsp sugar, and 1 ½ tsp salt)
  • Nori (seaweed)
  • Julienned cucumber
  • Fresh fish, such as tuna or salmon or veggie alternative
  • Sauce (teriyaki sauce or a spicy mix of hot sauce mixed with mayonnaise or cream cheese)
  • Additional vegetable or sauce toppings as desired


Activity description: Properly dress in furisode kimono, worn on formal occasions
Difficulty level: Hard
Length of time required: 15 minutes

  • Furisode kimono
  • A family member or friend to model