The Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival is the largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture in the United States and is proud to be the grand finale of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Performers and vendors travel from all over the country and the world to Washington, DC to share their love of Japanese culture and traditions with the Festival attendees.
The Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival is excited to return to Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th Streets, NW – anchored at the corner of 7th and Pennsylvania, Ave, NW.
- METRO: The Sakura Matsuri is just across for the exit of the Archives-Navy Memorial (Yellow/Green Lines), and just south of Judiciary Square (Red Line)
- Capital Bikeshare: There is a bike dock right next to the Sakura Matsuri
- Car Parking: There is also plenty of parking in the area, and you can even reserve it!
- DC Circulator Bus: This $1 bus runs every 10 minutes from Union Station Metro station!
Both the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and Sakura Matsuri are on April 4th, so Metro ridership will be heavy. Metro fare lines can be long, so try to buy your Metro SmarTrip fare ahead of time. If you purchase your fare Saturday morning, you should buy a round-trip ticket to avoid a second wait at the machines in the afternoon.
Sakura Matsuri tickets can be bought in advance online and at the gate on the day-of for $10 with children 12 and under always free. Ticket sales on the day of the festival are cash only. There will be special entrance lanes for pre-paid ticket holders, so we encourage you to get your Sakura Matsuri tickets on-line before you come, though we will have ATMs stationed at each entrance. (By DC Law gates may close at anytime due DC maximum capacity laws.)
- We’ll have multiple entrances to Sakura Matsuri. Purchasing a ticket at the gate is $15 for adults, free for children 12 and under, and is cash only the day of the Matsuri. ATMs will be located at all entrances.
In the United States, if you look at the moon just right, you’ll be able to see the “man on the moon.” But in Japan, you don’t see a man – instead, you’ll see a rabbit pounding mochi rice…
One day, Ms. Usagi (which means “rabbit” in Japanese) was pounding mochi rice on the moon and noticed that it was springtime in Washington, DC and that the cherry blossoms had begun to bloom. As a special rabbit, Ms. Usagi was able to detect the seasonal changes on Earth, even from the moon. The blossoms reminded her of the astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, who had come from the United States and landed on the moon many years ago. Since then, Ms. Usagi had always wanted to visit the U.S. “Washington, DC could be my new home," Ms. Usagi thought. “Every springtime, it turns so pink and beautiful, and there are so many people there from all over the world."
But first, Ms. Usagi needed to find a job and earn money for her new life on Earth. Luckily, the Japan-America Society of Washington DC (JASWDC) was hiring a mascot for the 58th Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival. Ms. Usagi, who is fluent in Japanese, English, and alien rabbit language, thought, “This is perfect! I can celebrate the sakura (cherry blossoms) and be in beautiful Washington, DC at the same time.”
Ms. Usagi applied for the position. She got the job by demonstrating her superpower of flying, which enables her to bring fresh food and authentic cultural items from Japan in minutes. As a rabbit, she also symbolizes springtime, harmony, and good luck in Japan.
Now, Ms. Usagi – who changed her name to Sakura Usagi, or Sakura-chan, for the festival – is working hard to bring Japanese culture to Washington, DC. On April 13, hop over to the Sakura Matsuri to see Sakura-chan and everything she’s brought with her from Japan!
As the mascot for the Sakura Matsuri, Sakura-chan will be the face of the festival, and you’ll see her throughout the website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more fun facts about and activities with Sakura-chan.