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Cherry Blossom Festival

Your Guide to the Cherry Blossom Festival

A Blooming Delight!

Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival, Saturday 19 August to Sunday 27 August, 9am to 5pm

Nothing says Springtime in Sydney than trees filled with delicate cherry blossoms in hues ranging from snow white to flamingo pink. But forget hopping on a plane to Japan, Auburn Botanic Garden’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival is just the place to get your ‘Sakura’ or cherry blossom fix right in your own backyard. Held over nine days, this outdoor event is part nature walk, part festival, with a host of food trucks, entertainers, cultural shows and kids’ activities popping up as part of a dedicated Japanese Food Village.

So grab a picnic blanket, channel your inner Geisha, and read on as we share the best ways to experience this family-friendly festival that’s become a must-do event in the Spring calendar.

Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry Blossom Arbor (image courtesy of Cumberland City Council)

Cherry Trail, Japanese Garden

For many, the Cherry Trail is the main event encompassing a wander around the Japanese Gardens and a ‘Gram-worthy shot under the uber-popular cherry arbour and red Torrii Gate. Close your eyes and you could be in Tokyo.

But walk further along and you’ll find a Zen Garden, clusters of fuchsia azaleas in bloom, a decorative bridge that looks straight out of Japanese woodblock print, and a lake thrumming with giant Koi carp.

Whilst a ticket will give you all-day access to the entire Botanic Gardens and Japanese Food Village (see below for mor info), during the festival there are timed sessions for the Japanese Gardens so book ahead and grab a spot that suits you.

Tip: If you’re keen to avoid the weekend hordes, visit early on a weekday afternoon. You might miss some of the food trucks and attractions, but you’ll have one hundred gorgeous cherry blossom trees all to yourself. Pack a Japanese inspired bento box and pick a spot under a tree or opposite the lake to make the most of the experience.

When: 9am to 5pm

 

Cherry Blossom Festival Yakitori
Yakitori from Japanese restaurant Firepop (image courtesy of Cumberland City Council)

Japanese Food Village

Right beside the Japanese Garden, you’ll find a designated Food Village with Japanese faves like yakitori, onigiri and ramen as well as Marrickville’s Brooklyn Bagel Boys and sweet treats from Tokyo Lamington. Little ones will adore Som Som Candy’s fairy floss spun into Cherry Blossom and Hello Kitty inspired shapes, and Gangnam Bakery’s harajuku inspired bikkies.

Tip: Pack a picnic blanket as tables can be few and far between.

When: From 9am – 5pm daily

 

Cherry Blossom Festival Ikebana demonstration
Ikebana demonstration. (image courtesy of Cumberland City Council)

Ikebana Demonstrations

Did you know the word ikebana comes from ‘ikuru’ – to live, and ‘hana’ – flowers: literally ‘living flowers’? Start your Cherry Blossom experience with gentle art of Ikebana: a way of arranging flowers according to ancient principles. In Japanese culture, most native flowers, plants, and trees are embedded with symbolic meaning and are associated with certain seasons. In this demonstration you’ll see these principles come to life in a gorgeous ikebana arrangement,

When: 9:30am daily

 

Cherry Blossom Festival Origami Workshop
Origami paper crane (image courtesy of Cumberland City Council)

Origami Workshop

Got a little one who loves paper craft? Be sure to take them to the daily origami workshops where they can get creative and learn how to make birds, butterflies, flowers and more.

When: 10am daily

 

Cherry Blossom Festival Mini Golf
Harajuku Mini Golf (image courtesy of Cumberland City Council)

Harajuku Mini Golf

Wandering the gardens got you wanting something more active? There’s a cute 9-hole Harajuku inspired mini golf course for kids and kidults looking to get into the swing of things.

When: 10am-4pm daily

 

Cherry Blossom Taiko
YuNiOn Taiko (image courtesy of Cumberland City Council)

YuNiOn Taiko

Did you know that in feudal Japan, taiko (drums) were often used to motivate troops, call out orders or announcements, and set a marching pace? In fact, during the 16th-century, specific drum calls were used to communicate orders for retreating and advancing armies.

Today taiko drumming has a more cultural significance and YuNiOn – a duet group for taiko, percussion and more – takes people on a fun, open and soulful journey through the high-spirited energy of the Japanese taiko drum, blended with percussive sounds and festive song and dance. Catch them performing daily at this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival.

When: 12 noon daily

 

Cocktails served in ice glasses
Cocktails served in ice glasses (image courtesy of Cumberland City Council)

The Izakaya Cocktail Bar

Mum and dad all puffed out after a day of wandering the gardens? Pull up a seat and unwind with a Japanese inspired mocktail, beer, wine, Sake or cocktail served in glasses made of ice! These drinks will definitely bring new meaning to having a cold one!

When: 11am to 4.30pm daily

Peacock
Peacock at Auburn Botanic Gardens (image courtesy of Cumberland City Council)

Looking for more things to do?

Spanning over 9 hectares Auburn Botanic Gardens features a number of native gardens, reserves, and even a playground. Here’s a run-down of some of the attractions worth checking out if you’re looking to make a day of your visit to the gardens.

The Native and Rainforest Garden located in the western part of the Auburn Botanic Gardens near the fauna reserve and amphitheatre. It is a popular setting for organised events including wedding and civil ceremonies and wedding photography.  The Native and Rainforest Garden has numerous native plants and trees around a shady billabong and is bordered by scrub woodland plantings and grassed areas. The area’s wildlife includes Cape Barren Geese, Dusky Moorhens, peacocks and Australian Brush turkeys. The thick canopy of foliage over the rainforest and native garden produces a moist, deep littered leaf mould groundcover. The section is also utilised for Australian themed wedding or civil ceremony and wedding photography.

The Fauna Reserve – located adjacent to the Avenue of Remembrance and the Native and Rainforest Garden. It was opened in 1994 and is home to flora and fauna that was indigenous to the Auburn area before it was developed. Animals in the Fauna Reserve include Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Red-necked Wallabies, Swamp Wallabies, Emus and Common Wombat.

The Aviary – located opposite the entrance to the Botanic Gardens contains a unique range of birds from Australia and the Asia Pacific region. The Aviary is divided into four separate themed areas.

The Scented Garden located in the central part of the Auburn Botanic Gardens and is adjacent to the Avenue of Remembrance. It’s a popular setting for organised events including wedding and civil ceremonies and wedding photography. It was designed so that visitors would be treated to floral aromas such as Frangipani, Lavender and Sage. Key features of the Scented Garden include the Undercover Wedding Pavilion and the Reflection Pool.

The Undercover Wedding Pavilion is a tranquil setting amongst flower beds, an avenue of Liquid Amber Trees and a hedge garden.

The Reflection Pool branches off from the Undercover Wedding Pavilion and is lined on both sides by pine trees. The pine tree at the end of the Reflection Pool is a progeny of the Stone Pine at the Lone Pine Cemetery in Gallipoli. The Reflection Pool is at its most beautiful in autumn.

The Sunken Rose Garden is located in the centre of the Auburn Botanic Gardens and is adjacent to the Scented Garden. The Sunken Rose Garden features ceremonial arches and David Austin Roses with a variety of colours and fragrances. The Sunken Rose Garden is at its most beautiful between October and January.

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Looking for more outdoor venues to visit this Spring? Check out out our article on the best fenced playgrounds for little ones and parks and playgrounds for older kids.

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