Blossoms, Culture & Great Eats at Sakura Days Japan Fair – April 6-7

VanDusen's blossoms. Photo credit: Konstantin Egorov

VanDusen’s blossoms. Photo credit: Konstantin Egorov

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is underway. One of the most interesting and tasty festival events is Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Botanical Garden (5151 Oat Street) Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7.

Sakura means blossom in Japanese. The venue, VanDusen, is a gorgeous spot for doing some “hanami” (blossom viewing). The family-friendly Sakura Days event line-up offers many opportunities to learn more about Vancouver’s Japanese cultural heritage. There will be all sorts of fun activities including origami, bonsai tree demos, martial arts demos, ikebana (flower-arranging classes), singing, taiko drumming and kimono 101.

On the food front, attendees get to watch a traditional tea ceremony and get involved with sake/Japanese beer tastings. The food vendor area has a ton of tempting Japanese eats including ramen, yakisoba, chirashizushi, takoyaki (incredibly popular octopus scallion pancake balls), red bean paste sweets, waffles and street eats by Mogu food truck and Japadog.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 10.34.57 AMFind the enlarged map here.

The deadline to buy tickets for Sakura Days Japan Fair online has been extended until 12pm today. You can also buy tickets at the gate. Tickets for adults are $10.50 in advance and $12.00 at the gate. Youth (13-18 years old) tickets are $8.00 online and $9.00 at the gate. Kids (5-13) tickets are $5.50 online and $6.50 at the gate.

The event goes down rain or shine 10am-5pm, April 6-7. Sakura Days says: “The garden grass is wet, so please wear suitable shoes/boots tomorrow.” Parking will be limited. For details on public transport, check Japanfairvancouver.com.

Looking for more Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2013 events and activities? Browse the event calendar below.

Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 2013 Event Calendar

  • SAKURA DAYS JAPAN FAIR, APRIL 6 & 7      
    10:00am – 5:00pm VanDusen Botanical Garden. A two-day family friendly event at the new Visitor’s Centre celebrating modern and traditional Japan through workshops, cultural arts demonstrations, performances and cuisine.
  • SAKURA WESTCOAST AFTERNOON TEA SERVICE AT THE URBAN TEA MERCHANT, THROUGH APRIL 30
    The Urban Tea Merchant is offering Sakura Westcoast Afternoon Tea for $38 per person through April 30. Crook a pinkie as you sip TWG’s Sakura! Sakura! green tea enhanced with a scattering of cherry blossoms. The savories are also Japan-inspired. The chef upgrades finger sandwiches to sophisticated bites such as miso-maple glazed sable fish in butter lettuce and wasabi and smoked salmon with ponzu jelly. Finish with matcha madeleines as you watch the cherry blossoms drift down in the Alberni courtyard. (1070 West Georgia Street)
  • PLEIN-AIR BLOSSOM PAINTING CLASSES, APRIL 6, 13, 20 & 27
    11:00am – 2:00pm at VanDusen Botanical Garden. Alfonso Tejada and a team of Federation of Canadian Artists painters present “painting in the open air” workshops that will bring community to budding and seasoned artists, who usually paint in isolation.
  • HAIKU INVITATIONAL, THROUGH JUNE 3
    An online international literary contest inviting individuals to express their personal cherry blossom moments in Haiku form. Judged by Terry Ann Carter.
  • SAKURA CHERRY BLOSSOM MENUS AT VANCOUVER JAPANESE RESTAURANTS, THROUGH APRIL 30
    Yes, you can eat cherry blossoms. Let an expert show you how to prepare them. A select group of Vancouver chefs have integrated cherry blossoms into a menu item. Minami, an aburi (seared) sushi restaurant (1118 Mainland St.) has a pale pink Sakura Roll with pickled blossoms and Amberjack fish. Tojo’s is offering a seafood salad with a cherry mentaiko vinaigrette. According to the Vancouver Sun’s Word of Mouth Blog, the restaurant imported blossoms from Kyoto, paying .70 cents to $1 per blossom for their distinctive flavour (1133 West Broadway). Sakura-themed menu items are available through April 30. Visit Japanfairvancouver.com for more sakura menus.
  • BLOSSOM BIOLOGY WORKSHOP, APRIL 11   
    7:30pm – 9:00pm at VanDusen Botanical Garden. Douglas Justice, Associate Director and Curator of Collections at UBC Botanical Garden, leads a free educational workshop covering basic botanical terms and techniques for identifying different cherry species and cultivars, along with the history, culture and horticultural background of our flowering cherry trees.
  • BC BLOSSOM WATCH PHOTO CONTEST, THROUGH APRIL 30
    An online photo contest that inspires British Columbians to capture the natural beauty of cherry blossoms and the joy they bring. Presented by TravelSmart. Top prize: $250 MEC gift certificate; Second Prize: A return trip between Vancouver and Whistler for two adults on Pacific Coach Lines. Daily prizes from Blenz Coffee.
  • CHERRY BLOSSOM HIGH TEA AT SHANGRI LA’S XI SHI LOUNGE, THROUGH APRIL 30
    Xi Shi Lounge (1128 West Georgia St.) upgrades their lovely afternoon high tea service with cherry-themed and/or pink treats such as cherry frangipane tart, cherry blossom madeleines and rhubarb strawberry trifle, alongside the regular menu of savouries.
  • WORLD UMBRELLA DANCE, APRIL 13
    12:45pmat Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza. Hundreds of dancers with VCBF Pop-Art umbrellas will dance to Shiamak Davar’s exciting new choreography and release, “Shabop” (Dance without worry and celebrate life!) Features live Tetsu Taiko drumming.
  • HAIKU WORKSHOP, APRIL 22
    6:30pm at VPL Main Branch. Learn the myths and realities of haiku poetry and some of its history in Japan, and explore techniques such as seasonal reference and trusting the image with Michael Dylan Welch.
  • HAIKU INVITATIONAL, APRIL 25
    Celebrity reading by Christopher Gaze plus Vancouver Symphony Orchestra ‘Tea and Trumpets’ Concert.
  • TREE TALKS AND WALKS, THROUGH APRIL 27
    Guided walks to discover historical, horticultural and cultural features of the cherry tree and other extraordinary trees. Find dates an locations here.
  • BIKE THE BLOSSOMS, APRIL 27
    11:00am – 3:00pm starting at China Creek South. Ride under the blossoms with Parks Board Arborist Bill Stephen as your guide. Presented by Velopalooza.
  • SAKURA ILLUMINATION TOUR, THROUGH APRIL 30
    8:00pm – 10:00pm. Stuart Ward of Hfour Design presents a mobile night time illumination of select cherry trees after dark. Weather & bloom permitting. Various locations. See website for details.

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