Escapes: Japanese culture on display in San Francisco

The 48th annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival spotlights traditional Japanese customs in San Francisco’s Japantown.
The 48th annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival spotlights traditional Japanese customs in San Francisco’s Japantown. Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival


Cherry Blossom Festival

Spanning two weekends, the 48th annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival will once again spotlight traditional Japanese customs in San Francisco’s Japantown.

More than 200,000 people are expected to attend this celebration of the Japanese American community, which takes place April 11-12and April 19-20. Expect to see taiko drumming, karate demonstrations and other performances on the central stage on Peace Plaza, at 1610 Geary Blvd. Meanwhile, there’s a stage at the Japanese Cultural Community Center, 1840 Sutter St., featuring singers, ukulele-players and other traditional musicians.

But the highlight will be the grand parade at 1 p.m. April 19, beginning at the Civic Center and ending up in Japantown. Taiko drummers, classical and folk dance troupes and colorful floats will roam the streets. The parade and most of the festival’s events are free. Full schedule:


Boat show

What: The West Coast’s biggest all-sailboat show will dock at Jack London Square for four days, with new boat premiers, more than 90 free seminars and workshops, hands-on sailing clinics for beginners and more.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. April 9-10; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 12

Where: Jack London Square

Cost: $15-$45, free for kids 12 and under




What: At this Family Astronomy Evening, guests will explore what goes on in the night sky. After some education activities, move to Larkey Park to see what you’ve learned.

When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 10

Where: Lindsay Wildlife Museum, 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek

Cost: $10 suggested donation per family



Art appreciation

What: The goal of Slow Art Day is to take some serious time to enjoy art, even if you know nothing about it. Celebrate it at di Rosa, a public museum and sculpture park on the former estate of philanthropist, art collector and vineyardist Rene di Rosa, with a guided look at five pieces of art for 5 to 10 minutes each. Bring your own lunch, and discuss the experience over a picnic. RSVP is required.

When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 11

Where: di Rosa, 5200 Carneros Hwy., Napa

Cost: $12

Information: (707) 226-5991 x25;


Fisherman’s festival

What: The 42nd annual Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival kicks off salmon season with live music, craft booths, entertainment and a showcase of local cuisine.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 11-12

Where: Westside Park, Westshore Road, Bodega Bay

Cost: $12 general, $10 seniors, free for kids under 12



Play day

What: When there’s no snow at Tahoe Donner’s Snowplay, it becomes “Grassplay.” The last day of activities will offer family-fun activities, such as corn hole and disc golf, along with a barbecue and live music.

When: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. April 12

Where: Tahoe Donner, 12790 Northwoods Blvd., Truckee

Cost: Free


Bee Staff