This Burnaby festival heralds the return of the cherry blossoms

The cherry blossoms are coming. Really they are.

And with them comes O Hanami, the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre’s annual spring festival. It’s coming Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6.

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“As the cherry blossom season unfurls, it is that wonderful and uplifting time of the year for family and friends to gather and celebrate spring,” says a press release from the centre.

The festival starts Friday evening, from 6 to 10 p.m., for adults (aged 19 and up). Admission is free, and visitors can take in performances, demonstrations, displays, food and shops showcasing Japanese art and culture. Friday’s highlights include a rare opportunity to watch an Oiran dressing demonstration – Oiran were high-ranking courtesans from the Edo era – followed by a procession of courtesans; a poetry performance by Soramaru; music by DJ Rennie Foster; a meditation workshop by Zen Centre of Vancouver; and Nikkei Izakaya (Japanese pub). You can nosh on classic Japanese pub menu items such as sushi, oden, yakisoba, yakitori, tebasaki chicken, edamame, beer, sake and wine.

On Saturday, April 6, people of all ages can enjoy a family-friendly day of performances, martial arts demonstrations, kimono dressing, a tea ceremony, bookstore, food vendors and more. You can shop for a variety of Japanese-inspired items and savour a range of Japanese dishes. There will also be an outdoor play area for children.

Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre is at 6688 Southoaks Cres. (near the corner of Kingsway and Sperling Avenue). See centre.nikkeiplace.org for more details or call 604-777-7000.

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