Founded on a sunny afternoon on the warm grass of Seattle’s Seward Park on May 8, 1976, the Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival was moved to the Seattle Center in 1978 and has grown to become a three-day celebration enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people over the decades.
Over the years, the award winning non-profit Festival remains a free, life-enriching experience. It is dedicated to increasing the understanding and friendship between the people of Japan and the Pacific Northwest. As a public service, the Festival presents culturally educational programs, arts, technologies, and the rich heritage of Japan. Join us in celebrating the beautiful sakura, cherry tree, and the culturally entertaining and education blossom it inspires each year: the Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival. Long may it blossom in your heart!
The Festival was initiated by a gift of 1,000 cherry trees that were given to Seattle on May 8, 1976, by Japan’s former Prime Minister, Takeo Miki, in commemoration of America’s bicentennial and the long friendship between the people of Japan and Washington state. Today, the Festival is the largest and oldest of its kind in the Northwest. Hanami, cherry blossom viewing, is a reminder to celebrate life, and the pink petals carried on the breeze at the first Festival engendered that thought. People sat on the grass, eating from sack lunches, enjoying traditional Japanese music and dances performed free on a temporary stage.
The festival is administered by an unpaid board of directors and no paid staff. Each earned dollar goes directly to the programming and operations. Donations are gladly accepted so that we can continue to bring to the people of the Pacific Northwest this annual FREE event.
The Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival Committee is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. Donations may be tax deductible. Please check with your tax professional.