Cherry Blossom / Sakura Festival

In traditional Japanese thought, the time of ohanami, or viewing of the cherry blossoms, reminds one of the paradoxically fleeting yet enduring nature of life, which is symbolized in the single moment when a cherry blossom petal detaches itself to float earthward.  In contemporary Japan, friends joyfully gather whenever the cherry trees, called sakura, blossom.

Ohanami is delightful on the UA campus at the corner of University Boulevard and Stadium Drive.  Takemine Mochizuki of Narashino City donated the cherry trees at Shelton State Community College, as well as those in the Narashino Grove of Lurleen Wallace Boulevard.  Also, you can view the lovely cherry blossoms at the UA Arboretum, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and from Interstate 20/59 just east of Skyland Boulevard.

Each year, the CIC, along with the sponsors and participants, holds a Sakura Festival in early spring.  The 30th annual Sakura Festival was held on April 9, 2016 at Midtown Mall in Tuscaloosa.  The program included a null kumdo sword demonstration, karate demonstration, taiko drumming and Okinawan traditional dance  The public was able to learn calligraphy, origami, participate in a Japanese tea ceremony, learn about our sister city, Narashino, and participate in other activities to learn more about Japanese culture.

The 2019 Sakura / Cherry Blossom Festival will be March 23.

Please join us at the Tuscaloosa River Market to learn about Japanese culture and celebrate the beginning of spring!

Please participate in the Haiku contest by submitting your original works by March 1, 2019 using the Haiku Entry Form.


2018 Haiku Contest Winners | Theme: Bloom/Saku

English Category

Adult – First Place – Goran Gatalica
bloom in the valley –
in grandma’s lullaby
hum of bees

Adult – Second Place – Mary Sella
purple violets
dot the hillside
where my father lay

Adult – Third Place – Goran Gatalica
roadside bloom-
in the refugee’s hand
enough sunrise

Adult – Honorable Mention – Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
cherry blossoms-
what was not there

Grades 1-3 – First Place – Jack Berry
The bids sing outside
Pond frogs jump and croak at night
All because of blooms

Grades 7-12 – First Place – Elyse Dinkel
Ink flowing across a page,
Paint sprouting across a canvas,
A melody whistling through the wind.

Grades 7-12 – Second Place – Jer’Howard Paige
As the petals begin to fall, The end is drawing near.
The flower will bloom again,
An endless cycle it is.

Grades 7-12 – Third Place – Elyse Dinkel
After months and months of rain with not a drop of sunshine,
The flowers still manage to open and show their colors,
And so can you.

Grades 7-12 – Honorable Mention – Emily Fretwell
Soon enough things will get better | Soon enough I’ll be okay
Soon enough I’ll smile again | Soon enough I’ll bloom
Soon enough   Right?



Japanese Category

Adult – First Place – Suidoshi
Having lost their master, the Satsuki azaleas still bloom in my father’s garden

Adult – Second Place – Seika Kobayashi
Blooming on the rack, my favorite New Year kimono hangs with year-long creases.

Adult – Third Place – Masako Fukuhara
Stone paved road. Wild mountain violets bloom secretly at the corners.

Grades 4-6 – First Place – Taiyo Onishi
妹の うぶごえ聞いて 命咲く
I hear the first cry of my newborn sister. A life blossoms.

Grades 1-3 – First Place – Rio Hayakawa
ママおきて あさがおたちが わらってる
Wake up, Mom. Morning glories are laughing.

Grades 1-3 – Second Place – Ruka Obara
ヒマワリが わたしのせたけ こえてゆく
Sunflowers are growing beyond my height.