Student Guide to the 2016 Cherry Blossom Festival


(Savannah Norton/Fourth Estate)

(Savannah Norton/Fourth Estate)

Cynthia Jessup, Staff Writer

Prepare yourself for massive crowds and beautiful trees at this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival, a time-honored tradition held in Washington, D.C., and a must-see for locals. The trees will be in bloom from March 20 – April 17, with peak blooms predicted for March 17-28. The festival features seven different hybrids of cherry blossom trees, which will line the streets and neighborhoods around the area of the festival.

From Mason’s Fairfax campus, you can ride the Mason Shuttle to the Vienna Metro and take the Orange Line right to the heart of the festival at the Smithsonian stop. Check the event’s website for Metro fare listings and a map that includes local dining areas and museums.

Many events will be held in celebration of Japanese culture and the United States’ friendship with the country. Here are some events to keep in mind as you plan your trip. And, be sure to share pics with us at @gmufourthestate, using the hashtag #masonblossom.

Sat., March 26

Opening Ceremony

Time: 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Location: Warner Theatre, 513 13th Street, NW

Start off your trip on the right foot by attending the opening ceremony and witness world-renowned performers at Warner Theater as we begin to celebrate.

Closest Metro Stop: Metro Center

Mon., March 28

GAMARJOBAT: A Shut Up (Silent) Comedy from Japan 

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Location: Japan Information and Culture Center, 1150 18th St. NW, Ste. 100, Washington, D.C. 20036

GAMARJOBAT, the world-renowned, mohawk-sporting pantomime duo from Japan, is known for fascinating audiences with thoroughly-plotted acts and explosive energy — without saying a word. Seating is limited and free registration is required. All ages are welcome.

Closest Metro Stop: Farragut North

Wed., March 30

Tsugaru Shamisen Dois “HAZUKI”

Time: 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Location: Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20566

Join the JICC at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage for the return of Ko Takahashi and Misao Habu as Tsugaru Shamisen Dois HAZUKI. Each playing shamisen – a traditional Japanese instrument from the late Meiji period – the duo has created a new fusion of percussive tsugaru-style shamisen music with the addition of a synthesizer, cello and drums. Cherishing old traditions while creating new music, this duo combines traditional Japanese folk songs with fresh new sounds for a truly original performance. The performance is open to all ages.

Closest Metro Stop: Foggy Bottom

Sat., April 9

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival

Time: 1 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Location: Southwest Waterfront 600 Water Street, SW to the Waterfront Park and Titanic Memorial

All ages are welcome to enjoy live music and entertainment right along the Potomac River. The fireworks display begins at 8:30 p.m. Keep an out for cherry blossom fireworks!

Closest Metro Stop: Waterfront

Sat., April 16

National Cherry Blossom Parade

Enjoy this long-standing Washington tradition featuring extravagant floats, huge helium balloons, marching bands and family entertainment.

Cherry Blast

Time: 6 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Location: Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, 801 K St. NW, Washington D.C. 20001

Every spring, this vibrant gathering proves a popular combination of Japanese sights, sounds and tastes, and now an infusion of pop culture. From Manga and gaming, to electric drifting competitions, visitors can enjoy an array of activities. Participate in cosplay contests and learn about the latest Japanese fashion trends. Visitors can also sample Tokyo street food and sake, and participate in sushi-making workshops. Saving the best for last, discover D.C.’s largest Japanese-inspired dance party at the end of the night, which showcases Asia’s alluring club and techno scenes.

Closest Metro Stops: Mount Vernon Square and Gallery Place-Chinatown

Get tickets here.