San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival: 2024 Event Details

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: April 9, 2024

The Japantown neighborhood comes to life in the spring when the cherry blossoms start to bloom. This is also when more than 200,000 people flock to this little district for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

The San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival started in 1967. Since then, it's grown to be one of the largest cherry blossom festivals in the US.

The 2024 festival will be held on two weekends, April 13 - 14 and April 20 - 21.

This celebration includes traditional music, dance, and other cultural activities.

During the festival, you can sample a variety of Japanese and Japanese-American culinary treats. These include popular dishes such as fresh sushi, tempura, and chicken or beef teriyaki.

There is also a wonderful parade on the afternoon of Sunday, April 21. It starts at 1 pm at the Civic Center Plaza and ends at Japantown near Post and Fillmore Streets. 

Three Images of the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco

Most of the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival events are held on Post Street between Laguna and Fillmore Streets.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

Events at the 2024 Festival

This year, you will find a variety of events at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown. Here are just a few of the types of events you can enjoy.

The peace pagoda in San Francisco's Japantown

Live Music & Taiko Drum Performances

On their Peace Plaza main stage, you will find a variety of performances throughout both weekends of this festival. They haven't released this year's entertainment line up as of today, but you can check out last year's schedule here to give you an idea on what to expect. 

The Taiko Drum performances are one of my favorite things to see each year at the Cherry Blossom Festival.

The taiko drum was originally used as a way to ward off evil spirits and pests from harming the crops. Over the years, it was used less frequently in the Japanese culture and this art faded away.

However, in recent years, taiko drum enthusiasts began a revival effort and now it's performed in Japanese cultures throughout the world.

Here are a few pictures of them in action from when I attended in year's past.

Taiko dojo performance at the Cherry Blossom Festival
The Taiko Dojo performance at the annual SF Cherry Blossom Festival.
Taiko Dojo on the Peace Plaza Stage in SF's Japantown

Japanese Music and Dance

Another highlight of the festival is the traditional Japanese music and dance. You will get the chance to listen to the music from a koto, or Japanese harp. This is one of the most popular Japanese musical instruments.

You also get the chance to see minyo, a traditional Japanese folk dance and song that has been handed down from generation to generation and has evolved over the years.

They usually have several performances both weekends.

Chanoyu - The Tea Ceremony

Another traditional Japanese art is the Tea Ceremony. Throughout the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival, you'll get the chance to watch and learn more about this well-known Japanese ceremony.

Children's Cherry Blossom Village

This year's Children's Cherry Blossom Village offers a great area for fun games and hands on entertainment for the kids.

The village is open from 11 am to 4 pm on April 13, 14 & 20. It will not be open on April 21, as this coincides with their large grand parade.

You will find games, crafts, a jumpy house, and other kids activities.

Arts & Crafts Shopping Area

The Arts and Crafts area is an outdoor marketplace with Japanese and Asian inspired arts and crafts from a select list of local and national artists.

Some of the vendors you can expect in 2024 include:

  • Old River Design Co.
  • Sakuradragon
  • Future Bloom
  • The Real Insect Company
  • Holidaypop
  • Jade Chocolates
  • Rose Gold Jelly
  • Kotas Kreations
  • and many more! 

Schedule of Events on the Main Stage

On 4/11/2024, they announced their full schedule for this year on their main Peace Plaza Stage. Unfortunately, the graphic they posted is too small and blurry to read what is planned for this year. You can view it here.

Since I can't really read this graphic they posted, I left last year's events listed below. It will give you some idea on what to expect, but I think you will need to go to the festival to get a real schedule of events for 2024.

Below you will find the schedule for the first weekend on the Peace Plaza Stage. This is where many of the largest performances are held and they are very popular.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

  • 12:00 pm: Jiten Daiko
  • 12:30 pm: Opening Ceremony
  • 1:15 pm: Student Scholarship Winners
  • 1:30: Sakura Minyo Doo Koo Kai
  • 2:00 pm: Northern California Naginata
  • 2:30 pm: Essence with Masayuki Koga
  • 3:00 pm: Nihon Buyo Kiyonomoto
  • 4:00 pm: Peaceful Forest ~ Takumi Kato
  • 4:30 pm: World Oyama Karate
  • 5:00 pm: SF Nipponto Society

Sunday, April 9, 2023 

  • 12:30 pm: GenRyu Arts
  • 1:00 pm: Suio Ryu Iai Kenpo
  • 1:30 pm: YOYOKA
  • 2:30 pm: 2023 Queen & Court Introductions
  • 3:30 pm: Ensohza Minyoshu 
  • 4:00 pm: Shigin Groups
  • 4:30 pm: Nijikko Dance
  • 5:00 pm: Kendama

Here is last year's schedule for the Peace Plaza Stage for the second weekend:

Saturday, April 15, 2023

  • 12:00 pm: Northern California Okinawa Kenjin Kai
  • 12:30 pm: Zanshin Dojo
  • 1:00 pm: Wesley Ukulele Band
  • 1:30 pm: Grass Valley Taiko
  • 2:00 pm: Theatre of Yugen
  • 2:30 pm: Rosa Parks Elementary School Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program
  • 3:00 pm: Female Leaders from Nisei Week & Cherry Blossom Festival Hawaii
  • 3:30 pm: Drum Revolution, Taiko Drums
  • 4:00 pm: Kazanami Yosakoi Dance Showcase

Sunday, April 16, 2023

  • 11:00 am: SF Kendo
  • 12:00 pm: Enshin Karate
  • 12:30 pm: Shorinji Kempo
  • 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm: Grand Parade, no performances on this stage
  • 3:30 pm: Sakura Ren
  • 4:00 pm: Dream Show: Japanese Culture through Cosplay
  • 5:15 pm: NCCBF Raffle Drawing

You will find dozens of other performances at this year's event. Visit the official Cherry Blossom site for a full schedule of events and to check for any last minute changes.

San Francisco Hotels

Are you still looking for a hotel for your stay? Here are several recommendations based on budget, amenities, and neighborhood.

BookingFind great deals all around San Francisco for your upcoming stay

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VRBO: In addition to hotels, you'll also find some great places to stay locally through VRBO. Book an apartment or a room and feel more like a local. Find some great places to stay on VRBO here

Tips for Visiting Japantown

Are you looking for other things to do in Japantown? Do you need a hotel near the festival?

On this page, you'll find out about other top activities, top hotels, and some of my favorite restaurants in this SF neighborhood. You will also find the best public transportation options to get to the festival.

Learn More: Japantown

More Fun Events in April

SF Giants: The San Francisco Giants kick of their season in early April. Get ready to watch exciting games at Oracle Park in SF's SoMa District! Click here for additional details.

SF Theater: Every month in SF, you will find a variety of theater productions. They range from well known shows such as the The Lion King and Hamilton, to smaller performances in intimate settings. Click here for ticketing details and the full theater calendar for this April.

Free SF Events: Did you know that SF has dozens of free events every week? You will find events large and small all year long. To make it easier to find the most popular, I created a list of the 101 best free events in SF. Click here to learn more!

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Cherry Blossom Festival

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