Para Para Sakura: Gardens by the Bay Welcomes Spring with Sakura Matsuri
Singapore may only have one season throughout the year, but for Gardens by the Bay, sakura season has descended again, and visitors can once again head down to the Flower Dome to celebrate spring with a medley of pink cherry blossoms in bloom from now till 8th April.
On the display’s inception, Gardens Deputy CEO Ms Peggy Chong says: “Singaporeans love beautiful things, but not everyone has a chance to travel to see them. We first decided to try bringing in sakura two years ago and we were all very afraid the blossoms wouldn’t open up, especially in this kind of tropical climate. But with its success, we got more confident, and each year has only grown further. People have to remember that we’re the people’s garden, so we need to ensure we always have quality, unique displays for people to see, and in the world of plants, there are always new things we can still introduce to Singapore.”
This year’s edition will feature 23 different varieties of cherry blossoms from both Japan and Europe, including the romantic ‘Snow Blossom’ with its weeping form, and ‘Accolade’ with bright pink blooms. Assisted by landscape designer Mr Satoshi Kokubun, each of the 23 varieties were specially chosen such that there would always be at least one variety in bloom at any point during the floral display. Said Satoshi: “It takes a lot of careful planning in setting up a display like this, because we also have to plan when to uproot and transport the trees and make sure they bloom at the right time. Ultimately, we hope visitors walk away feeling like they’ve been to Japan, and even get encouraged to come visit Japan in future!”
Although this is the third time the Gardens are doing their cherry blossom display, for the first time, visitors can look forward to a full on Japanese tie-in, as they scale up the celebration to become a Sakura Matsuri festival, complete with a backdrop of shrine gates and Japanese bridges. Over opening weekend, the Gardens welcomed celebrity cosplayers, anisong performers and even a Pikachu dance parade as the Supertree Grove was transformed into an Anime Garden, while charming sakura bonsai and even kimono-clad lifelike dolls on loan from specialists made appearances as well.
Says Peggy: “We decided to do a Japanese festival because we wanted to draw in younger visitors as well. For example, maybe your mother would enjoy appreciating the sakuras, but what about your younger siblings? We try to have something for everybody to enjoy.”
Even though Anime Garden weekend is over, visitors can still take part in many more cultural activities over the course of the festival with the Flower Dome programmes organised in partnership with the Japan Creative Centre. Some of these activities include taking part in Japanese tea ceremony demonstrations, Kendo demonstrations and even a kimono parade.
At the end of the month, in partnership with JTB, the Flower Dome will even be playing host to a special Sakura Japan Fair from 30th March to 8th April, and visitors will get a chance to take part in various workshops and watch performances, such as sake appreciation, a Shinobue flute and dance performance and even rent yukatas for photo taking.
Of course, no event is complete without food, and visitors can also expect to see F&B outlets such as Samurice and Japan Rail Cafe hawk their products at the fair as well, alongside various retailers from various prefectures to introduce Japanese specialty produce for guests to purchase.
This March, come on down to the Flower Dome to experience a taste of Japan in a cherry blossom festival that’s more robust than ever. Awash in a flurry of pink petals every day of the display, you’ll swear that you’ve somehow stepped into the land of the rising sun itself as you take some beautiful photos, sip tea and hanami (appreciate flowers) in true style at Gardens by the Bay’s 2018 Sakura Matsuri.
Gardens by the Bay’s Sakura Matsuri Festival takes place at the Flower Dome till 8th April 2018. To prebook tickets and for the full lineup of events, visit their website here