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Connecting those who have served in Japan

The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP) connects past and present service members, families, and government civilians who have served in Japan

Japan-Related Celebrations in the United States

NOTICE: In consideration of the novel coronavirus and public health concerns, many of the upcoming events listed below have been cancelled or postponed for 2020. Please check the event pages for the most up-to-date information as the situation develops.

Enjoy Japanese Culture in the United States

The strong and lasting friendship between the United States and Japan is bolstered not only by strategic military considerations and historical connections, but also community ties. Communities throughout the United States hold Japan-related celebrations inspired by traditional festivals (matsuri), in efforts to strengthen bonds between both nations. These celebrations also serve as learning opportunities for individuals curious about or interested in Japan and Japanese culture, as they often offer activities, performances, demonstrations, and delicious food.

Springtime celebrations of Japanese cherry blossom (sakura) trees have experienced tremendous popularity in the United States. Crowds flock across the country to witness the beauty of the blooming sakura, a symbol now synonymous with the arrival of spring. The most historic of these celebrations is the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., a festival that traces its roots back to 1927 as a commemoration of the gift of more than 3,000 cherry blossom trees sent from Japan in 1912. Ever since, cherry blossom celebrations have grown larger in scale and number throughout the nation. Macon, Georgia, known as the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World,” holds the International Cherry Blossom Festival every March, when the city’s 300,000+ cherry blossom trees bloom. Cherry blossom festivals also take place in Seattle, Nashville, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and more.

Other festivals take inspiration from Japanese cultural traditions, like lantern festivals, traditional New Year’s celebrations, or the Buddhist summer Bon Festival. With the explosion in popularity of Japanese pop culture, conventions have also gained prominence in recent years, attracting fans of anime, manga, J-pop, and more. Some cities also commemorate their relationship with their Japanese sister cities through special celebrations. For example, Newport, Rhode Island and its sister city Shimoda, Japan, both celebrate an annual Black Ships Festival, while Cupertino, California, celebrates and promotes its sister city relationship with Toyokawa, Japan, through an annual cherry blossom festival.

Below, you can find a list of annual Japan-related festivals and celebrations throughout the United States. The list is not comprehensive, so be sure to stay on the lookout for other possible events in your area.

Know of an event we missed? Send us the details:  JUMProgram@spfusa.org.

Northeast
Upcoming Events
April 4-5, 2020: Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival [Philadelphia, PA] CANCELLED
April 25-26, 2020: Brooklyn Botanic Garden Sakura Matsuri [New York City, NY] CANCELLED
April 25-26, 2020: Japan Festival Boston [Boston, MA] CANCELLED
Past Events
May 1-5, 2019: Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival [Buffalo, NY]
May 5, 2019: Cherry Blossom Friendship Festival [Fairhaven, MA]
May 12, 2019: Japan Day [New York City, NY]
August 9-11, 2019: Black Ships Festival [Newport, RI]
October 5, 2019: Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival [Pittsburgh, PA]
Southeast
Upcoming Events
March 20 – April 12, 2020: National Cherry Blossom Festival [Washington, DC] SOME EVENTS CANCELLED
March 27-April 5, 2020: International Cherry Blossom Festival [Macon, GA] CANCELLED
April 4, 2020: Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival [Washington, DC] POSTPONED
April 4, 2020: Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival [Nashville, TN] POSTPONED
April 4-5, 2020: Hatsume Fair [Delray Beach, FL] CANCELLED
May 22, 2020: Daikin Festival [Decatur, AL]
Past Events
June 22, 2019: Tampa Natsumatsuri [Tampa, FL]
August 3, 2019: NC Japan Summer Festival [Raleigh, NC]
August 3, 2019: Charlotte Bon Odori [Charlotte, NC]
August 25, 2019: Greenville Bon Dance Festival [Greenville, SC]
September 21-22, 2019: JapanFest [Atlanta, GA]
September 29, 2019: Memphis Japanese Festival [Memphis, TN]
October 19, 2019: Lantern Festival [Delray Beach, FL]
December, 2019: JASG Bonenkai Holiday [Atlanta, GA]
January 12, 2020: New Year’s Festival [Delray Beach, FL]
January 27, 2020: Japanese New Year’s Festival [Washington, DC]
March 3, 2020: Japan Day at Old Dominion University [Norfolk, VA]
March 21, 2020: Birmingham Cherry Blossom Festival [Birmingham, AL]
Midwest
Upcoming Events
March 14, 2020: Kanpai Chicago Japanese Matsuri [Chicago, IL] POSTPONED
May 17, 2020: Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival [Fort Wayne, IN] CANCELLED
Past Events
June 16, 2019: Japan Festival Chicago [Chicago, IL]
August 9-11, 2019Ginza Holiday Festival [Chicago, IL]
August 18, 2019: Como Park Japanese Obon Festival [Saint Paul, MN]
August 31-September 2, 2019: Missouri Botanical Garden Japanese Festival [St. Louis, MO]
October, 2019: Kansas City Japan Festival [Kansas City, MO]
January 12, 2020: Shinnenkai Celebration [St. Louis, MO]
March 3, 2020: Dublin Japanese Festival [Dublin, OH]
Southwest
Upcoming Events
May 2-3, 2020: Japan Festival Houston [Houston, TX] POSTPONED
Past Events
May 11, 2019: Santa Fe Japan Cultural Festival [Santa Fe, NM]
July 13, 2019: Oita Japan Festival [Austin, TX] 
September 22, 2019: Aki Matsuri [Albuquerque, NM]
October 2019: Aki Matsuri [Austin, TX]
January 12, 2020: Mochitsuki New Year’s Celebration [Dallas, TX]
February 22-23, 2020: Arizona Matsuri [Phoenix, AZ]
West
Upcoming Events
April 11-12, 18-19, 2020: Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival [San Francisco, CA] CANCELLED
April 24-26, 2020: Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival [Seattle, WA] CANCELLED
April 25, 2020: Nihon Matsuri [Salt Lake City, UT] CANCELLED
April 25-26, 2020: Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival [Monterey Park, CA] CANCELLED
April 25-26, 2020: Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival [Cupertino, CA] CANCELLED
April 26, 2020: Nikkei Matsuri [San Jose, CA] CANCELLED
Past Events
May 5, 2019: Children’s Day [Portland, OR]
May 19, 2019: Sonoma County Matsuri Festival [Santa Rosa, CA]
May 25, 2019: Anaheim Japan Fair [Anaheim, CA]
June 7-9, 2019: Pan-Pacific Festival [Honolulu, HI]
June 22-23, 2019Cherry Blossom Festival [Denver, CO]
June 29-30, 2019: Japan Fair [Bellevue, WA]
July 7, 2019: Tanabata Star Festival [Portland, OR]
August 3, 2019: ObonFest [Portland, OR]
August 10-11, 2019: Japanese Food & Cultural Bazaar [Sacramento, CA]
August 10-18, 2019: Nisei Week [Los Angeles, CA]
September, 2019: O-Tsukimi Moonviewing Festival [Portland, OR]
October 18, 2019: Matsuri Kauai [Honolulu, HI]
October 26, 2019: Akimatsuri [Las Vegas, NV]
January 12, 2020: New Year’s ‘Ohana Festival [Honolulu, HI]
January 26, 2020: Portland Mochitsuki [Portland, OR]
March 13-15, 2020: Orange County Cherry Blossom Festival [Huntington Beach, CA] CANCELLED

(Washington D.C. photo by Joy Champaloux.)

If you would like to submit an event to our list, please e-mail us at jump@spfusa.org.

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