Experience a Slice of Japan in San Francisco at The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival | San Francisco Travel
The Peace Pagoda in Japantown
Japantown's five-tier Peace Pagoda was designed by architect Yoshiro Taniguchi.

Experience a Slice of Japan in San Francisco at The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival

One of the largest Japanese festivals in the US blankets San Francisco’s Japantown this April

San Francisco (April 12, 2024) – Transporting visitors to the enchanting streets of Japan without leaving San Francisco, the annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is back for its 57th year, celebrating Japanese and Japanese American culture and heritage. Spread over two weekends in April, Saturday 13th - Sunday 14th and Saturday 20th - Sunday 21st, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the largest Japanese American festivals in the United States, promising an unforgettable experience by offering an immersive celebration of the city’s vibrant Japanese community.

While San Francisco’s Chinatown is world-famous, the city’s Japantown neighborhood is one of its hidden gems. First settled in the early 1860s, San Francisco’s Japantown is one of only three Japantowns remaining in the U.S. Generations of Japanese immigrants and their descendants have kept a slice of Japan thriving 5,000 miles away in San Francisco, where visitors can immerse themselves in Japanese culture via an endless array of authentic artists, performers, and cuisines, all within a six-block area in the Western Addition district.

San Francisco Travel Association’s top picks for enjoying this year’s Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival:

Where to stay: In late 2022, Kimpton Hotel Enso opened in the heart of Japantown. The 131-room hotel features designs inspired by modern Japanese homes. It joins Hotel Kabuki as one of two Japanese-inspired hotels in the neighborhood.

Where to eat: Japantown has recently welcomed an array of new culinary experiences including Endomasa, a legendary Tokyo yakitori shop which has enjoyed nearly a century of success in Japan and has since moved stateside to San Francisco, opening in Japantown in October 2023. The restaurant, famous for its secret-recipe chicken skewers, includes a nod to its past in Tokyo, with a bar top built from the original 100-year-old stall where it first began.

Where to visit: Paper Tree is a family-owned and operated origami store that has been a staple in the neighborhood for over 50 years. The Mihara family opened the store and published one of the first origami books in English in the 1950s. Now, the store is run by Linda Mihara, an award-winning origami artist, whose art is featured throughout the store. In September 2023, Paper Tree partnered with Adobe to create a free cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) origami tour, allowing visitors to explore Japantown’s Buchana street in a fun and innovative way.

Neighborhood Attractions: Visitors can take a culinary journey through the neighborhood with the Edible Excursions Food Tour, where they can sample a bento box of savory salads from the locally owned Japanese market, super mira onigiri (rice balls) from the family-run Kissako Tea, takotai (Japanese street food) from Yama-Chan, a matcha soft-serve boba sundae from Matcha Cafe Maiko and steaming bowls of ramen from Hinodeya Ramen Bar.

Neighborhood Spa: Kabuki Springs & Spa is a Japanese-inspired bathhouse and spa that has been in the neighborhood for more than 50 years. In addition to the Japanese-style bathhouse’s hot and cold bathing experiences, the spa also offers a range of facials and massages.

Japanese attractions outside of Japantown: Not to be missed is the 109-year-old Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park and its pagoda, recently restored to its former glory with traditional bells and giboshi (ornamental finial custom-made in Niigata, Japan). The pagoda is one of the few surviving structures from the 1915 World Fair hosted in San Francisco, and the 128-year-old Japanese Tea Garden is the oldest public Japanese garden in the U.S. Outside of the Tea Garden, visitors can enjoy the more than 4,500 cherry blossom trees scattered across San Francisco and bloom all spring long – from March to May.


San Francisco Travel is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. The city is one of the top tourism and meetings destinations in the U.S., attracting over 23 million visitors annually. In 2023, total visitor-related spending contributed $9.3 billion into the San Francisco economy and supported nearly 63,000 jobs.

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