Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival: A Perfect Spring Event

Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival Featured

It seems like Nashville has some kind of festival every weekend.  Beer festivals, food festivals, wine festivals; there is a festival for everything.  It is easy to get burnt out on the whole festival thing, but there is one Nashville Spring festival you shouldn’t miss. The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival! This post contains affiliate links.

Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival Public Square Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival

Held in Spring, the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of Japanese culture.  Public Square in Nashville turns into a beautiful festival grounds full of  musicians, entertainers, and other exhibits. It provides a fantastic opportunity to interact with and learn about Japanese culture. 2017 was the 9th year of this festival and it had an incredible turn out.

Nashville Tennessee Cherry Blossom Festival Crowd 2017

Kicking off the Festival

The festival started at 9:00 am with a 2.5 mile Cherry Blossom Walk. The Cherry Blossom Walk begins and ends at Public Square and follows the Cumberland River Greenway, looping at Sister Cities’ Magdeburg Connector to Morgan Park in Germantown.

Cherry Blossom Nashville Tennessee

After the walk the first performer was Kaminari Taiko of Houston, a Japanese Drumming Ensemble.  They were followed up by a welcome to the festival, a partner spotlight, and a few other things that we missed because we decided to walk around and see some more of the festival.

Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival Crowd

Exploring

After the initial performance and welcome, we walked the grounds for a bit to see the vendors and informational booths. My favorites were the Nashville Bonsai Society and Tennessee Foreign Language Institute booths. Watching the Inflatable Suit Sumo Wrestling was pretty hilarious too! However, my favorite part of the day was sitting under the cherry trees near the back and people watching!  Everyone was having a great time.

Butterfly girl Cherry Tree

Nashcille Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

 

Lunch

A bit of advice, don’t wait until you are hungry to start looking for food.  By 12:30 I was starving; we walked down to the road to see what we could find from a food truck.  There were a lot of them there, and being lunch time the lines were ridiculously long. Some of my favorite food trucks were on site (Funk Seoul Brother, Hoss’ Loaded Burgers, Bajo Sexto Taco), but making our decision basically came down to jumping in the line we were closest to.  Did I mention the lines were really really long? We ended up eating at Hibachi 4 Hire which turned out to be really tasty!  I hope to see them at some other festivals.

Food Truck Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival

Hibachi Chef Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

Cosplay Contest

Another really fun thing that happens at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is a Cosplay Contest.  If you are unfamiliar with cosplay, it is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime. There were a lot of people in some incredibly elaborate costumes. I won’t pretend to know what most of the costumes were, but these folks put a lot of work into them and it shows.  The winner of the Cosplay contest received an airline ticket to Japan, and the runners up received passes to other conventions that are coming up soon.

Cosplay Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

Cosplay Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

Cosplay Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

Drums and Things

By late afternoon, we were pretty exhausted, but we wanted to stick around to see another performance by Kaminari Taiko. We made our way to the front and got comfortable.  Their drumming show is amazing! We decided to head home after this show and it was the perfect way to close the day for me.  I wish we could have seen a few of the other performances like: Kent Family Circus and the Japanese Festival Dance with the Consulate General of Japan.  Maybe next year.

 Kaminari Taiko of Houston

 Kaminari Taiko of Houston Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

 

Tips to make the best of the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival

Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival 2017

Wear Sunblock. Sure it is early April and the weather is amazing, but if you are anything like me you will get sunburned.

Try to eat early or late, but don’t wait until you are starving to get in line for food.

Check the website ahead of time and make a plan for what you want to see.  Get to the stage early if you want to be close.  The seating area fills up fast.

Wear comfortable shoes, there is a lot of walking.

Try something new. Take advantage of the opportunities at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival to be adventurous.

Next Year?

Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is a great experience.  I can’t wait to see what they do for their 10th anniversary next year!  I’ll be there, will you?  Tell us your favorite things about the festival in the comments.

Held in Spring, the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of Japanese culture. Public Square in Nashville turns into a beautiful festival grounds full of musicians, entertainers, and educators. It provides a fantastic opportunity to interact with and learn about a Japanese culture.

23 Comment

  1. How surprising to see a Japanese festival in Nashville! Thanks for sharing.

  2. The cosplay contest looks like so much fun! Any idea if they’ll do anything special for the 10th anniversary?

  3. Beautiful photos and lovely write-up. Reminds me of the cherry blossom festival we went to last year in Salt Lake City – there was also a cosplay contest as well! Super fun. I used to cosplay a bit but nothing as extravagant as a lot of people get into. I’m always super impressed at the costumes and props that people make, it’s incredible!

  4. This truly looks like a lot of fun. It is interesting to see how cherry blossom festival is spreading and bringing joy and fun to the people! this is what its all about and finally the cherry blossom is here. we missed this some weeks ago in Washington since the snow and winter came back.
    Good tips that you also give here, cool post with beautiful impressions.

  5. Very nice article, I would certainly go if I wouldn’t live that far away! Who knows maybe one day.
    The cosplay looks fun, I spotted this guy with the huge sword which is known has the hero of Final fantasy 7 ;)…Great idea, I hope he won!

  6. Huh, who knew that Nashville had so many different things to do! The cosplay contest looks like something out of a comic-con in San Deigo.

  7. This festival looks very interesting and entertaining. what makes it more special its a Japani festival and blossomed in Nashville. You have covered it very well.

  8. Sounds like such a blast, and so beautiful! Thanks for sharing the experience 🙂

    1. It really was! I’m looking forward to next year’s event already.

  9. WHAT?!?! I didn’t realize Nashville had a Cherry Blossom Festival! I’ve been to the one in DC a few times and always had a great time. I’ll have to look into Nashville’s version next spring. Thanks for the post!

    1. I’ve always wanted to go to the one in DC. It looks incredible!

  10. Nashville seems like an amazing place with all those festivals all the time! Seems like its always such much to do! . The cherry blossom festival sounds amazing, you dont have to go to Japan to celebrate it! great post

  11. I love cherry blossom festivals! Looks like Nashville had an amazing turnout. We just had a few events here recently and they were absolutely amazing. Love spring!

  12. Who needs to trek all the way to Japan to see the Cheery Blossom!?This festival looks like great fun, and I bet they really pull out all the stops for the 10th celebration next year.

  13. I don’t think I would’ve guessed that there would be a cherry blossom festival in Nashville. But I love how it’s a full-force celebration with cosplay and drummers! Looks like a ton of fun and an amazing time.

  14. It is interesting to see the cherry blossom festival celebrated in Nashville. I loved the photos and those cosplay costumes look awesome (even though I don’t know the meaning behind them).

  15. The cherry blossom festival looks like a pretty awesome experience. I would have particularly enjoyed the cosplay contest 🙂

  16. Truly amazing ! It is great idea to celebrate a foreign culture and turn it around into a family enjoyment. Nashville, way to go!

  17. Had no clue about this fest! Since it’s close to home, I will definitely try to attend next year. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Love your review of the festival, and we’re glad you enjoyed it! (Especially the taiko performance, of course.) =)

    We travel to Japanese festivals all through the South, and the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is always a highlight of our year. It’s been amazing to watch it grow from a tiny gathering in front of the courthouse to the extravaganza of food trucks, multiple stages, vendor booths, and cultural exchange that it is today.

    Truly an excellent and well-run festival. We can’t wait for the tenth anniversary in 2018!

    P.S. Agree with the rec to eat early or late — those food truck lines are no joke!

    1. You folks were amazing! It really has been something to see this festival grow.

  19. I tried going to this event. By the time I had gotten there it was really crowded. The food lines were 20+ people deep. I think anyone going to a free street fair needs to go early to beat the crowds.

    1. Indeed, getting an early start is key to beating the crowd. The food lines were really long around lunch time

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