Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, April 22-24, Seattle Center.

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Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival celebrates its 40th year dedicated to friendship and understanding between the people of Japan and the Pacific Northwest, Friday through Sunday, April 22-24, at Seattle Center.

Honorary festival co-chairs Consul General of Japan Masahiro Omura and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray are expected to be part of the festival’s official opening ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday.

Friday is children’s day at the festival with kid-friendly activities, including workshops to create a happi (short coat), in addition to daily kite-making, Japanese toys and games for kids.

Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival

Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, April 22, 23, 24

Location: Seattle Center Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion, Seattle

More info: 206-684-7200, or

Festivalgoers of all ages can try on a kimono and yukata (the lighter summer kimono for men and women) that are still worn for special occasions in Japan. Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association volunteers will help visitors dress up and, for a small donation, take a photo as a keepsake of your visit to the festival.

All ages are invited to learn to play Go, the oldest board game in the world, dating back 4,000 years, with simple rules that can be learned quickly and subtleties that experts work a lifetime to master. Workshops teach origami paper-folding skills and Shodo calligraphy. There also are daily demonstrations of the Chado tea ceremony and ikebana flower arranging.

Taiko drumming, music, dance and martial arts are among performances daily. Exhibits include sumi-e (black ink) paintings and the world premiere of the Japan Foundation’s traveling Yakishime exhibit of ceramics.

Chopsticks, calligraphy sets, books and origami paper are among the specialty items at the Japanese gift shop. Food vendors offer traditional and contemporary cuisine, including sushi burritos, takoyaki (fried octopus), rice bowls, imagawayaki (red bean cakes) and Japanese pastries.

See Seattle Center’s website for helpful information on transportation, parking and attractions on the Center grounds.