If you love being amongst the cheerful crowd, waving at the colorful floats, enjoying dancers waltzing in beautiful yukatas, then Cherry Blossom Grand Parade is the event you cannot miss!

Celebrating its 45th anniversary, San Francisco Cherry Blossom Grand Parade just happened yesterday, April 22nd from Civic Center to Japan Center. At the parade there was the Cherry Blossom Queen greeting the crowd for the first time after being crowned, San Francisco Taiko Dojo awakening the city with their roaring performance, and lots more.

One of the popular event at the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival is the Cosplay contest and parade float. Each year hundreds of anime fans from all over California and beyond come to show their support and passion for the anime they love. Winners get to be part of the parade on their special own float. This year guys in the transformer mobile suits graced the crowd like no other (top left).

The most exciting spectacle that blesses the people of San Francisco is the Taru Mikoshi (Video Above). The Mikoshi is a portable Shrine that a diety travels in while visiting Japanese festivals and religious processions. The Mikoshi requires many strong, young people to carry it on the shoulder. You might notice in the video that they rock the Mikoshi and move from one side of the street to another. It is the belief that more blessings will be bestowed on people as they cruises from one part of the street to another with lost of movements.

So next year when you are in San Francisco during April, join the locals at the Cherry Blossom Festival & Parade to celebrate a culture so admired and beloved by people all over the world.

Tips for Coming to the Parade

  • Come early (aroun 10am-11am) if you plan to eat first. Hundreds and may be even thousands of people flocks to this area during the day of the parade.
  • Take the bus here (Muni #38). I made the mistake of driving there that day. After one hour with no luck, I parked far away, and took the Muni bus back to Japan Center.
  • Bring your own bottle of water. While I encourage everyone to try the food here at the festival, having your own bottle of water can safe you from overheating under the sun.
  • Bring Cash! Don’t want to get ripped off by portable ATMs? Then get some cash prior coming to the event. Almost all vendors here only take cash.