Cherry Blossom Season Activities

Celebrate Virginia Beach’s international sisterhood with Miyazaki City, Japan, during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. This year, because of Covid 19 restrictions, instead of hosting our annual festival at the park we are offering virtual and popup events to promote the rich culture and beauty of Japanese music, martial arts, creative activities and various virtual demonstrations.
This event has passed - stay tuned for details about our 2022 Cherry Blossom Festival.

Virginia Beach Cherry Blossom Festival
Vivaldi Spring

A birds-eye view of 150 Yoshino cherry trees in peak bloom at Virginia Beach’s Red Wing Park, a gift from International Sister City Miyazaki City, Japan, in 2005. 

Vivaldi’s “Spring” is performed by "Symphonicity,” an all-volunteer orchestra in Hampton Roads, Va., featuring violinist Megan Van Gomple. 

 Event Background

Event Background

The festival is sponsored by Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, the Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach, the Japan Education Culture Center Inc., and supported by the Virginia Beach Koto Society, Old Dominion University Martial Arts program, and Virginia Beach City Public Schools Japanese programs and clubs.

Modeled after the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., the Virginia Beach Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the goodwill friendship between Japan and the United States, marked by the 150 Yoshino Cherry Blossom trees which were all donated as part of the Miyazaki Garden expansion plan and planted by the Japan Educational Cultural Center and the Miyazaki Sister City Committee in 2005.

Since the early 1980s, the City of Virginia Beach and Miyazaki City, Japan, have enjoyed many fruitful grass-roots exchanges which led them to become Sister Cities in 1992. In 2007, Miyazaki’s eco-park Hagino Dai and Mount Trashmore Park officially becoming “Sister Parks.” In addition, through our Sister Cities relationship, Tallwood Elementary and Miyazaki Minami Elementary School became “Sister Schools.”​

Celebrate With Us

Celebrate Virginia Beach's international sisterhood with Miyazaki, Japan at during our annual Cherry Blossom Festival. 

This year, because of Covid 19 restrictions, instead of hosting our annual festival at the park we are offering virtual and popup events to promote the rich culture and beauty of Japanese music, martial arts, creative activities, and various virtual demonstrations. 

Miyazaki Style 

Watch this short video to learn more about our incredible sister city and its surrounding areas. 

Miyazaki is the capital city of Miyazaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. Located on the coast and crossed by several rivers, Miyazaki City enjoys scenic views of both ocean and nearby, verdant mountains.

The city is known for its popular landmarks such as the Aoshima Shrine, Devil's Washboard, and Miyazaki Prefectural Heiwadai Park. 

peace-monumentThe Peace Monument at Red Wing Park

The Peace Monument is constructed of a 30,000 lb. boulder extracted out of the deep mountains of Tennessee. This nine-foot-high monument symbolizes the spiritual serenity of nature and the eternal prayer for world peace, harmony, and prosperity as evidence by the Sister City relationship between Miyazaki City, Japan, and the City of Virginia Beach since 1992. This project is in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of USA DNBK Bushin Kan Dojo, established by Dr. Hiroyuki Tesshin Hamada, Professor Emeritus of Old Dominion University and Miyazaki City, Japan, and Sister City Coordinator of both Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The Japanese Education Culture Center Inc. and Hanshi, Takemichi Kuwahara, and Honbu DNBK Japan, as well as participating DNBK members worldwide, generously contributed to the funding for this project.

 Sister Cities

​Sister Cities - Virginia Beach & Miyazaki, Japan 

The mission of the Virginia Beach City Association (VBSCA) is to foster international understanding, friendship, and cooperation by promoting people-to-people exchanges and continuing relationships between our city and citizens. 

Through partnerships with our sister cities, student exchanges, and culturally diverse programs, with the support of our elected officials, we are helping to foster peace through understanding throughout the world.

 Haiku Contest

2021 Haiku Contest Winners
Adult Division CBF Winner.png

​Honorable mentions:

​Nature’s resilience
Blooming flowers show me how
to breathe, feel and be
-Michiko Kaneyasu

Stems sprout from the earth
Beauty is born in dark times
Blossoms offer hope
-Ryan Walden

Peaceful morning sky
New grass glistening with dew
Nature’s song begins
-Celeste Rooney

Youth Division CBF Winner.png

Honorable Mentions:

To love our good world
The cherry blossoms are out
Running with us now
-David L., age 9

Cherry blossoms bloom
Branches swaying the wind
Petals brush my skin.
-Hana E., age 12

Cherry blossoms bloom
In Japan’s garden of hope
Through songs of nature.
-Ociana S., age 11

Teen  Division CBF Winner.png

Honorable Mentions:

Blossoms that tell the
Story of the season charm,
Enchant every time
-Sonia K., age 15

At the yawn of dawn,
blushing nature’s hello to
her spring rendezvous. 
-Jumana Z., age 15

Glittering blossom
Even after time itself
Like stars in your eyes 
-Johary Z., age 15

Haiku Contest is Closed

See examples and resources below, follow our Facebook page, and standby for 2022 festival details!

Haiku Examples

Created by Ocean Lakes High School Japanese National Honor Society


 Martial Arts

Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Centers Martial Arts Programs

Classical Japanese Martial arts classes are offered at several of the Virginia Beach Recreation Centers. Class instructors are certified members of Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, Japan’s Oldest Martial Arts Virtue Society. Programs are open to interested students age 8 years and up. It should be noted that due to current COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions that classes have been modified for safety reasons. Classes include:


Classical Japanese KaratedoOffered at Bayside, Kempsville, and Great Neck 

Study this classical form of martial arts and perform a variety of basic blocks, strikes, footwork, and stances to help strengthen the body and improve self-defense. Training also focuses on mind, body, spirit as well as breathing techniques to improve self-discipline.


Judo | Offered at Williams Farm

Judo, the gentle way, is based upon controlling your opponents' balance. The technical components contain the basic defensive skills of throwing, locking, immobilizing, and falling. Traditional Judo promotes the self-defense, aesthetic, and martial aspects, rather than the competitive aspects.


AikidoOffered at Princess Anne and Bow Creek 

Emphasizing the discipline of mind and body with harmonious physical and mental dynamics. Aikido training is based on the philosophy Ki (universal force). The technical components contain basic defensive skills of throwing, locking, immobilizing and body dynamics. Aikido tends to promote the self-defense, aesthetic, and martial aspects, rather than the competitive aspects. 

Old Dominion University Martial Arts Programs

Old Dominion University is the only east coast University to offer for-credit courses in Martial Arts. Rank certifications are presented through Dai Nippon Butoku Kai, Japan's Oldest Martial Arts Virtue Society.  These programs include:

Judo: Beginning and Intermediate

An introduction to Judo including the techniques of throws, holds, locks, and pins. Philosophy and cultural aspects of Sport Judo are also covered.

Karatedo: Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced and Theory of Advanced Karatedo

These courses are designed to give the traditional Karate training ('Art of Empty Hand') to students. It emphasizes the traditional mode of training with mental and physical discipline. Formal Kata, defensive skills, punches, kicks and blocking techniques are covered. 

AikidoBeginning, Intermediate, Advanced and Theory of Advanced Aikido

Courses are designed to introduce the fundamental dynamics of Aikido principle. Aikido contains the fundamental skills in body dynamics, body movements, safety landing, defensive pattern drills, and overall understanding of Aikido as a classical art form. Courses provide comprehensive information on the philosophical and aesthetic aspects of Aikido.

Other Martial Arts Classes Offered; Information can be obtained by contacting

Kendo, a modern Japanese martial art, descended from swordsmanship (kenjutsu), that uses bamboo swords (shinai) as well as protective armor (bōgu). 

Iaido is the Japanese martial art of sword drawing. It is associated with smooth, controlled movements of drawing the sword from its scabbard (saya), striking, or cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and then replacing the sword in the saya. 

Kobudo, students train in the use of several traditional Japanese weapons. These weapons include Sai, Jo, Bo, Kama, Naginata, and Yari to mention a few.  

Jujutsu is a martial arts system of close combat (unarmed or with a minor weapon) that can be used in a defensive or offensive manner to disarm or subdue one or more armed opponents. 



Memories of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Virginia Beach 

Created by Virginia Beach Koto Society​


Kanpai Sushi's Special Cherry Blossom Roll

Created by Kanpai Sushi

Nanairo Symphony

Performed by IZZY FERNANDEZ, a senior and the Japanese National Honor Society student in Global Studies and World Languages Academy in Tallwood High school.

VAS JHHS Taiko Drum 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival

Created by SGI Junior High


Cherry Blossom Festival Kuliaikanu'u

Created by Hula Studio Kahanuola


Virtual Bento Box

Created by Ocean Lakes Japanese Club

 Childrens' Activities

​Childrens' Activities 

A StoryWalk® is a fun, educational way for families to explore their city's parks on a family-friendly, accessible trail. Simply put, a StoryWalk® is a book that has been deconstructed, laminated, and presented page by page on a trail or bike path. 

In honor of the 2021 Cherry Blossom Festival, and partnering with the Virginia Beach Public Library we're presenting the book Pinkalicious: Cherry Blossom by Victoria Kann.

Brief synopsis: “It's the pinkest day of the year! Thanks to a magical swirl of pink petals, Pinkalicious experiences a traditional Japanese cherry blossom celebration and learns to fly a kite with the help of a new friend. “ 

Dates & Location: 
1398 General Booth Blvd
March 27, 28 and 30
April 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 11

Free & open to the public; no registration required.
Take home craft available.

Fun Family Crafts

Origami Crafts

A simple origami model for beginners -the Traditional Samurai Helmet! Difficulty: ★☆☆☆☆

Watch on YouTube 

Follow this tutorial to learn how to fold a paper crane. Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆

Watch on YouTube 

Learn how to make an Origami Kabuto Samurai Helmet with this tutorial! Difficulty: ★☆☆☆☆

Watch on YouTube