The phrase Cherry Blossom Festival is synonymous with April in Japan. Auburn Botanic Gardens brings that little slice of Japan to Sydney’s west with their Cherry Blossom Festival. And while it didn’t involve a nine hour flight there were definitely petals in my hair by the time we were leaving.
The Cherry Blossom festival is a celebration of all things Japanese, both modern and traditional. The main feature is the cherry trail through the Japanese Garden. This garden snakes around a pond with hedge and cherry blossom lines paths. There are four areas of cherry blossoms – The Cherry Arbour, The Cherry Grove, The Hanamai Lawn Cherries, and The Cherry Alley. It was a beautiful walk around and partake in the practice of Hanamai, a thousand year old practice of enjoying the beauty of flowers, particularly Sakura (cherry blossoms).
Outside the Japanese garden is the reflection pool which proves to be the perfect spot to sit and soak up the atmosphere, or just have a bite to eat. The wind sadly made it not ideal for the perfect reflected photo, but I imagine if you get there on a perfectly still day you could get some wonderful shots.
Beyond the reflection pool the festival was in full swing at the Japansese Food Village. Adam Liaw was cooking up a storm and imparting wisdom from the Love your Leftovers Stage. Did you know the reason your food sticks to your pan is that it’s not hot enough? I didn’t until Adam shared this fact and the science behind it with the crowd. For the adults in attendance there was also Sake tasting at Izakaya Bar, a new addition to the festival this year.
The Sumo Stadium is not to be missed. Here we learnt about and watched sumo. Professional sumo wrestlers and students took to the ring to battle it out. The highlight was definitely seeing a 9 year old sumo student defeat a 127kg pro! (It may have been rigged, but we’ll never know for sure)
Auburn Botanic Gardens is a gorgeous little garden in Sydney’s western suburbs and well worth the visit this time of year.
Lara Bendeich spends much of her free time trapesing round Sydney’s theatres and cinemas, always with a drink in hand. Follow her musings at @elleellabee.
The Cherry Blossom Festival runs Friday 18 August to Sunday 27 August at Auburn Botanic Gardens.
Auburn Botanic Gardens is an accessible venue.