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Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival

Home > New South Wales > Cultural Events | Escape the City | Festivals | Gardens | Outdoor
by Linda Moon (subscribe)
... a dreamer, writer, naturopath, mother & former social work student based in the Blue Mountains. Continue the journey with me-
Japanese culture & spring joy in the country
Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre
Weeping Cherry at Cowra Japanese Garden

This annual event is well attended and requires bookings. For example close to 3,500 people attended the festival over five days in 2012. Not bad for a regional event.

If you are staying overnight, book your accommodation in advance as it could be tricky finding somewhere to stay at the last moment.

In its 24th year, the Cherry Blossom Festival features not only cherry blossom, but a Japanese tea ceremony, Japanese music and traditional dancing, Japanese flower arranging, kite flying, martial arts and Sumo wrestling displays, Kimono displays and other examples of Japanese heritage.

Cultural performer at Cowra Japanese Garden, Cowra
Cultural performance at Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre.

With the garden open 7 days a week, 8.30am-5pm (closed Christmas Day) it's possible to visit anytime of the year, with autumn a particularly nice season for foliage. For those wishing to view the cherry blossoms in flower, late September to early October is generally recommended. Or, call the garden and ask if the blossoms are out yet. In later spring, azaleas, camellias and wisteria are in bloom. Be aware that spring can sometimes arrive early or late depending on the weather.

The twelve acre Cowra Japanese Garden was designed by world renowned architect Ken Nakajima and is a replica of the first Japanese landscape garden built in Tokyo by the first Shogun Tokugawa in the 16th century A.D. Cowra Japanese Garden is the largest Japanese garden in the Southern Hemisphere and an example of a 'walking' garden in the Edo period.

Cherry blossom at Cowra Japanese Garden
Cherry blossom - focus of the Sakura Matsuri festival and symbol of spring beauty, fragility and healing.

Interestingly, the decision to build the Cowra Japanese Garden was made as a symbol of healing between Australia and Japan following the second world war. During World War II, Cowra was the site of a prisoner of war camp mainly detaining Japanese. The town contains the only Japanese War Cemetery in Australia. What lovelier way to heal the darkness of the past than through the creation of a beautiful Japanese garden, replete with Japan's favourite blossom.

Besides blossom, the garden features rocky hillside, hedges, waterfalls, streams, two lakes, traditional Edo Cottage, open air Tea House and a Bonsai House. There's also a licensed cafe onsite, offering modern Australian and Japanese cuisine.

However, with twelve acres to explore, the garden makes a perfect location for a 'bring your own' picnic. Why not set up beneath a cherry tree or on a grassy bank for the ultimate wind-down and chillax in the country.

Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre
Arbor in the Cowra Japanese Garden - reflects the Edo period

Tickets to the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival cost a reasonable $15 for an adult, $9 for children, $13 concession and $40 for a family pass.

Getting there:
Cowra is a farming town located in the Central West of NSW, 96km south-west of Bathurst. It has a population of about 10,000. It is about four hours and twenty minutes from Sydney. To get there, travel to Lithgow via Richmond, then onto the Mid Western Highway at Bathurst. Turn off at Grenfell Road.

For specific directions, click on this link.

Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre
Cowra Japanese Garden in springtime - peaceful! Image courtesy of John O'Neill, Wikipedia Commons
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Why? Grab some spring magic and Japanese culture beneath the cherry trees.
When: 28th September 2013
Phone: 02 6341 2233
Where: Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, Binni Creek Road, Cowra
Cost: Admission: $15 adults, $9 kids, $13 concession, $40 family
Your Comment
This is a great article Linda - we'll definitely visit next time we're near Cowra.
by Lucy (score: 3|1157) 3595 days ago
Looks fantastic! Will definitely put this in my diary this year...
by trish (score: 1|34) 3596 days ago
My wife and I visited Cowra and the gardens a few years back. It is quite amazing with a great history. There are many vineyards out there too!
by lharl (score: 1|10) 3561 days ago
I got engaged in this garden! It's absolutely beautiful.
by Itslulu (score: 0|8) 3561 days ago
Japanese gardens are so lovely, these look particularly nice. What a treat to see the cherry blossoms in spring.
by Katy Holliday (score: 3|1133) 3596 days ago
Can I get there by a public transport, please?
by mynes (score: 2|174) 3549 days ago
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