Welcome everyone to the 57th Annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival! Thank you all for joining us as we celebrate another incredible year with you.

We are honored to serve as Co-Chairs, bringing together our unique perspective and backgrounds to celebrate Japanese and Japanese American culture and heritage with all of you. We – Matt Nagatomi, a hapa Japanese American whose family has deep roots in the United States, and Yuki Nishimura, a Japanese immigrant who made her home here at the age of five – represent just a fraction of the diversity present on our Executive Committee and within the Festival. It is this mix of various thoughts, backgrounds and experiences that fuels the success of this event year after year.

Yuki Nishimura & Matt Nagatomi (Photo by Mark Shigenaga)

2024 holds a special significance as it marks the final opportunity to experience the Peace Plaza in its current form before the renovations commence. Following our Festival, this beloved space will undergo a much-anticipated transformation, ensuring its continued vitality for generations to come.

In honoring the past and embracing the future, we also pay tribute to Wayne Leong, a cherished member of our Executive Committee whose dedication to Japantown enriched us all. Wayne’s legacy as the “Sound of Japantown” lives on in our hearts.

We’d like to also take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who make this Festival possible – our Executive Committee members and advisers, volunteers, community partners, city agencies, sponsors and everyone else on our wonderful team. We cannot thank you enough for your unwavering dedication and support.

And to all those visiting our Festival, we hope you thoroughly enjoy your time with us. Whether it’s viewing the beautiful cultural performances, savoring the offerings from our non-profit food vendors, or cheering during the April 21st Grand Parade, there is a place for everyone here at our Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival. 

Warm regards,

Matt Nagatomi and Yuki Nishimura

Co-Chairs of the 57th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival