March 7, 2023 – National Cherry Blossom Festival Invites All to Celebrate Spring’s Arrival Through its Opening Ceremony


Media Contact: 

Kaylynn Yankovich 

National Cherry Blossom Festival 



National Cherry Blossom Festival Invites All to Celebrate Spring’s Arrival Through its Opening Ceremony 

Co-presented with The Japan Foundation, the Opening Ceremony will feature performances from Travis Japan, other Japanese arts and culture  

Washington, D.C. [March 7, 2023] –– The National Cherry Blossom Festival invites Washington, D.C. area residents and visitors of all ages to welcome spring’s arrival at its signature Opening Ceremony at the historic Warner Theatre on Saturday, March 25, 5-6:30 p.m. EST. Co-presented with The Japan Foundation, the Opening Ceremony showcases Japanese arts and culture through one-time-only performances by Travis Japan and other world-renowned artists. The event will also include the official opening of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, featuring a Moment of Friendship shared between the His Excellency Koji Tomita, Japanese Ambassador to the United States, and Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.  

“We hope spring lovers near and far will experience the special moments of international friendship on display at the Opening Ceremony,” said Diana Mayhew, president and CEO of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. “Whether you’re joining in person, or watching live through the Festival’s YouTube Channel, this year’s spectacular performances are a memorable way to kick off both the season of hope and renewal and the 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival.”  

The Opening Ceremony will be co-hosted by Yoshi Amao, a Japanese comedian and gameshow host, and Veronica Johnson of WJLA’s 7News. It will feature performances from: 

  • Travis Japan – Travis Japan is a formidable seven-member dance and performance pop group from Tokyo, named in honor of award-winning American choreographer Travis Payne (Michael Jackson’s This is It, Lady Gaga’s The Monster Ball Tour, etc.), who helped audition them in 2012. The group is managed by the legendary Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates, and their style is a captivating mix of modern, jazz, and hip hop. 
  • Anna Sato x Toshiyuki Sasaki – Anna Sato is a Shimauta singer from Amami Islands and Toshiyuki Sasaki is a drummer. They originally formed the unit just to perform for Rencontres de Chants Polyphoniques, a music festival held in Corsica (France) in 2016, but officially made a debut as a duo after that. Shimauta repertoire is traditionally accompanied by Chijin drumming.   
  • Mika Stoltzman – Called “high-wire jazz marimbist […] an amazing, energetic performer ready for major exposure” by The Los Angeles Times, Mika Stoltzman was born in Amakusa Island, Kumamoto, Japan, and now resides in Boston.  She has performed 10 times at New York’s Carnegie Hall, in addition to touring in 19 countries and 60 cities around the world. 
  • PETÆL – Presented by Ryuji Ueno Foundation, award-winning and charismatic musicians Miray Ito (violin) and world-renowned Benedict Kloeckner (cello) make up PETÆL. They bring their classical masterly to the main stage in a high-octane performance of classical masterpieces. Ito and Kloeckner have worked with Dr. Ryuji Ueno on his research with the Delta Method, an analysis of music based on brain physiology. 

Tickets for this free, highly anticipated event have already been claimed. Still, audiences across the D.C. area and around the globe can join in this unique cultural ceremony via Livestream on the Festival’s YouTube Channel: @CherryBlossFest

The Festival encourages all participants to tag their Opening Ceremony experiences on social media with the hashtag #SpringItOn. More details about the Opening Ceremony can be found at https://nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/event/opening-ceremony/.  

The Opening Ceremony is being co-presented with The Japan Foundation and supported in part by the JCAW Foundation, Inc., Toyota North America, Inc., the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Daiichi Sankyo, and Warner Theatre. Other contributors include Ryuji Ueno Foundation, Kawasaki Heavy Industries (USA), Inc. EventEQ, and MUFG Bank, Ltd. WJLA 7News is a media sponsors. 


About the National Cherry Blossom Festival 

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the world’s great celebrations of spring. The 2023 Festival, March 18-April 16, will include five weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. Leadership Circle Sponsors for the 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival are Events DC and Amazon. Add the 2023 Festival and signature events to your calendar, and visit NationalCherryBlossomFestival.org or call 877.44.BLOOM (877.442.5666) for more information. Get the latest updates via email, and be sure to follow the Festival on Facebook (@CherryBlossomFestival), Instagram (@CherryBlossFest), Twitter (@CherryBlossFest) and YouTube (@CherryBlossFest).