Friends of the Japanese House and Garden have renovated two buildings from Philadelphia’s Centennial Exhibition to create the Sakura Pavilion, adding a brand new year-round space to the nationally-renowned Shofuso Japanese House and Garden (and just in time for Cherry Blossom season)!

For those who may not know, the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park is a traditional-style Japanese house and garden that reflects the history of Japanese culture in Philadelphia, from the 1876 Centennial Exposition to the renovation of the Sakura Pavilion today.

Starting March 31, 2012, the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden will be open on weekends for Cherry Blossom season (which is April). Beginning on May 1, it opens for the ‘full season’. Admission is just $6 for adults and $4 for students, seniors, and children ages 3–18/children under 3.

Some of the events to look forward to include:

  • Sat. & Sun. March 31 – April 1: GRAND OPENING WEEKEND – Saturday, March 31 will be a kagami biraki (ceremonial sake cask breaking) to inaugurate the new Sakura Pavilion and open the Shofuso 2012 season!  Throughout Opening Weekend, enjoy the Shofuso Views photography exhibition, taiko drumming by KyoDaiko, kamishibai storytelling, origami crafts, and other activities for the whole family. 11 am – 5 pm. Free. Sakura Pavilion.
  • March 31 – April 29: Shofuso Colors I: Shofuso Views Exhibition – Photography exhibition by Aaron Mannino.  Daily during open hours. Free. Sakura Pavilion.
  • Wed. and Thurs., April 4-5: Family Spring Break at Shofuso. 10 am – 4 pm. Free with admission.
  • Sat., April 14: Nodate Cherry Blossom Tea – Enjoy a traditional Japanese tea ceremony on Shofuso’s veranda under the weeping cherry.  1 pm & 2:30 pm. $35 non-member/$30 member.
  • Sun., April 15: Sakura Sunday – Join Shofuso and Japan American Society of Greater Philadelphia for the annual Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival.  Additional festival entrance fee to access the Horticultural Center grounds and Shofuso. Free admission and activities at Sakura Pavilion. Ikebana Exhibition free at Sakura Pavilion. 11 am – 4 pm. $5 non-member/member & under 14 free.
  • Sun., April 22: East Meets West Over Tea – Japanese Tea Ceremony at Shofuso, then tour the colonial historic house Cedar Grove to learn about tea in early America. With the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Register at 215-235-7469 or 1 pm – 4 pm. $50 non-member/$40 PMA & FJHG members.
  • Thurs., April 26: Annual Senju Day Celebration – Japan and the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 Philadelphia – Stacey Swigart, curator of the Centennial Collection at neighboring Please Touch Museum, presents on Japan’s 1876 inaugural presence in the US and the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.  Followed by a presentation about the Senju Museum in Japan and a light reception.  5:30 pm. $10 non-member/FJHG members free. Sakura Pavilion
  • Sun., April 29: Japanese Tea Ceremony – Traditional Japanese tea ceremony conducted by Omotesenke Eastern Region Chapter (Domonkai).  A formal “thick tea” will be conducted in the tea house. 1 pm & 2 pm. $30 non-member/$25 member. Thick Tea at 2 pm & 3 pm. $40 non-member/$35 member.
  • May 3 – July 3: Shofuso Colors II: The Way Home – garden art installation by artist Aaron Mannino, composed of a 7-panel folding screen (byoubu).  Within this piece, east and west synthesize.  The byoubu flanks initial entry into the house, confronting and enrapturing visitors by a vibrant, complex, colorful display when they least expect it in Shofuso’s early summer foliage.
  • May 4-7: Children’s Day – Field trip days for school groups at Shofuso, Sakura Pavilion, and the Horticultural Center. Includes taiko, Story of Shofuso Kamishibai, ikebana, koi nobori craft, Ningyo dolls.

For more information and tickets, call 215-878-5097 or visit

Community Historic Pavilion to Open at Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Philly