Japan has always been a hit tourist destination for Singaporeans, especially since anime and J-culture have become more mainstream here.
Although borders have opened, not all of us have the time (or money) to visit Japan.
But that’s okay, because now, you can pretend you’re in Japan simply by visiting Gardens By The Bay.
From 11 March to 9 April, the popular Sakura Display has returned to Gardens By The Bay, and this time, it even features a Pikachu meet-and-greet for all your weeaboo dreams.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Sakura Display
This year’s sakura display marks its eighth edition, located inside the Flower Dome.
The display is inspired by the theme of train travel, and seeks to emulate a scenic train journey through picturesque spots in Japan.
Cherry blossoms bloom throughout the flower dome, stretching over pretty red torii gates, a traditional fixture typically found outside Shinto shrines.
The entrance to the display is modelled after traditional Japanese houses, deepening the cultural immersion.
It also features four elegant ikebana pieces (a type of Japanese floral arrangement), which classically symbolise heaven (天), earth (人), and humanity (人).
It costs $12 to enter the Flower Dome and view the display, but it’s definitely worth it for all the IG photos, and to live out your anime hanami (flower viewing) dreams.
The exhibit will be a pleasant surprise for fans of Nintendo’s age-old game series Pokémon.
Alongside the sakura blossoms, figurines of first-generation Pokémon like the iconic Pikachu and fan-favourite Eevee can be spotted.
There’ll also be a meet and greet with a special Pikachu mascot donning a fluffy pink sakura afro — this will be its first appearance outside of Japan.
They will appear on 18 and 19 March, so book your Flower Dome tickets for those dates.
Additionally, 18 March features a Pikachu dance by several Pikachu mascots, so if you’re a die-hard fan of Pokemon, it’s definitely worth watching.
Experience Japanese Culture
This year’s exhibit features cultural experiences held in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan.
The one-day event Touring Springtime Japan will be held on 19 March, and offers attendees the opportunity to dive into six key regions of Japan, including a mochi pounding and Japanese food sampling experience.
Cultural programmes like folk dances, Japanese harp performances, and a traditional drum performance by the Japanese drum group Hibikiya will also occur on that day. The animated movie Belle will also be screened.
A live tea ceremony demonstration will take place on 19, 25, and 26 March.
The display runs till 9 April, but most of the programmes will be held in March, so head over to Gardens By The Bay’s website to book Flower Dome tickets if you’d like to visit.
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