Bringing the beauty inspired all the way from Japan comes the Cherry Blossom Festival Sydney. The festival celebrates the start of the cherry blossom season which is in the Auburn Botanic Gardens. Over a period of 9 days, you will be able to soak in all the beauty the Japanese Gardens have to offer featuring the eye-catching Sydney cherry blossoms, along with the mouth-watering Japanese cuisine.
With an array of choices, we are sure you’ll find something that will whet your appetite! Whether it be the live Japanese music, drinking Sake under the pop up izakaya until your legs feel like jelly or taking selfies with Hello Kitty.
How to get to the Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry Blossom Festival Sydney is in Auburn. Auburn is an inner western suburb located 24 kilometres from the central business district and has its own train station, so it is easily accessible. A bonus is that from the train station there is a free shuttle bus service that takes you straight to the Cherry Blossom Festival entrance. No stress. Likewise, this service is also available for the journey back to the station. For this reason, we would highly recommend getting there via public transport. On the other hand, you may consider driving. When it comes to parking there is official parking offered at the Cherry Blossom Festival, however some road access is blocked, and the traffic may cause some of you to pull out some hair strands. Parking will be available just outside the Cherry Blossom Festival area which could be less hassle, but you may have to walk 10-15 min to the entrance.
Cherry Blossom Festival Sydney entrance fee
General admission: $12.50 / $10.00 (via oztix)
Under 16’s: $0
Cumberland residents: $0
Companion ticket: $0
We’re all about bargains and discounts, so here’s a nice tip for you. Book online via oztix to get a discounted price compared to the gate price at the entrance. We booked general admission tickets for $10 each compared to the $12.50 price at the gate. Another handy detail to know is that entrance is free for all Cumberland residents, children/under 16’s and companion card holders. No dramas.
No need to print off your ticket you can show the ticket officer the ticket via your mobile device.
What to do at Cherry Blossom Festival Sydney
The festival has different activities throughout the week, and these can be found on the Cumberland website. However, on weekends the main action takes place to cater for most people, whether it be as a solo, couple or family.
Walk through the Auburn Japanese Gardens
Here is why most of you are interested in visiting the festival…for the Sydney cherry blossom of course! This is where most of the cherry blossom trees are opening their flowers putting on a bright pink spectacle. Take selfies and pose with them until your heart is content, you won’t be alone as it’s hard for most people not to capture those moments through a hundred photos. They make a beautiful picture.
If the cherry blossoms weren’t enough there is even a lovely quaint lake dotted with some of natures beautiful birds. Geese, ducks and even a peacock. Take a seat and admire the view of the light reflecting off the lake whilst you bird watch. Who knows, maybe the peacock will even put on a show by fanning out its feathers.
Sing along to the live Japanese music
Kanpai! Kanpai! Kanpai! These were the chants we heard whilst the audience were singing along to the live Japanese music on display. The artist and groups vary year by year but that’s part of the excitement, seeing new performers and hearing new sounds each year. We liked how it was authentic Japanese music, from Japanese rap to Japanese style country music, it went well sitting in the grass, legs crossed with the shades on blocking out the bright sun whilst eating succulent authentic Japanese food. Live music starts around 12pm.
Find your ‘Zen’
We stumbled across a ‘Zen’ area whilst following a trail around the festival. It has a lovely lake occupied by birds and people having picnics, relaxing and chatting. The name suits the area well, it’s a place to rest and recharge.
Take a selfie with Hello Kitty & Sanrio’s egg
Here is the opportunity to get a family fun photo. You can line up and take a selfie with Hello Kitty. However, be warned that the queue can be quite long, so be prepared to wait at least 20 mins.
Sanrio’s egg-turned-mascot Japanese character is very interesting. For those who are not aware, it is a cartoon based off an egg yolk that often feels sad and lazy, clinging to a strip of bacon as a security blanket. The queue to take a picture with this mascot was significantly lower so if you only have the chance between the two, choose Sanrio’s egg character.
Food options at Cherry Blossom Festival Sydney
Food here, food there, food everywhere. You will not be short of options when it comes to food. With the focus based on authentic Japanese food, ranging from sweet to savoury, there are also other options such as burgers, pizzas and dumplings. We tried barbecued pork belly and teriyaki chicken bao buns served with a side of fries. Delicious. It was only right to wash it down with pink lemonade and a Japanese shaved ice dessert known as ‘Kakigori’. It has a base of ice-cream which is then smothered in shaved iced containing condensed milk and syrup, decorated with fruits.
Food stalls are mainly situated near to the entrance and around the main entertainment stage, you won’t be disappointed.
Drink options at Cherry Blossom Festival Sydney
Pink lemonade and sake, what else do you need? The Cherry Blossom Festival has its own pop up izakaya (Japanese pub) serving a variety of sake flavours. For $25 there is an option of a ‘taster’ where you try three different flavours. We opted to do this, and even though it wasn’t our cup of tea, it was nice to try. They also serve other sake and Japanese craft beers ranging between $10 – $16. To enter the izakaya you need identification of age, so make sure you bring some with you if you intend to drink alcohol.
Non alcoholic options are also good, you can get the standard fizzy drinks and water but they also serve interesting drinks such as pink lemonade and other funky refreshments. They’re even water fountains.
- Get to the Cherry Blossom Festival Sydney early for less queues and photo opportunities. We’re talking around 9am when it opens. We got there at 10am and it was fine. However, around 12pm-1pm it was very crowded and the queues and waiting times for food tripled.
- For the best Instagram pictures make sure you go straight to the Japanese Gardens first, when the doors open. It will be quiet, and most of the cherry blossoms are located here.
- Check with the Auburn Botanical Gardens staff members to find out whether the cherry blossoms are in full swing. When we went the first weekend the cherry blossoms were only at 30%. Maybe it would be best to visit the second week for the full blossom.
- Spot the peacock. The Japanese Gardens is blessed with a peacock lurking around the grounds. It is usually near the lake with its geese friends.
- Ladies. Ladies. When the festival gets busy the queue is ridiculously long to go to the main toilets, which are near the Hello Kitty and Zen area. You have 2 options, option 1; cross your legs and walk towards the entrance where there are portable toilets which, for some reason, don’t hardly have any queues. Option 2; Break all rules and use the men’s toilets like Kerrie did as she was literally going to p*ss her pants.
Looking for more things to do in Sydney? Check out our Free Things to Do in Sydney 2 Day Itinerary for some fun ideas!