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‘Japan of Andalucía’: Small Town Celebrates Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival In Spain

Alfarnate in Spain celebrates a cherry blossom festival
Alfarnate in Spain celebrates a cherry blossom festival [Image by kkw0812 from Pixabay]
Japan, and even Washington DC, are famous for their cherry blossom each year. However, it turns out a small village in the Malaga Province of Spain also celebrates with a cultural fiesta. Alfarnate may have a small population, but it has a close connection with Japan and the iconic Sakura festival. Meanwhile, this makes the village the “Japan of Andalucía” when the cherry trees blossom each spring.

Small town in Spain celebrates the cherry blossom festival

Each year, the streets of Alfarnate boast beautiful pink petals in its street as the cherry blossom arrives on the trees. However, the festival held in the small town isn’t just about the beautiful blossom. The event also involves a cultural immersion where visitors and locals can enjoy Japanese workshops, craft stalls, parades and gastronomy.

Street scene in Alfarnate, Andalucia, Spain
Street scene in Alfarnate [Image by Por los caminos de Málaga on Wikimedia Commons]
Ties between the Spanish town of Alfarnate and Japan have stood the test of time.  Each year it celebrates the Sakura Festival, with Alfarnate dubbed the “Japan of Andalucía.”

About the Sakura Festival

Cherry blossom
Cherry blossom [Image by Ilo from Pixabay]
Each spring, Alfarnate is transformed by the blooming cherry trees, as the cool nights and warm days of the area are ideal for the iconic trees. The locals of the town decided to commemorate the arrival of the cherry blossoms by hosting their own Sakura Festival, also dubbed Sakura Matsuri, in homage to the Japanese culture.

The cherry blossom festival was first held in 2022 and has become a popular event in the community. However, the festival is not just about the beautiful blossoms, as it is also about cultural immersion. Each year, workshops, parades, craft stalls and delicious gastronomy are celebrated in the town’s streets.

How did the event start?

Sakura Festival in Spain
Sakura Festival in Spain [Image Canal Andalucia Tur on YouTube]
The origin of the Sakura Festival dates back to some Japanese tourists who encountered this natural spectacle during a visit to Spain. After seeing the similarity with their homeland, Japanese tourists flocked to the village, attracting other curious visitors.

Meanwhile, preparations for the Spanish Sakura Festival start before the first blossoms arrive on the cherry trees. Dedicated to Japanese culture, the locals make thousands of paper flowers to brighten up the streets of the town. Moreover, the town’s relationship with Japan is more than just cherry blossoms.

The Spanish town features an Open Interpretation Center dedicated to all eight Japanese regions, which is a meeting point for the culture and traditions of Japan. Moreover, a Sakura garden boasts 47 cherry trees in honor of Japan’s 47 prefectures, which stands as a permanent tribute to the town’s cultural connection.

About the Cherry Blossom Festival in Spain

Alfarnate, Spain celebrates its own Sakura cherry blossom festival
Alfarnate, Spain celebrates its own Sakura cherry blossom festival [Image Ayuntamiento de Alfarnate on Facebook]
During the Sakura Festival in Alfarnate, a tiled walkway details Japan’s culture, while Sakuri, a girl clad in traditional Japanese clothing, leads the parades and ceremonies at the arrival of spring.

Moreover, the festival’s program features a variety of activities to pay homage to Japanese culture, offering a unique experience to visitors and locals in Alfarnate alike. Other activities include Martial Arts exhibitions of Aikido and Kyodo and Japanese calligraphy and bookbinding workshops. Meanwhile, cultural conferences and workshops are held with beautiful parades lining the town’s streets.

The video below (in Spanish) offers views of the cherry blossom route in Alfarnate and the beauty of the village itself.




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