Sakura 2023 (Video)

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Enjoying Hanami blossoms and crowds at Gardens by the Bay’s Sakura 2023.


Gardens by the Bay has been hosting Sakura exhibitions every March as far back as I can remember—I’ve visited at least four times over the years. That makes what happened last week as silly as it gets.

Once again, I forgot that it takes time for cherry blossom trees to bloom. After Sakura 2023 started on Mar 11, I happily headed down to the Flower Dome two days later, camera and tripod and all, only to encounter more twigs than blossoms.

In other words, exactly what happened last year—I visited way too early. I should have waited till a week later.

Flower Dome Japanese Exhibition
I was wondering last Monday why the entrance showpieces looked rather minimal in the flower department …

And so … down to the Flower Dome I again went on Sunday and this time, there were thankfully blooms on the trees. Blooms and crowds! Lots and lots of people! So many that GBTB restricted the use of camera tripods.

It was a very Hanami experience indeed. You visit on a wrong day and you’d be lucky to even see buds. Visit on the right days, however, and you’d see more people than blossoms.

But I suppose that is what cherry blossom viewing is all about … (Shoganai na!)

Scenic Japanese Train Travel at Sakura 2023

All right, enough grouching. 😛 Back to introducing Sakura 2023.

This year’s theme is that of scenic train travel in the Land of the Rising Sun, while amidst lovely Sakura blossoms. To befit the theme, there are mock train carriages for visitors to pose in, lots of torii gates, a showcase on Ekiben i.e. train travel bento boxes, and even miniature train displays.

There’s also, unusually, a Pokémon forest, with the most famous personalities from the hit anime making enthusiastic appearances.



It’s a bit of a quirky mishmash, TBH. On the other hand, with dainty cherry blossoms as background, most displays are photogenic, if a little offbeat.

For visitors unable to visit Japan anytime soon, Sakura 2023 should be an apt substitute.

Sakura 2023 | Gardens by the Bay
The entrance showpieces look much more flowery and photogenic after a week.
Flower Dome Sakura 2023
Japanese train carriage photo booth at the middle area. This was very popular.
Sakura 2023 Red Torii Gates
Vermillion torii gates were everywhere. I suppose few other structures represent Japan as much as these distinctive spiritual gates. (BTW, the picture with the rabbits is a feature on Okunoshima, Japan’s famous rabbit island)
Sakura 2023 Ikebana Displays
There were large Ikebana displays too.
Gardens by the Bay Japanese Music Performance
Visiting on a crowded Sunday has its benefits. There was a Japanese traditional music performance in the Flower Field Hall.
Ekiben @ Gardens by the Bay
An introduction to Ekiben. As a HUGE fan of these train travel bentos, I’m sorry to say … erm … the displays do not look like the ones sold in Japan train stations. Actual Ekiben are way more exotic and colourful.
Japanese Train Models at Flower Dome
Shinkansen and steam trains. (If you ask me, both are must-try travel experiences in Japan)
Hanami in Singapore
And, of course, the star of the exhibition. Cherry blossoms to welcome the return of spring.

Pokémon Forest

I suspect for some visitors, this is an even bigger draw than the cherry blossoms.

I’m not a big fan of the franchise; haven’t launched my Pokémon Go in years. But seeing Snorlax just … chill there amidst all the greenery while visitors enthusiastically snapped pictures was deeply ticklish.

Snorlax at Gardens by the Bay
Lord Snorlax! Daimyo of the Flower Dome!
Pokémon Forest @ Flower Dome
The classic Pokémon characters make you feel happy just by looking at them, agree?
Sakura 2023 Pikachu
A trio of Pikachus with very, VERY funky hairdos.


Sakura 2023 ends on Apr 9. The Flower Dome is open from 9 am to 9 pm daily. Admission charges apply.

Check out the official page for weekend special programmes.


My other Singapore events posts.

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Sakura 2023 (Video) | Gardens by the Bay
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Sakura 2023 (Video) | Gardens by the Bay
Description
Enjoying hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, at Gardens by the Bay’s Sakura 2023 flower exhibition.
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