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Springtime and Sakura at TPC

Tickled pink by the idea of seeing sakura? Check out what went down at The Sakura Lounge by JAPAN RAIL CAFE.

Visiting Japan in Spring to see the transient beauty of the cherry blossoms? The good folk at Tanjong Pagar Centre’s JAPAN RAIL CAFE have got you covered.

Springtime in Japan is marked by the blooming of the country’s sakura (cherry blossoms), a beautiful sight for first-time visitors and ohanami (cherry blossom-viewing) veterans alike.

Running from 20 to 23 March, The Sakura Lounge by JAPAN RAIL CAFE transformed Tanjong Pagar Centre’s Urban Park into a cherry blossom-themed wonderland. Visitors were treated to a delightful smorgasbord of delicious nosh, live music performances and buzzing activities.

Here’s the lowdown at what went down at this exciting, four-day event.

Tickled pink: Buzzing festivities

The vitality of Spring infused Tanjong Pagar Centre’s Urban Park during The Sakura Lounge by JAPAN RAIL CAFE, with a buzzing medley of live music performances, yoga workouts and tea ceremonies.

Visitors to the Urban Park were serenaded by a range of singers, musicians and performers across all four days. Yamaha Music’s talented line-up of stars included Samsuddin Ng—a one-man band who creates worlds of sound on his electone—and BPM, who enchanted music lovers with stellar harmonies and beautiful vocals. Other live music performers included singer-songwriter Joie Tan and the inimitable DJ Beansprouts.

Those dropping by the event were treated to lively tunes and mellow beats throughout the day, with a range of talented musicians—Joy Heng and dynamic duo DJ Shin and DJ Fukumoto— serenading the crowd with mellow beats, jazz fusion numbers and heart-warming pop melodies.

Besides unforgettable tunes, the event also featured a charming traditional tea ceremony by the NUS Sado Club and an invigorating Park Yoga session by Byst Yoga.

Food Bonanzas and Wine-tasting Sessions

Besides being a feast of sight and sound, the event boasted a smorgasbord of Japanese street food and sakura-themed bites for hungry visitors.

Dessert lovers were able to sample sakura-flavoured cream buns from Hattendo, melonpan sweet buns filled with gelato from Mellow and other sweet treats. Those who were hankering for savoury bites had their pick of juicy tonkatsu sandwiches, piping hot rice bowls with an assortment of meats and a variety of wagyu beef dishes.

Event-goers were able to slake their thirst with ice cold drafts of Kirin Beer and purchase bottles of umeshu (Japanese liquor made by steeping plums in alcohol) from Umeshuya.

But the star of the show for alcohol aficionados was undoubtedly the Yamanashi wine appreciation sessions by award-winning sommelier Daisuke Kawai. With sessions on the 21st and 23rd, these events had participants sampling a range of wines from Yamanashi Prefecture, renowned for being the birthplace of Japanese wine.

3 Tips for Sakura Lovers visiting Japan in Spring

If you’re embarking on your first-ever ohanami adventure in Japan, travel communicators at JAPAN RAIL CAFE have got you covered. Here are three tips that’ll get you the most out of your sakura-viewing experience.

1) When should I visit: Sakura typically bloom in the warmer southern regions of Japan before blooming up north. If you’re visiting major city centres like Tokyo and Osaka, be sure to visit in late March and early April.

2) Where should I go: There are tons of places in Japan to appreciate the cherry blossoms, but some places to consider include Nara Park in Nara City, Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture and Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi) in Yamanashi Prefecture. The latter offers spectacular lakeside views of Mount Fuji.

3) What should I do to prepare: Remember to pack a pair of comfortable shoes, as some locations require a fair bit of walking. Also, do observe Japanese ‘ohanami etiquette’ and refrain from picking flowers and shaking the branches of the cherry blossom trees.

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