Team Yokota celebrates Sakura Spring Festival 2023 April 10, 2023

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan–Another successful Sakura Spring Festival had community partnerships on display as over 7,000 people from nearby communities came out to Yokota Air Base to enjoy a day of Springtime festivities alongside base residents, April 8.

The festival featured Japanese and American food vendors, live music performances, dancing displays, and a newly featured farmer’s market offering fresh produce and handmade crafts from local area vendors.

Performers mingled with the crowds, peppering the main festival avenue with juggling, pantomime, magic, and stilt-walking entertainment and performances.

“Sharing the incredibly symbolic beginning of spring with our Japanese friends is an experience of a lifetime,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Andrew Roddan, 374th Airlift Wing commander. “Yokota looks forward to this event every year to celebrate the beauty of the Japanese landscape and our longstanding friendship with our local and regional communities.”

Local mayors and vice mayors from communities surrounding Yokota came out to join base leadership in expressing enjoyment of the event.

“Unfortunately, the cherry blossoms wanted to bloom early this year, and yet, the smiles on everyone’s faces are as bright as cherry blossoms.” said Hiroyuki Sugiura, Mizuho Town mayor. “I am very happy to be able to share the enjoyment with everyone at this place where I truly feel the bond with the community, which is the purpose of this festival. Mizuho is adjacent to Yokota Air Base, and we hope to continue the good relationship with Yokota Air Base that we have cultivated as a good neighbor.”

For many attendees, the annual Yokota Sakura Spring Festival provides a unique opportunity to connect with members of the local community and to learn more about the culture and traditions of Japan. The festival offers a wide range of Japanese cuisine in addition to traditional cultural performances, giving attendees a deeper appreciation for Japanese culture.

The annual Sakura Festival is one of a pair of annual open-base events attracting over 100,000 visitors annually, with its sister 2023 Friendship Festival scheduled to take place on May 20-21 this year.

“It is incredible to be able to host these events at Yokota because fortifying our bonds with our Japanese communities is more important than ever,” said Roddan. “We can learn so much from one another, and our strong friendship is what makes it that much easier to execute our mission, side-by-side.”

Team Yokota is dedicated to continually building upon the longstanding trust and friendship with its local partners and neighbors through community interactions, large and small, which further strengthen allied nation relations in support of the stability of the region.