Blooming friendships at Sakura Spring Festival 2024

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tristan Truesdell
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Yokota Air Base welcomed the Japanese community to celebrate blooming friendships - and sakura trees - through the Sakura Spring Festival, April 6, 2024.

The Sakura Spring Festival is a bilateral event focused on celebrating the long-standing and close bond between the base populace and the local community.

“Today is about our partnership with our local community - to those we live and work with around this base,” said Col. Andrew Roddan, 374th Airlift Wing commander. “Today is our chance to say thank you to you. Thank you for everything you do that lets us do our mission in Japan, supporting Japan and supporting the alliance with Japan.”

As a standing tradition between Yokota Air Base and the Japanese community, Sakura Spring Festival offers a unique opportunity for on and off-base communities to intermingle and share their traditions through this large-scale cultural exchange, all while centered around the mutual appreciation for the beauty of blooming sakura trees.

The springtime celebration featured food vendors representing cultures around the world, live music including the U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific-Asia and Japanese artists, base community entertainers, Japanese performance artists and a farmers’ market.

“This event is held by the U.S. Air Force every year at Yokota Air Base and is a great opportunity for us to deepen our ties and mutual understanding with the locals,” said Col. Hiroyuki Ishii, Operations Support Wing commander. “Although the cherry trees started to bloom last week, we were fortunately able to hold the event in full blossom today.”

Sakura Spring Festival is one of two large-scale open-base events that occur each year on Yokota Air Base and welcomes thousands of visitors annually. The other event, Friendship Festival, is scheduled to take place May 18-19 for this year’s iteration.