With the city in bloom for the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20–April 14), the Freer and Sackler Galleries are hosting activities celebrating Japanese arts and design.

On the weekend of April 5-7, the Galleries will open with Hand-Held: Gerhard Pulverer’s Japanese Illustrated Books. The exhibit will show how Edo-period artists and writers created woodblock-printed designs for mass circulation and entertainment. Students from Virginia Tech, along with architect and assistant professor Aki Ishida, will create an audiovisual Japanese lantern installation. Kyoto Kimono will host a vintage Japanese garments trunk show.

On Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m., IMAGINASIA FAMILY PROGRAM will hold a book binding workshop in which participants will create their own Japanese book featuring cherry blossoms and scenes and activities related to springtime.

On Friday, April 12, Tamagawa University Taiko Drumming and Dance Troupe will perform at noontime on the National Mall.

On the weekend of April 13-14 at 11 a.m., the eleventh annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Anime Marathon will show all 26 episodes of Shinichiro Watanabe’s landmark animated television series, “Samurai Champloo.” This smart, hip series is the story of three eccentric outcasts traveling across Edo-era Japan in search of “the samurai who smells of sunflowers.” The program gleefully incorporates hip hop music and graffiti with historical figures.

On Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14, 1 and 3 p.m., IMAGINASIA FAMILY PROGRAM Anime Artists Workshop will give participants instruction in anime and manga drawing from anime artists to create their own work.

Tours on Arts of Japan will be held most days from March 21–April 14 at 2:15 p.m.

The Freer’s exhibit Arts of Japan: Edo Aviary and Poetic License (until August 4) traces how depictions of birds, long part of the Japanese visual repertoire, were influenced by natural history painting in the Edo period (1615–1868) and shows how the interpretation of classical Japanese and Chinese literary traditions, previously the domain of an educated aristocracy, was absorbed into the merchant and artisan classes during the Edo period, producing energetic reconsiderations of time-honored themes.

Visit asia.si.edu/events for more information.

Courtesy of Sheila Wickouski

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