The Ballou Majestic Marching Knights perform in the 2011 National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. This year’s parade will be on Saturday. (Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post)


Japan Bowl

Since 1992, the Japan-America Society has sponsored a Japanese language and culture competition for American high school students. The format is similar to other popular quiz shows such as “It’s Academic.” This year, close to 200 students, some from as far away as Guam, will compete for a trip to Japan. The championship round is free and open to the public.

Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. National 4-H Youth Conference Center, 7100 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase. 202-833-2210. Free.

Cherry Blossom Queen Coronation and Grand Ball

While the sushi reception, silent auction, performances by AVP, an all-male a cappella group from the University of Virginia, and dancing to the 257th Army Band and a Top 40 DJ are nice, the highlight of the evening is the crowning of the 100th anniversary U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen. Following dinner, a Wheel of Fortune is spun and one lucky princess is selected to wear the Mikimoto Crown, a priceless Japanese work of art.

Friday at 6 p.m. Marriott Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth St. NW. 703-989-8992. $150.

Tamagawa University Taiko Dance Ensemble

The group from Japan’s top performing arts university performs traditional and contemporary Japanese dances as well as high-energy Taiko drumming. The company won third prize at the Tokyo International Taiko contest in 2006.

Friday at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. 202-467-4600. Free.


National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

Come watch lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands and performers bring a spectacle to Constitution Avenue. Marie Osmond, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Kristi Yamaguchi, Buzz Aldrin, Shintaro Ishihara and Ichiro Fujisaki are the honorary marshals.

Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Constitution Avenue between Seventh and 17th streets NW. 877-442-5666. $20 grandstand seating, free standing along route.

Japanese Street Festival

The largest Japanese cultural festival in the United States features food, arts and culture, martial arts demonstrations and traditional and J-Pop performances on four stages.

Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 12th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue. 202-833-2210. $5, age 12 and younger free.

Ikebana International Exhibition

Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, is much more than mere decoration. It is an art form with a recorded history and specific principles and theories. The local chapter of Ikebana International exhibits flower arrangements representing ikebana schools, from traditional to contemporary. The installation will change three times during the exhibition. Master teachers will give free ikebana demonstrations on Saturday, Sunday and April 21 and 22 from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Through April 22. U.S. National Arboretum, 3501 New York Ave. NE. 202-245-2726.


Castles in the Sky: Miyazaki, Takahata and the Masters of Studio Ghibli

The 10th annual anime marathon features four films: “Ponyo,” “Porco Rosso,” “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away,” which won an Academy Award for best animated feature.

Sunday from 11 to 9. Freer Gallery of Art, Meyer Auditorium, Jefferson Drive and 12th Street SW. 202-633-1000. Free.


Puppeteer Basil Twist takes the audience on a journey of images and emotions influenced by the tradition of Japanese dogugaeshi stage mechanism technique and his own encounters with the rural caretakers of this once-popular art form. The performance features original shamisen compositions created and performed by authorized master musician Yumiko Tanaka.

Through April 22. Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. 202-332-3300. $35-$60.

Starting April 19

Jazz at the Jefferson

Local and regional jazz artists perform. Visit the Web site for a complete list of performers.

April 19-April 22, starting at noon. Thomas Jefferson Memorial, 900 Ohio Dr. SW. 877-442-5666. Free.

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All National Cherry Blossom Festival events