Ohanami Festival

The Ohanami Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria takes place in April every year. It is organized by the Bulgarian Haiku Union under the patronage of the Japanese Embassy in Bulgaria, courtesy of the Club “Friends of Japan.” There are haiku readings, ginko, ikebana, martial arts demonstrations (Ju-Jitsu, Aikido and Kendo), as well as the planting of sakura trees as part of an over 50 years old tradition. In connection with the festival the Bulgarian Haiku Union invites poets to participate with their works in the International Haiku Contest, in the haiku installations and recitals.

On 10 April 2016 BHS members and friends of the Society took part in the Second International Haiku Contest “Cherry Blossom” in Sofia, Bulgaria part of the Ohanami Festival.


Japan’s ambassador to Sofia Takashi Koizumi presenting the awards to the Haiku Contest winners

Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up and many thanks to all the participants in the Ohanami Festival and Haiku Contest!


Frank Williams


Shrikaanth K. Murthy


Paul Smith





Awards – International Section:



spring dusk
the shadow of my cherry tree
gets back home
— Magdalena Banaszkiewicz – Krosno Odrzańskie, Poland



Kendo demonstration

cherry trees in bloom
he switches from charcoal
to watercolor
— Billy Antonio – Pangasinan, Philippines

rusted bucket
cherry blossoms patch
every hole
— Debbie Strange – Winnipeg, Canada



Graham High

the flick
of sparrow’s wing
swirls of petals
— Jan Benson – Fort Worth, USA

picnic for two –
a fallen cherry blossom
in both cups
— Graham High – Blackheath, UK

Earth Hour –
cherry blossom
— Daniela Lăcrămioara – Galaţi, Romaniа



Sheila Windsor

first light –
pink blossoms trapped
in a spider’s web
— Frank Williams – Barking, UK

there again
the wistful look in Dad’s eyes
Yoshino blossoms
— Sheila Windsor – Bexhill-on-Sea, UK

spring breeze –
cherry petals
flavoring my tea
— Marilyn Fleming – Pewaukee, USA

my heart too
is floating through the air –
cherry blossoms
— Paul Smith – Worcester, UK

pastel cherry blossoms
we open a book
of baby names
— Meik Blöttenberger – Hanover, USA

chasing his ball
the dog’s nose
flecked with blossom
— Andrew Shimield – Isleworth, UK

at the bottom
of a cherry tree children
blackbirds on top
— Vilma Knežević – Viškovo, Croatia

only three days old
they start flying from their nest –
these cherry-blossoms
— Marc May – Schin op Geul, The Netherlands

cherry blossoms fall
children upturn skirts
cupping showers
— Adjei Agyei-Baah – Kumasi, Ghana

framed by cherry blossom
my granddaughter’s smile
— Andre Surridge – Hamilton, New Zealand

spring breeze
the baby finch bathes
in cherry blossoms
— Sneha Sundaram – Jersey City, USA

a wild cherry
– its petals shaken down by
the blows of an axe
— Nina Kovačić – Zagreb, Croatia

cherry blossom rain…
my baby and i scatter
a flock of pigeons
— Shrikaanth K. Murthy – Birmingham, UK

how can I forget
first pink blossoms under
the toddler’s first steps
— Angelee Deodhar – Chandigarh, India

april storm
one cherry petal lands
at the airport
— Ernest J Berry – Blenheim, New Zealand

a cancer ward window
a cold wind and
cherry petals
— Anna Mazurkiewicz – Chelm, Poland

repainting white lines
road workers swear softly
flying blossom
— Jon Horsley – Oxford, UK

refugees convoy –
beyond borders
bloomed cherry
— Daniela Lăcrămioara – Galaţi, Romaniа

Not one at all
welcomes me in the station
only the cherry blossoms
— Adina Enachescu – Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania

Some of the haiku have been chosen for the Art installations and here you could read the haiku recital
One Hundred and One Cherry Blossom Haiku (101 authors and 27 countries): https://vidahaiku.wordpress.com/one-hundred-and-one-cherry-blossom-haiku/

Photos by the Bulgarian Haiku Union, Nihon Tomono Kai, Aikido Club Aiki Budo and other participants
More photos here at: https://www.facebook.com/events/874268769385726/?active_tab=discussion
Write-up by Iliyana Stoyanova (Ohanami Haiku Contest Administrator)



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