Jake Shimabukuro and Sakura Easy Ukulele Tutorial

by | Aug 3, 2019 | Concerts & appearances, Video lessons | 2 comments

This summer I had a wonderful opportunity to hear Jake Shimabukuro play “Sakura” in the park. First he played with The Acoustic Generation from Aloha City Ukes, and then he played a solo. The solo he chose was Sakura, a Japanese folk song meaning Cherry Blossoms. I also got to meet him and we talked about our ukulele books.

Spring and Cherry Blossoms

Sakura is a Japanese word which means cherry blossoms. During spring, these stunning cherry blossoms appear all over Japan but only last for several days. The cherry blossoms appear in Tokyo usually from late March to early April. In other parts of the country, they come out as early as January.


The Japanese observe a ritual called “hanami” during the cherry blossom season. Basically, hanami is the Japanese custom of taking time to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of flowers or hana in Japanese. Frequently, these spring flowers are those of the cherry blossoms but there are others such as the plum blossoms.

Jake and the Koto

Jake imitates the sound of the 12-string koto, a traditional Japanese instrument, in his performance of Sakura. Here is a video showing what the koto sounds like.


Watch Jake Shimabukuro Play Sakura!

Here is Jake’s rendition of Sakura. Notice how beautiful the ukulele sounds and how well he is able to imitate the koto.

Jenny and Sakura Easy Ukulele Tutorial

I have always liked Sakura. It reminds me of how much I enjoyed the cherry blossoms on the University of Washington Quad when I was in college. The trees bloomed every Spring there and all the students enjoyed the blossoms. Some of these trees were a gift from the Japanese to the University. 

Sakura is in our newest book, 21 Easy Ukulele Folk SongsIf you would like like to learn a much easier version of this song, check out our easy ukulele tutorial for Sakura below. You can also get a copy of our book to learn this song and other easy folk songs. 

Get the Sheet Music to Sakura in our Newest Book

Do you want to sound convincing on folk songs? You know basic chords and strumming patterns. And you’re interested in folk music. You’d like to take it to the next level.

Get your copy now!


  1. Ava

    Thanks for Sakura, the chord melody combinations make rich sounding chords & harmony.
    We have a Cherry Blossom Festival in February on our island in Waimea

    • Rebecca Bogart

      You are so welcome, Ava. Glad you liked the post and how cool to hear about your local Cherry Blossom Festival.


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