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MAY 5, 2019




NOVI, MI 48377


MSU Tollgate Farm and the Novi Educational Foundation are partnering to host the first Hanami Spring Picnic at MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center on May 5th from 11:00 to 3:00. This event will celebrate the first spring season of the new Sakura Garden at MSU Tollgate Farm with picnic lunches under the cherry trees.


The Japan Center for Michigan Universities and the Japan Outreach Initiative will be providing fun activities for the whole family to learn about Japanese Culture at the picnic. Any proceeds from the event will support Novi Community School District students and teachers in attending programming and professional development with MSU Extension.

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  • Registration is $15 per person and includes a bento box lunch, family activities at the event, and green tea from Shiga Prefecture Japan

  • Pre-registration is required for this event using the link to the right

  • Registration is non-refundable

  • Limited parking will be available on a first come first serve basis at MSU Tollgate Farm. Additional parking will be available at the South University Campus located at 41555 West 12 Mile Road, Novi, MI 48377 within short walking distance of MSU Tollgate Farm.


11:00 – 3:00 Japanese Fan Making and Calligraphy Activity

11:00 – 3:00 Wagon Rides and Animal Experience

11:00 – 12:00 Koto Musician Performance

12:30 – 1:30 Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony

1:30 – 2:15 Koto Musician Performance

1:30 – 2:15 Haiku Writing Workshop

2:15 – 2:45 Japanese Dancing Performance


Japan Center for Michigan Universities

The Japan Center for Michigan Universities is a study abroad organization founded in 1989 around the relationship between Michigan and its sister-state, Shiga prefecture. Located in a small town named Hikone on the shores of Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake, JCMU provides students from Michigan and the rest of the country the opportunity to immerse themselves in Japanese language and culture through classes and community interaction. Visit the JCMU Website, Blog, and Facebook page for more information.

Michigan-Shiga Sister State Program

Michigan and Shiga began their sister-state relationship in 1968, announcing their commitment to international exchange and appreciation. Since then, exchange programs for high school and college students, as well as adults, have run regularly between the two states. The Michigan-Shiga relationship is one of the strongest bonds at its level, and is a model for other states and cities with sisters in Japan. Visit the Shiga Tourism Website and the Michigan-Shiga Sister State Program website to learn more.


MSU Extension Tollgate Farm and Education Center

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension helps people improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities and businesses.  For more than 100 years, MSU Extension has helped grow Michigan’s economy by equipping Michigan residents with the information that they need to do their jobs better, raise healthy and safe families, build their communities and empower our children to dream of a successful future.

MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center promotes food system awareness through exploring the sustainable, nutritional, and cultural aspects of agriculture. Our programming educates the public about food production while encouraging ethical food producers.

Hanami Spring Picnic Flyer
Hanami Spring Picnic Flyer - Japanese
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English Flyer
Cherry Tree Planting

From left: Robert Gatt, Mayor of Novi; L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive; Taizo Mikazuki, Governor, Shiga Prefecture, Japan; Rick Snyder, Governor, State of Michigan; Dr. Jeff Dwyer, Director, Michigan State University Extension Novi; and Mitsuhiro Wada, Consul General of Japan. Photo by Vaughn Gurganian.

In the fall of 2018, eighteen yoshino and kwanzan cherry trees were planted as a part of the celebration of the relationship between Oakland County and Shiga Prefecture in Japan. This year marks 50 years in the sister-state relationship with the prefecture, which is located on the western side of Honshu Island in the country.

The trees were planted during a ceremony with plenty of local, state and international dignitaries. In addition to speeches by Novi Mayor Bob Gatt and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Gov. Rick Snyder gave remarks during his first visit to the Novi farm. "This is a special place. When you look at our state, the center of our Japanese community is right here," Snyder said. "What's most powerful to me is beyond the Japanese community. It's an opportunity for the people of Novi, the people of Oakland County, the people of the State of Michigan, to reflect on our relationship and be thankful for what has been built between Shiga and Michigan among the last 50 years, what has been built between the United States and the country of Japan over many decades and to be proud of that."

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