Significance Of Cherry Blossom In Japan

Summary: The DC Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival is a yearly celebration held in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the United States in 1912. The festival is a huge tourist attraction, featuring events such as live performances, lantern lighting, a parade, and more.

1. History of the Cherry Blossom Festival

The first cherry blossom trees were gifted to the U.S. in 1912 as a symbol of friendship between Japan and America. However, it wasn’t until 1927 that the first Cherry Blossom Festival was held, with a parade and other events. The festival was suspended during World War II and the trees became a symbol of peace; in 1952, the festival was revived.

Today, the festival attracts over a million visitors each year and has become a cultural celebration not only of Japanese traditions, but of the capital’s springtime beauty.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival was designated a congressional event in 1999.

2. Events at the Festival

One of the biggest events at the festival is the parade, which features marching bands, floats, giant balloons and more. Additionally, there are fireworks, food and drink booths, art shows, cultural performances, bike tours, and walking tours.

A particularly striking event is the kite festival, where attendees can watch kites of all shapes and sizes soar against the backdrop of the cherry blossom trees. There’s also a 10-mile race called the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, which draws professional runners from around the world.

Another favorite activity for visitors is to take a scenic boat ride along the Potomac River, with views of the beautiful cherry blossom trees lining the shore.

3. Viewing the Cherry Blossoms

The National Mall is the most popular location for cherry blossom viewing, but the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park are also great spots. The peak bloom typically happens in late March or early April, and the festival is timed accordingly. However, it is important to note that the bloom is dependent on the weather and can vary by up to two weeks; therefore, it is recommended to keep an eye out for updates.

The National Park Service offers ranger-led programs, including walking tours, bike tours, and even a nighttime lantern-lit walk to view the cherry blossoms.

For those who want to avoid the crowds, a visit to the Kenwood neighborhood in Maryland offers a quieter option, with its own beautiful cherry blossom display.

4. Food of the Festival

One of the best parts of the festival is the food! There are food and drink vendors selling everything from Japanese street food to American classics like hot dogs and BBQ. Cafe Asia offers happy hour specials through the duration of the festival, as well as a cherry blossom-themed menu featuring items like Sakura Sushi and Cherry Blossom Cocktails.

For a cultural experience, visitors can attend the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, which features food vendors offering authentic dishes such as yakitori and okonomiyaki, as well as traditional Japanese performances and drinks like sake and green tea.

Local restaurants also get in on the action by offering cherry blossom-themed dishes throughout the duration of the festival.

5. Fun Facts about the Cherry Blossoms

The original gift of cherry blossom trees from Japan was actually partially destroyed by pests, and had to be replaced shortly after the initial planting.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival began as a one-day event, and has now grown to a three-week celebration.

The cherry blossom trees are not just in D.C.! Many other cities around the U.S., including San Francisco and Seattle, have their own cherry blossom festivals.


The DC Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual celebration of springtime beauty and cultural exchange. From the parade to the food, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this popular event. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity to witness the beauty of the cherry blossoms in our nation’s capital.

Lastly, be sure to follow updates on bloom times and festival events on the official National Cherry Blossom Festival website:

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