Cherry Blossom



Welcoming the arrival of spring, the Hanami (Flower Viewing) follows a centuries old custom in Japan celebrating the country’s numerous cherry blossom trees, called sakura. Each year thousands of people gather in parks to hold feasts with friends, family and company coworkers under the flowering trees.


Hanami festivities have become popular outside of Japan as well, and are now also celebrated in other countries around the world including South Korea, Taiwan, China and the Philippines.


In the United States, Hanami has also become very popular. In 1912, Japan gave 3,000 sakura trees to the United States in celebration of the nations’ friendship. Planted in Washington D.C., the sakura trees continue to be a popular tourist attraction, and every year the National Cherry Blossom Festival honors the close relationship between the two countries.


Celebrating its 105th year, the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. marks the arrival of spring with the nation’s largest and oldest cherry blossom festival. Running March 20 through April 16, 2017, the National Cherry Blossom Festival has become an annual two week springtime celebration featuring more than 200 international cultural performances and over 90 special events from arts and exhibitions to cuisine and sports. More than 700,000 people visit Washington D.C.’s Tidal Basin each year to celebrate the festival and enjoy the 3,000 blossoming cherry trees.


Twelve varieties of cherry brighten a broad swath of parkland spanning Washington D.C.’s Hains Point westward through the Tidal Basin, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. The predominant variety of cherry trees include the Yoshino and Kawazan. Additional variations include the Akebono, Weeping Japanese tree, Usuzumi, Takesimensis, Sargent, Fugenzo, Shirofugen, Okame, Autumn Flowering cherry tree, Snow Goose and the Afterglow.