This year’s cherry blossom season is here, with its peak bloom estimated to be a little earlier than usual! Watchers have predicted it’ll be from March 18 – March 23 instead of March 31 – April 3. We’ve selected some favorites for you, so if you’re in the vicinity of any of them, take some time to wonder at the pretty blooms.
San Francisco marks the blooming of Cherry Blossoms with a huge festival at the Peace Plaza in Japantown. On two weekends (April 9 & 10 and April 16 – 17) you can explore Japanese culture, from musical events to origami workshops, next to the colorful trees. If you’re looking forward to the grand parade, it’s going to be on the last day of this festival at 13:00. You can also read a bit more of a local perspective on the article Cherry Blossom Festival written by our Spotter Nadine on the San Francisco blog.
The trees at Washington DC’s National Mall around the Tidal Basin are definitely the most famous in the U.S.. This obviously results in big crowds under the pink clouds. A secret local’s tip, is the National Arboretum, which has nearly forty different types of flowering cherries and less crowds… Thank you Ryan!
Aside from these cities, New York’s Brooklyn Botanical Garden is also holding their own version of a cherry blossom festival called Sakura Matsuri that is scheduled on April 30 to May 1. The events taking place in this festival range from Japanese-alike performances from groups like Soh Daiko to a workshop about the famous Japanese tea ceremony.
Philadelphia is also hosting a festival, the Subaru Cherry Blossom from April 11 to 17. There are three main highlights to look out for in this festival:
- Sakura Under the Stars – April 16 18:00 – 20:00.
- This event/party will take place in the Lowes Hotel and participants will be able to enjoy Japanese cuisine and specialty cocktails.
- Cherry 10K & 5K – April 16 06:30 – 10:00
- This event lets the participants walk or run either the distance of 5K or 10K underneath the cherry blossoms.
- Sakura Sunday – April 17 09:30 – 17:00
- Throughout this day, the event will focus on Japanese performances including a showing of martial arts, cultural demonstrations, arts & crafts, karaoke, live music and dance performances and much more.
If you’re in Vienna during spring, then check out Donaupark’s flowering cherry trees (a gift from Japan).
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is being held right now, and you can take a walking tour of the blossoms, see concerts and performances and interactive events that sometimes involve elements of Japanese culture, but are all really a tribute to the cherry blossoms. Via this link you can see all the festival locations, and also the best spots for photographs.
And these are just a few locals’ recommendations for the Cherry Blossom season, worry not as there are plenty more places and festivals to see these beautiful trees in bloom. We’d love to hear about your favorite place!