It’s said that more visitors descend upon the nation’s capital to gaze at the 3000-plus trees during the three-week-long National Cherry Blossom Festival.
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The festival started with the planting of two trees gifted by Tokyo in DC’s West Potomac Park in March 1912. More than 100 years later, the cherry trees are clustered around the picturesque Tidal Basin reservoir, and the festival has grown to include events throughout the city.
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The Missouri Botanical Garden contains more than 100 varieties of blossoming cherry trees, with 20 specimens consisting of cuttings from those trees gifted to Washington, DC, in 1912. You can find many of these varieties in the Japanese Garden, while such less-familiar examples as the Mount Fuji cherry “Shirotae” bloom at the George Washington Carver Garden. This St Louis venue’s “Sake and Sakura” event on April 7 celebrates the trees’ sheer beauty through Japanese food and drink, and also provides a chance to see the garden’s enchanting Teahouse Island.
San Diego has not only beaches and rugged coastline, but plenty of cherry blossoms, too. The star specimens can be found in Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden. In mid-March, the garden’s annual Cherry Blossom Week offers a variety of programs involving local merchants, performances, a children’s arts-and-crafts area, a beer and sake garden, and a tea garden at the Inamori Pavilion.
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Music City has its own strings of cherry blossoms, thanks to a tree-planting project in parks and neighborhoods led by government officials and the Japan-America Society of Tennessee. During the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, a Cherry Blossom Walk features a 2.5-mile course through these areas, following the Cumberland River Greenway after beginning (then ending) at Nashville Public Square. The one-day festival in April celebrates both spring and Japanese culture with programming on the front lawn of the Metro Courthouse at Public Square Park.