It’s Not Too Late to Experience Cherry Blossom Season

April 10, 2024 by

Cherry blossoms in bloom.Via Unsplash.

In Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize the transient nature of life, a reflection of the Buddhist concept known as “mono no aware,” which recognizes that there is both beauty and mortality in life.

For most of Japan, including Tokyo, the season begins in mid-March and runs through early to late April; however, in the northernmost region of Hokkaido, the blooms do not peak until late May. The Japanese celebrate cherry blossom season with hanami flower viewing parties and spectacular late-night picnics known as yozakura where revelers illuminate the cherry trees with hanging paper lanterns.

Washington, DC cherry blossoms.Via Unsplash.

Outside of Japan, there are North American locations worth traveling to from mid to late April where you can experience delicate late-blooming pink and white flowers and even partake in cherry blossom festivals:

April 12-14, 2024: Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival
After Japan’s former Prime Minister, Takeo Miki, gifted 1,000 cherry trees to Seattle on May 8, 1976, the Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, the largest and oldest in the Northwest, grew into a weekend-long celebration of Japanese and Japanese-American culture celebrated annually at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavillon and Armory.

Seattle Cherry Blossom FestivalVia Unsplash.

April 13, 2024: Nashville, TN
A collaboration between the Japan-America Society of Tennessee, the General Consulate of Japan, and the Nashville Mayor’s Office, the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of Japanese culture, from martial arts to traditional music to woodblock prints–and the city’s decade-long goal of planting 1,000 cherry blossom trees throughout Nashville.

Nashville cherry blossoms in bloom. Brandon Jean via Unsplash.Via Unsplash.

April 13-14 and April 20-21, 2024: San Francisco
One of California’s largest celebrations of Asian traditions, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival draws thousands to celebrate the vibrant blooms along with the richness and diversity of Japanese American culture and heritage with performances, traditional arts, and live music.

San Francisco cherry blossoms in blooms. David Vives via Unsplash.Via Unsplash.

Until April 14, 2024: Washington, DC

An explosion of color in a sea of pale pink and white blossoms around the District’s Tidal Basin signals the beginning of spring in Washington, DC. The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to Washington, DC. The Festival spans four weeks of diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.

Wasshington, DC cherry blossoms.Via Unsplash.

Until April 14, 2024: Huntington Beach, CA
The largest city park in Southern California, Huntington Beach Central Park, spans 354 acres and hosts the annual Orange County Cherry Blossom Festival that attracts over 8,000 people to celebrate the blooms.

California cherry blossoms in bloom. Chelsea Audibert via Unsplash.Via Unsplash.

April 14, 2024: Essex County, New Jersey, Branch Brook Park Bloomfest
Branch Brook Park in New Jersey boasts the largest and most varied collection of Japanese flowering cherry blossom trees in a park within the United States, with 5,300 in 18 varieties.

Via Unsplash.

April 15-16, 2024: Philadelphia, PA

In honor of the Sesquicentennial of American Independence, the Japanese government gifted 1,600 cherry trees to Philadelphia, spawning the annual Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival. Featuring a variety of events throughout the city, the festival highlights the beauty of Japanese sakura—the flowering cherry trees that illuminate city streets and parks with their delicate pink and white blossoms.

Philadelphia cherry blossoms in bloom. Via Unsplash. Via Unsplash.

April 23-25: Brooklyn Botanic Garden 

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s cherry blossoms bloom throughout April and often into early May, with each cultivar taking a week or two to progress through its entire bloom cycle. Visitors can enjoy Hanami Nights at the gardens, listening to the sounds of live performances under illuminated trees, sipping Japanese beer and sake, and savoring bites from a bar and food popup.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens cherry blossoms in bloom. Pascale Amez via Unsplash.Via Unsplash.

Check out our article about a Japanese garden hidden behind a parking lot at Los Angeles’s Dodger Stadium.

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