You don’t have to jet off to Japan or even DC to view the famous Japanese cherry blossoms of spring. Cherry blossoms are one of the signs of winter breaking and the start of spring. Japan is famous for its variety of cherry trees (Prunus serrulata) which they call ‘sakura’. These trees in full bloom are a true splendor, magnified by the incredible gardens and temples that frame the late winter / early spring event.
Fortunately you don’t have to jet off to the Far East at just the right time to see these beautiful blooms. Over the years, these trees, whether as gifts from the country of Japan to the US in the early 1900’s as a token of friendship, have made their way all over the US, Canada, Australia, Europe and other corners of the world.
Would you love to see these blooms for yourself in person? Start planning as they will bloom and peak between March and April, depending on the weather and what part of the country the trees find themselves. Here’s a growing list of places where you’ll be able to see up close this magnificent spectacle of nature.
New Haven, Connecticut
- The city celebrates its annual cherry blossom festival, in honor of the planting of 73 trees back in 1973. Wooster Square.
- Historic Wooster Square Cherry Blossom Festival
- Apr 22, 2018
- Completely organized by volunteers, the Japan Festival Boston hosts food vendors, stage acts and all things culturally-Japanese in this FREE one-day event with a pre-event the day before. The city has gorgeous cherry trees around the city but particularly along the Charlies River that will be in bloom in March/April.
- April 28-29, 2018
New York, New York
- Manhattan has cherry trees planted all over the island that you will see blooming in late spring (mid- to late-April and May), but Central Park is a great place in particular to view them. There are two kinds of cherry trees planted in the park, Kwanzan Cherry and Yoshino Cherry trees. There are several places in the park planted with these trees but you will find many of them along the east and west sides of the reservoir.
- Here are more details about where to find the cherry trees in Central Park
Bronx, New York
- New York Botanical Garden has an incredible collection of trees planted across its 250 acres in the Bronx. It is home to over 200 flowering cherry trees on the grounds. You will need to buy tickets or become a member to visit the Gardens but there are many things to see beyond the tree collection. Its famous conservatory which hosts its annual Orchid show in April as well as a unique holiday train show in December are well worth the ticket price.
Brooklyn, New York
- The Brooklyn Botanical Garden hosts its annual Sakura Matsuri Festival centered around its famous Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, one of the oldest Japanese gardens outside of Japan. This garden features architectural elements such as bridges, stone lanterns, pavilions and even a traditional Shinto shrine. Even outside of cherry blossom season, this is a must-see garden for Japanese garden fans! The garden has over 200 cherry trees and have an advantage of blooming later in the seasono than many other locations around the country.
- Sakura Festival will be held April 28-29th, 2018
Newark, New Jersey
- Branch Brook Park in central New Jersey runs through Belleville and Newark and has more than 2,700 Japanese cherry blossom trees. The park first started its display of springtime pinks and whites when 2,000 trees were donated by Caroline Bamburger Fuld back in 1927 to the Essex county park system in memory of her late husband.
- The Essex County Cherry Blossom festival will hold a number of events in the park in honor of the cherry blossoms in full swing.
- April 7th, 2018
- The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia has assembled and hosts the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival which celebrates all aspects of Japanese culture including music, food and performances as well as the city’s resident cherry blossom trees. Martial arts, live musical and dance performances and even ikebana floral arrangement will be on demonstration.
- Main event is Sakura Sunday and will be held on April 15th at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park
- Festival takes place from April 7-15th, 2018
- The most famous of cherry blossom festivals, the tidal basin and surrounding areas of the US capital is home to more than 3000 Japanese cherry blossom trees and hosts the National Cherry Blossom festival in peak bloom season. While peak blooms are expected to be between March 17 and 20th, there are events planned from March 15th through April 17th all over the city in honor of Cherry Blossom season.
- Peak blooms March 17-20, 2018
- Macon has over 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees in Macon, Georgia giving the city the Congressional Records title of the Cherry Blossom Capitol of the world. The week long International Cherry Blossom Festival brings all forms of family entertainment in honor of the Japanese blooms.
- Mar 16th – Mar 25th, 2018
- Japan-America Society of Tennessee hosts the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival each year. The society had set out to plant 100 Japanese cherry blossom trees each year for 10 years and will complete this endeavor in 2018 with over 1000 trees planted all over the city.
- Sat April 14th, 2018 @Nashville Public Square
- While you won’t find a full-blown international festival here, what you will find is a proud collection of 200 cherry blossom trees on the campus of the University of Ohio in Athens. The trees were originally planted in 1979 as a gift from the university’s sister school in Japan, and have become an important part of the University’s history.
- The trees are expected to bloom in mid-March, 2018
NORTHWEST AND WEST
- In honor of Japanese American history, the Japanese American Historical Plaza was built and dedicated on August 3rd, 1990. Cherry blossom trees, so representative of the Japanese culture, are planted along the banks of the Willamette river in this unique plaza and symbol of Japanese American culture.
- There are 150 Japanese cherry blossom trees planted at the Capital Mall in Salem, and Cherry Blossom Day (March 17th) celebrates Oregon’s cherry industry, Japanese cultural influence and the blooming cherry trees.
- March 17th, 2018
- The University of Washington has 130 Japanese cherry blossom trees planted on campus, with the best views in the Quad. These trees were originally a gift from Japan to the city of Seattle back in the 1960’s and over time were relocated to the University’s grounds due to construction.
- Blooms expected week of March 19th, 2018
San Francisco, California
- San Francisco’s Japantown hosts the annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival and in fact, the festival itself is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. The festival is home to many food, art and cultural events and a parade.
- April 14-22nd, 2018
- Grand Parade is on April 16th, 2018
We hope this list of places to see the beautiful Japanese Cherry Blossom trees in full bloom as well experience all aspects of the Japanese culture inspire you to do a bit of travel this spring. If you’re as excited about Spring as we are every year, make sure you check out our posts of other garden and flower shows that always signal the coming of the growing season.
Let us know if you have attended or plan to attend any of these events and leave us a comment. Enjoy Spring!