It’s Cherry Blossom Time!

No matter how hard you are working, or how rushed you are, you need to take just a few minutes today to go outside and look at the cherry trees. If you’ve looked and cannot find any cherry trees where you are, feast your eyes on the beautiful pictures of blooming cherries from the far corners of the world.

Photograph by Miya.m.

In Japan, the arrival of cherry blossoms begins in February in Okinawa and spreads north to Hokkaido by May. The blossoming of sakura is tracked nationwide the way the U.S. tracks peak fall colors. The tradition of hanami, or “flower viewing” often includes picnics and festivals to welcome spring.

Photograph by Mike Powell and Jeurgen Horn.

Jeurgen Horn and Mike Powell, travel bloggers who are living in Tokyo temporarily, are excited about the sakura, or cherry blossoms. Parks, paths, cemeteries, river banks, and anywhere a tree can grow you’ll see beautiful delicate flowers. It’s a signal for everyone in Tokyo to get out and enjoy the nice spring weather -and take pictures of the beauty!

Photograph by Mike Powell and Jeurgen Horn.

For a short period at the beginning of April, the word “sakura” was a prominent noun in approximately 75% of the sentences I heard. Because when Tokyo’s cherry trees bloom, there’s no talking about anything else. You’re either chatting about the blossoms, planning your picnic in the park, sitting in a rowboat on a pond ringed by cherry trees, or strolling along a path while the petals flutter to the ground around you like the sweetest, most fragrant snowfall imaginable. In any case, “sakura” is the topic of conversation.

Photograph by Mike Powell and Jeurgen Horn.

The trees of Tokyo even look awesome lit up at night. You can see videos and many more pictures at For 91 Days.

When you think of cherry trees in America, you probably think about the beautiful trees planted along the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. The National Park Service has declared that they have reached their peak bloom today, but they will continue to look glorious for the next few days. If you can get to Washington this weekend, you’re in for a real treat.

In 1885, Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore returned from a visit to Japan and tried to convince officials in Washington that there should be cherry trees in the nation’s capital. Her plan got nowhere at first, but she kept it up for decades. Dr. David Fairchild planted cherry trees on his own property near Washington as an experiment, and also gave away tree seedlings. By 1909, First Lady Helen Taft was open to the idea of planting cherry trees along the roadway, and initiated the first plantings. Japanese consul Mr. Midzuno heard about the plan and offered 2,000 trees as a gift from the city of Tokyo. The first trees that arrived in 1910 were infested and had to be destroyed. Officials from both nations were embarrassed, but the mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, was determined to make it right, and sent over 3,000 new trees to Washington. They were planted in the spring of 1912. Over the years, more cherry trees have been added for genetic diversity, but branches from the original 1912 planting are still being grafted and propagated.

Photograph by Estoymuybueno.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival continues through this Sunday in Washington. The Japanese Street Festival is Saturday as well as the National Cherry Blossom Parade and other events.

Photograph by Flickr user myllissa.

Another cherry blossom festival is happening now in Jinhae, South Korea. The town on the southern coast is estimated to have 340,000 cherry trees, the largest number in one city on earth! The Jinhae Gunhangje Festival concludes today.

Here is where I was going to put a picture of my own lone cherry tree, but it’s not fully bloomed yet, and I cannot find a picture from previous years. Oh, I know I have some, but my files are bulging with uncategorized pictures, just like a set of shoeboxes full of prints. So instead, I’ll just go outside and enjoy the spring flowers.

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April 10, 2014 - 2:25pm
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