Out and About: DC Cherry Blossom Festival
Spring is officially here! The birds are chirping, the trees are budding, and the D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival is upon us. This year marks the 102-year anniversary of the 1912 Gift of Sakura, when 3,020 trees were sent from Yokohama, Japan to Washington, D.C., as a gift from the people of Japan to the people of the United States. In the spirit of celebration let’s look back on the history of the Cherry Blossom celebrations, plus some fun ways to enjoy the season and these beautiful trees.
In Japan, celebrating the blossom period is a time-honored cultural tradition. People have Cherry Blossom parties with colleagues, friends, and family. During these parties they eat, drink, and barbecue underneath the Cherry Blossoms. The custom is called Hanami which translates literally to “watching blossoms”, and is a Japanese custom that dates back a least a thousand years. The evening version of these parties is called Yozajura, and focuses on illuminated trees. Yozakura is a more intimate, romantic event.
Get the Cherry Blossom Experience:
Luckily for us Annapolitans, our proximity to Washington, D.C., means we don’t have to travel across the globe to experience a world-renowned cherry blossom festival. It only takes a quick trip down Route 50 to experience one of the largest celebrations of Japanese culture in the world. The multi-week festival hosts over a million visitors every year and includes a wide array of events and activities from March 20 through April 17.
If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, you’re in luck because the best events are still to come! First, get in the Japanese spirit with some of our excellent Japanese Dishes and fresh sushi, then head down to that other capital city to catch these awesome events:
Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, April 09 –
- Time: 1– 9PM, Fireworks display at 8:30 PM *RAIN OR SHINE*
- Location: Southwest Waterfront – 600 Water Street, SW to the Waterfront Park and Titanic Memorial
- Cost: FREE!!!
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, April 16 –
- Time: 10AM – Noon
- Location: Constitution Avenue – From 7th to 17th streets, NW
- Cost: Standing along the Parade route from Constitution Avenue between 9th and 15th streets, NW is FREE and open to the public, but Grandstand Seating tickets start at $20 and can be purchased HERE. Arrive early for the best views.
The Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, April 16 –
- Time: 10:30AM – 6PM
- Location: M Street and New Jersey Avenue, SE in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood
- Cost: Adult tickets are $10 and can be purchased HERE or at the gate on the day of the Matsuri. Children 12 and under are free.
Events DC presents Cherry Blast!, April 16 –
- Time: 6PM – 2AM
- Location: Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, 801 K Street NW, Washington DC
- Cost: Tickets starting at $20 and can be purchased HERE. Children 10 and under are free.
For more information about events, ticketing, locations, and the rest visit the official Cherry Blossom Festival site.