Cherry Blossom Viewing in the United States and Japan

Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival by Ann McClellan
Late March through April is when cherry blossoms come out in many locations across the world. Washington, D.C.’s cherry blossom festival is detailed in the book Cherry Blossoms: The Official Book of the National Cherry Blossom Festival by Ann McClellan. This book contains many historical photos of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, plus the story of how the trees originally came to this country.

If you want to see when the trees are blooming there, you can visit the National Park Service site.

If you cannot get to Washington, D.C. but would still like to experience the cherry blossom season, there are many parks and gardens in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania which have cherry blossom festivals throughout April.
cherry blossoms
Branch Brook Park in Newark, Essex County has over 4,000 flowering cherry trees. You can read more about the park’s spring cherry blossom festival at their site.

Another major cherry blossom festival takes place in Philadelphia, at Fairmount Park in April.

The biggest cherry blossom event in New York is the Brooklyn Botanical Garden’s “Sakura Matsuri” (Japanese for cherry blossom festival). Check out their website for this year’s festival dates.

Cherry Blossoms of Kyoto: A Seasonal Portfolio by Mizuno Hidehiko
The tradition of celebrating cherry blossom time is strongest in Japan, and probably the best place to view cherry blossoms there is in Kyoto. You can get a taste of this experience through the photographs in the book Cherry Blossoms of Kyoto: A Seasonal Portfolio by Mizuno Hidehiko. This book is full of spectacular photos of cherry blossoms in bloom in various shrines, temples, and other sites in Kyoto. The bloom runs from mid-March in the south until May in the far north. If you are a tourist in Japan during the spring cherry blossom season, you can follow the path of the cherry blossom bloom by using this Cherry Blossom Forecast website, which shows when each region of Japan is expected to bloom.

Predicting when the cherry blossoms will open and when is the best time to view them is a big deal in Japan, where cherry blossom viewing parties are one of the most anticipated springtime activities. The first forecasts are usually released each year in early February, but you can keep checking the forecasts as cherry blossom time gets closer. So wherever you are this year, I hope you will find somewhere to enjoy the cherry blossoms this spring.

—Michael K., West Windsor Branch


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