National Cherry Blossom Festival
National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.
The festival has grown from modest beginnings to the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. School children reenacted the initial planting and other activities, holding the first “festival” in 1927. Civic groups helped expand the festivities in 1935. The Festival expanded to two weeks in 1994 to accommodate a diverse schedule during the blooming period. Growing again in 2012, the 100-year anniversary of the gift was marked with a five-week celebration.
Today, the Festival spans four weekends and welcomes more than 1.5 million people to enjoy diverse programming and the trees.