One hundred years ago, three thousand flowering cherry trees were planted on the National Mall as a gift from Japan to America. The Cherry Blossom Festival began in 1935 and now attracts more than a million visitors and is one of the largest annual public events in the United States. “Hanami” is the Japanese word for cherry blossom viewing and it represents a Japanese tradition more than 1000 years old.
These enchanting white and pink trees surround the Tidal Basin in Washington DC and provide a delicate backdrop for many of our national monuments. The blossoms frame our views of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. The delicate branches provide a graceful compliment to the very powerful monument of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And it is wonderful to watch so many people enjoying a walk among the trees or a picnic underneath the branches.
Years ago we brought our kids to DC to enjoy the sights and watched as they and hundreds of other children gleefully climbed the cherry trees. Fortunately climbing is no longer allowed, and some of the trees are protected with fencing from some local beavers who thought the trees made better dams than scenery.
Yo no naka wa Mikka minu ma ni Sakura kana“Life is short, like the three-day glory of the cherry blossom”