Experience Hanami In A City Near You
posted on by Bamboo Dong
We've compiled a list of some of the best places in the US (and Vancouver, BC) to spot some cherry blossoms, along with some of the accompanying cherry blossom festivals held in those locations. Don't worry if the event in your area has already passed—even though they're usually scheduled to appear around the blooms, the actual blossoming of the flowers is as fickle as the weather, sometimes appearing up to two weeks earlier or later than predicted. It's possible you might still glimpse cherry blossoms yet. Of course, if you live in a warmer climate (looking at you, Hawaii), then your chance has probably passed, but there's always next year.
Likewise, if you don't have any locations near you with cherry blossom trees, this might change in a few years. Back in 2012, to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Tokyo's gift of over 3,000 cherry trees to Washington D.C., dozens of cities and metropolitan areas were chosen as the locations to plant centennial cherry blossom trees, many originating from cuttings of the original D.C. trees. Some cities already had thriving populations of their own, but others received their very first cherry trees. On that list, Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, AL; Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Carson City, NV; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Des Moines, IA; Fort Worth, TX; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, MO; Lexington, KY; Los Angeles, CA; Macon, GA; Nashville, TN; New York, NY; Novi, MI; Omaha, NE; Pawtucket & Central Falls, RI; Pensacola, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Portsmouth, NH; Sacramento, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; St. Louis, MO; St. Paul, MN; Waimea, HI; Washington D.C.; and Winona, MN.
Of course, it may take five years or more for the trees to mature enough to bloom, so if your city doesn't have cherry blossom yet, check again in 2017.
The list below isn't an exhaustive list by all means... just the best list we could come up with. If there are cherry blossom viewing locations that we missed out on, please let us know in the forums and we'll add it to the list. Likewise, please link your photos in the forums; we'd love to see!
The Japan America Society of Alabama holds a Sakura Festival every spring, and while this year's has already taken place (March 22), you can still try and catch the cherry blossoms at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
Over 2000 trees bloom at Lake Balboa in Van Nuys. Sakura enthusiasts can also check out Descanso Gardens.
The 2014 Cherry Blossom Festival Committee and the City of Monterey Park are celebrating the 17th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival on April 26 and 27. Entry to the festival is free. The event will be located at Barnes Park.
While the festival itself was in March, you can still try to spot blossoms at the Japanese Friendship Garden and Balboa Park.
Now in its 47th year, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival will be held April 12-13 and April 19-20. For other places to check out cherry trees in bloom, check out the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, which is open every day from 9AM to 6PM.
The Torrance Cherry Blossom Cultural Festival is already over, but you can still see blossoms at Columbia Park, which has over 110 cherry blossom trees donated by Soka Gakkai International - USA, a Buddhist organization that has been instrumental in helping to plant hundreds of cherry trees around the US.
While the official website for the Cherry Blossom Festival lists a Sakura Matsuri event for late June, cherry blossoms should likely bloom in the next few weeks. Your best bet (until 2017) is the Denver Botanic Gardens.
Head to Wooster Square to take a gander at the 73 cherry blossom trees planted in 1973 by the New Haven Historic Commission and the New Haven Parks Department. This year's Cherry Blossom Festival takes place April 27 from noon to 5PM; admission is free.
Head to Brandywine Park in mid-April for some prime cherry blossom viewing this spring.
Perhaps the most well-known, the National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in Washington D.C. from March 20 to April 13. Cherry blossom trees can be viewed around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, at Hains Point in East Potomac Park, and on the grounds of the Washington Monument. For a detailed list of the tree cultivars and their locations, check out this page from the National Park Services.
Head over to Conyers for a glimpse at the cherry blossoms at the Georgia International Horse Park.
Macon, GA is apparently the "Cherry Blossom Capital of the World," boasting over 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees. The International Cherry Blossom Festival just wrapped up on March 30, but the trees are still in bloom. One final event is scheduled for April 5, a post-festival celebration featuring hot air balloons.
The cherry trees bloom much earlier here, peaking in early- to mid-February. The trees trace their roots (no pun intended) to a single tree brought from Okinawa. Festival participants are encouraged to ride a trolley through the town to view cherry blossoms.
Taking place at the end of January or early February, the Waimea Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event on the Big Island.
While the young cherry trees at the Chicago Botanic Gardens are still too young to bloom, they'll be ready for viewing in 2017.
10 cherry trees exist on Bluffton Road near St. Mary's River. Locals can also check out the Cherry Blossom Festival on May 19.
Head to the Kenwood neighborhood of Bethesda and you'll see over 1,200 cherry trees lining the streets. The trees are of the Yoshino varietal, the same that line the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C.
In mid-April, head to the Arnold Arboretum where you can enjoy cherry blossoms in the Bradley Rosaceous Collection.
The first planting of cherry blossom trees in Marshfield originated from a local resident, who wanted to bring a touch of D.C. back to his hometown. Since then, the city has been celebrating the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival, which is a little different here than the other Cherry Blossom Festivals around the country; in these parts, the festival honors the city, the state, and descendents of U.S. presidents.
Visitors to the Missouri Botanical Garden can witness their large collection of ornamental and fruiting cherries, including many Japanese varietals. New Hampshire
It's only fitting that the city of Portsmouth would also have cherry blossom trees—the city was the site of the Treaty of Portsmouth for which the D.C. trees were given as thanks. Visitors to the Portsmouth City Hall can check out several trees near the tidal pond.
This year's Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival takes place April 5 - 13 at the Essex County Branch Brook Park. Not only is the park itself the oldest county park in the US, it's also home to the country's largest collection of cherry blossom trees, with around 4,300.
This year's Sakura Matsuri festivities take place April 26-27 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. For a map of the trees at the BBG and a guide for when they might bloom, check out their "CherryWatch Blossom Status" map here
This year marks the first Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival. It takes place April 23 to May 4 at the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park.
On May 3, head over to Stony Brook University's Charles B. Wang Center for the Sakura Matsuri for an afternoon of cultural activities, performances, and cherry blossom viewing.
The Randall's Island Park Alliance is holding their second annual Cherry Blossom Festival on May 3 at the Urban Farm. The island features a large collection of cherry blossom trees, with more to be planted at the event.
This year's event takes place April 27 from 11:30AM - 5PM at Turnure Park. Check out their Facebook page for more information, and photos of previous years' blooms.
Check out the cherry blossom trees on Ohio University's campus, gifts from their exchange partner, Chubu University. The campus is now the home of 200 Yoshino cherry trees and a few Double Weeping cherry trees.
The official cherry blossoms festivals put on by the Japan-America Society of Oregon and the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center are over, but you can still view the cherry blossoms at Waterfront Park, on the waterfront side of the Japanese American Historical Plaza. The trees were gifted to the city by the Japanese Grain Importers Association in 1989.
Enjoy Sakura Sunday on April 13 at the Horticulture Center at Fairmount Park, which has over 2,000 cherry blossom trees. Check out the organization's website for other events leading up to the festival, like a sushi-making class and a film showcase.
Originally planted to revitalize an industrial corridor, the cherry blossom trees planted along Roosevelt Avenue have since inspired the Annual Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Festival. Pawtucket and Central Falls were also amongst the cities chosen to receive gifts of Centennial cherry blossom trees in 2012.
Beginning in 2009, the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival has dedicated itself to its mission to plant 1000 cherry blossom trees in 10 years, with 100 per year. This year's event will take place April 12.
Those near the Dallas-Fort Worth area can spot cherry blossoms at the Dallas Arboretum, which has over 100 cherry blossom trees, and at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, which has a 7-acre Japanese Garden that contains the trees.
Although residents are only 20 minutes away from Washington D.C., they can see plenty of cherry blossom trees in their own neighborhood at the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Check out the Fairfax County website for special events.
This year's event was cancelled, but visitors can go see blossoms at Red Wing Park.
The Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival is taking place from April 25-27 this year, but those who will be in town the previous weekend for Sakuracon can catch blooms at the University of Washington, the the Washington Park Arboretum, Jefferson Park, and Seward Park.
In the city of Vancouver (Washington, that is), cherry blossom lovers can check out the trees at Clark College, planted in 1990. This year's event takes place April 17.
The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival takes place from April 3-28, with plenty of events, including the Sakura Days Japan Fair, concerts, and more. Conveniently, the organization has even made a Google map showing all the places around the city where cherry blossoms can be viewed.
Did we miss your city? Please let us know in the forums and we'll add it to the list!
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history