the national cherry blossom festival

Saturday, April 12:  This morning, I leave home in the dark, at 6 a.m., to try to beat the crowds converging on the cherry blossoms, which are at peak bloom around the Tidal Basin.  I know if I don’t get there early, I’ll never find a parking spot because not only are the trees at their peak, but today is the Cherry Blossom Parade on Constitution Avenue.  It’s also Sakura Matsuri — the Japanese Street Festival.  The major streets through D.C. will be blocked.  It turns out I am early enough to get a parking spot on the Waterfront, about a quarter-mile walk from the Tidal Basin.  It’s a gorgeous spring day, a welcome relief after the winter we’ve had.

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
Washington Monument and Cherry Blossoms
Washington Monument and Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial

Despite the early hour, it’s still crowded with hordes of people taking pictures of the beautiful blossoms and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, dedicated to our founding father and third president of the United States.

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Washington Monument
Cherry blossoms & Washington Monument
Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial
Cherry blossoms & Jefferson Memorial

I wander up to the Washington Monument because I’m supposed to meet my friend Margie at around 7:45.  We meet up and continue walking around the Tidal Basin.

Washington Monument & cherry blossoms
Washington Monument & cherry blossoms
sun-bathed Cherry Blossoms
sun-bathed Cherry Blossoms
a peek through the blossoms at the Washington Monument
a peek through the blossoms at the Washington Monument
blossoms
blossoms
Washington Monument & blossoms
Washington Monument & blossoms

Each year, the 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.

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms - quite cheery, don't you think?
Cherry blossoms – quite cheery, don’t you think?
Me with the blossoms
Me with the blossoms

In 1915, the United States Government reciprocated with a gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. In 1981, Japanese horticulturists were given cuttings from the trees to replace some cherry trees in Japan which had been destroyed in a flood, bringing the gifting full circle.

Cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin
Cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin
hanging blossoms
hanging blossoms
the Tidal Basin
the Tidal Basin
ring around the Tidal Basin
ring around the Tidal Basin
blossoms
blossoms
The Jefferson Memorial, straight on
The Jefferson Memorial, straight on
Jefferson Memorial
Jefferson Memorial

After our walk, we stop for a leisurely coffee at a cafe and then I head home, where I get dressed to attend my friend Johanna’s wedding in Baltimore this evening. 🙂

 

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33 thoughts on “the national cherry blossom festival

      1. Went to DC for the first an only time back in 2008 just before the Cherry Blossoms were due to bloom. First day I was there I walked over 8 miles taking in all the monuments and memorials. I would love to go back and take my wife and son and see more of the Smithsonian.

      2. I hope you can make it back to D.C., cyardin! I’m glad you enjoyed walking all around the mall the first time you were here. It can really wear you out, and there’s so much to see. I think you need to spend a lot of time here to see everything. There are still things I haven’t seen! 🙂

    1. Yes, Annette, now it really does feel like spring. The Tidal Basin was packed with people walking around, cameras in hand, trying to capture the best shots. It was really a lovely day all around!

  1. If only these beautiful blossoms would linger longer. Next March I want to visit Kat in South Korea to see their cherry blossoms.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    1. Thanks so much, Christine! It is really lovely at this time of year. That building is the Jefferson Memorial, not the Capitol, though. 🙂 I have pics of the Capitol in other posts on my blog. 🙂

  2. Beautiful shots! You are so lucky to be there 😊. My sis used to live near DC – this brought back sweet memories. Enjoy the lovely spring – you guys deserve it. We are already hitting triple digits. Wahhhhh!

    1. Thanks so much, Lynda. I was lucky to be there at the peak, because as many years as I’ve lived here, I haven’t made it often at peak; it always seems I’m a little late! Oh no, triple digits already?? Wahhhh is right! Oh dear.

  3. I was in D.C last week to see if I could catch the blossoms, but most of them hadn’t come out yet. It looks like you had the perfect weekend for pictures and cherry blossoms! You were braver than me though. I thought about going into D.C to check out the cherry blossoms but decided I didn’t want to deal with the crowds.

    1. Don’t feel bad, anomadlife, I have missed the peak of the cherry blossoms for many years because of crowd avoidance, but at least I did it this time and it wasn’t so bad, maybe because I went really early!

  4. Such gorgeous blossoms, Cathy. The Washington Monument peeping through the branches is a lovely pic. I would love to see this for myself. Is this the first post you’ve done without any food pics? 😀

  5. Gosh, those photos are stunning. But what’s weird is that I didn’t know the history behind the Cherry Blossom Festival. Thanks so much for enlightening me, my friend.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

  6. They are such a lovely symbol of peace and harmony, Cathy. The world as it should be! 🙂
    I may have already said this on FB but your photos are truly spectacular.
    Happy Easter, hon 🙂

  7. Not at all a wonder why people are drooling over cherry blossoms. Your photos said it all. Impressive shots. Having gone to Okinawa, Japan and been to a Cherry Blossoms Festival there, I wish to attend one in Washington before I exit out. 😀

    1. Thanks so much, rommel, for your kind words about my photos. It was a perfect time to photograph them, as well as the perfect time of day! Wow, I’d love to see the cherry blossom festival in Okinawa. That would be really special. 🙂

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