DOI News

The National Cherry Blossoms – Washington, D.C.’s Rite of Spring


Closeup of cherry blossoms. Photo by NPS.The blooming of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., has come to symbolize the natural beauty of our nation's capital city. The famous trees, a gift from Japan in 1912, signal Washington’s rite of spring with an explosion of life and color that surrounds the Tidal Basin in a sea of pale pink and white blossoms. Thousands of city residents and visitors from across the nation and around the world come here to witness the spectacle, hoping that the trees will be at the peak of bloom for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The festival annually celebrates the gift of the cherry blossom trees and their symbol of enduring friendship between the citizens of Japan and the United States. The timing of the festival, which this year runs from March 27 to April 11, is based upon the average peak blooming time for the trees. According the National Park Service’s bloom forecast, which it updated on March 26, the trees will blossom from March 28 to April 9, 2010, and will reach peak bloom from April 1 to April 4.

During the blooming period, the National Park Service conducts annual cherry tree walks and bike tours around the Tidal Basin. These park-ranger-conducted tours present an interpretive look at the historical and cultural influence of the Japanese Flowering Cherry Trees in our nation’s capital.

To learn more, visit the National Park Service’s Cherry Blossom Festival Web site. The site includes locations of the cherry blossoms, a schedule of events, and a cherry blossom Web cam.