Delicate beauty — Cherry Blossom Centennial and local Festivals

This year, hundreds of cherry trees will be planted in Southern California to commemorate the cherries that were planted in Washington D.C. one hundred years ago.  The extravagant gift of cherry trees continues to be a lasting symbol of Japan–U.S. friendship.

Every year you can see a tableau of cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. The famed cherry trees were given to the U.S. capital city by Japan in 1912. More than 3,000 trees—and 12 different varieties—made the overseas journey from Yokohama to the District of Columbia.

Since that time, Japanese organizations have made gifts of cherry trees to America to commemorate significant milestones in the relationship between Japan and the United States.

In Southern California, there are numerous places where you can see flowering cherry trees which were planted by Japanese individuals or Japan-related organizations.

In 2012 there will be at least twelve (12!) cherry blossom festivals throughout Southern California commemorating the centennial.

Press were invited to the Sakura Centennial Opening, which initiated a series of events that will be held in Southern California and Arizona this year in celebration of the 2012 Japan – U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial. The event was held at the  Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, whose recently refurbished Japanese garden is soon to open.

Co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, the Sakura Centennial Opening showcased regional cherry blossom festivals and other events that will take place during this commemorative year. Participating organizations were on hand to tell about their events.

Additionally, the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens will give cherry trees for planting in public gardens and spaces, parks, schools, and non-profit institutions.

Cherry Blossom Festivals in Southern California & Arizona:

Information will be updated as soon as dates are set for upcoming Cherry Blossom Festivals.
February 25 & 26, 2012 Arizona Matsuri
March 3, 2012 South Coast Botanic Gardens Cherry Blossom Picnic Day
March 4, 2012 City of Torrance Cherry Blossom Festival
March 17, 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival of San Diego
March 17, 2012 Schabarum Park Cherry Blossom Festival
March 24 & 25, 2012 Descanso Gardens Cherry Blossom Festival
March 31, 2012 City of West Covina Cherry Blossom Festival
April 1, 2012 Bowers Museum Cherry Blossom Festival
TBA El Camino College Cherry Blossom Festival
TBA Japanese Institute of Sawtelle Cherry Blossom Festival
April 21 & 22, 2012 Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival
April 22, 2012 Pacific Asia Museum Cherry Blossom Festival

Also –TBA — Lake Balboa Japanese Garden’s Cherry Blossom display.

Chapman University’s cherry blossom festival will be March 28.

Visit this webpage for an overview of the Centennial.

For more information on the history, visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival official website.



Centennial Initiatives

The Government of Japan is encouraging organizations to hold commemorative events for the Japan-U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial.  The Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles has outlined three areas of focus for Southern California.

Planting cherry trees in your community.  Procure and plant trees in areas of your city for all to enjoy, for example, city parks.
Cherry blossom festivals and commemorative events.
Remembering and honoring those who contributed to the propagation and planting of cherry trees in Southern California. In this centennial year, we pay tribute to those who beautified Southern California by propagating and planting cherry trees.  We encourage oral histories of gardeners, horticulturalists, and individuals who made significant contributions to Southern California by promoting Japan – U.S. friendship through cherry trees.

If your organization is planning a commemorative event to celebrate the cherry blossom centennial please inform the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles.   You may apply to use the official logo for the Japan – U.S. Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial (top left of this page) for your website, publications, and posters.  If so, please download and complete the application. 

Sakura Centennial Logo Application Form

Send event information, completed logo use applications, and inquiries to: [email protected].



Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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