2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.

Every year in Washington, DC, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is held to welcome spring and celebrate the friendship between Japan and the US. All kinds of performances, events and activities are planned during the Festival's three-week span. But you have to wonder, how did all of this get started?

The answer takes us back to 1912, the 45th year of the Meiji Emperor's reign. That year the Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, gifted 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, DC as a symbol of the friendship between the two nations. Ms. Eliza Scidmore, the author of a travel journal who was deeply impressed by the beauty of the cherry blossoms at Mukoujima in Tokyo, had campaigned for years to have them brought to DC. Along with Dr. Joukichi Takamine, famous for his work on adrenaline and the enzyme taka-diastase and a long-time friend of America, she urged First Lady Helen Taft to have the trees planted along the Potomac. Now every year the public parks along the banks of the Potomac River in Washington are covered in gorgeous blooming trees, delighting the public who come to see them.

The first festival commemorating the gift from Japan and the friendship it represented was held in 1927. Now it has grown into the largest such celebration in America, welcoming more than 1.5 million visitors each year. The Opening Ceremony in particular, with its captivating performances from artists representing both Japan and the US, enjoys a high degree of popularity both locally and abroad in Japan. The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and the Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival, held together on the final day of the festival, also draw packed crowds.

Helpful Links: National Cherry Blossom Festival | Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival


ワシントンの全米桜祭り(National Cherry Blossom Festival)とは

ワシントンでは、毎年、春の訪れと日米友好を祝う「全米桜祭り」が開催され、様々な日本関連行事が行われています。なぜでしょう?

答えは、1912年(明治45年)の出来事にさかのぼります。この年、尾崎行雄東京市長が日米親善の証として、約3,000本の桜をワシントンDCに寄贈しました。東京の向島の桜を見て感激した紀行作家のエリザ・シドモア女史が、アドレナリンやタカジアスターゼ で有名な高峰譲吉博士らの協力を得て、ヘレン・タフト大統領夫人らに働きかけて実現させたものですが、毎年春に、ワシントンのポトマック公園河畔にみごとな花を咲かせ、市民の目を楽しませています。日本からのプレゼントと日米友好を記念するこの祭りは、1927年に始まったと言われていますが、 現在では、毎年、約150万人強の来場者を記録する、全米最大規模の日本関連行事に成長しています。中でも日米を代表するアーティストが華やかに共演する開会式は、毎年大きな注目を集めており、日本でも報じられています。また、桜祭りの最後を飾るパレードやストリートフェスティバル「さくらまつり」 も高い人気を誇っています。

関連リンク: 全米桜祭り協会 | ストリート・フェスティバル「さくらまつり」

Featured Events

  • Date
  • Event
  • Venue
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  • Mar 15 2016
  • Manami Morita Trio
  • Blues Alley
  • Japanese Jazz Series sponsored by JICC, Blues Alley, & Japan Foundation
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  • Mar 16 2016
  • Nobuki Takamen Trio
  • Blues Alley
  • Japanese Jazz Series sponsored by JICC, Blues Alley, & Japan Foundation
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  • Mar 20-27 2016
  • CineMatsuri
  • Varies
  • Showcasing five of Japan's most recent and best films, each in a different genre.
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  • Mar 26 2016
  • Family Day
  • National Building Museum
  • Join the JICC at NCBF's Family Day at the National Building Museum.
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  • Mar 26 2016
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony
  • Warner Theatre
  • Featured artists: Asako Tamura, Dois HAZUKI, m_unit by Miho Hazama, Gamarjobat
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  • Mar 27 2016
  • Family Opera: Hansel & Gretel
  • Kennedy Center
  • Join the JICC at the Millennium Stage for an evening of family-friendly, four-dimensional opera.
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  • Mar 28 2016
  • Gamarjobat
  • JICC
  • A Shut up (Silent) Comedy from Japan as a special tribute to the JICC's 25th anniversary!
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  • Mar 30 2016
  • Shamisen Duo Dois Hazuki
  • Kennedy Center
  • Join the JICC at the Millennium Stage for the return of Ko Takahashi and Misao Habu as Tsugaru Shamisen Dois “HAZUKI”.
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  • Apr 2 2016
  • 18th Annual Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk
  • National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II
  • We will be commemorating the closing of the camps and celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service.
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  • Apr 2 2016
  • Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony
  • Japanese Stone Lantern Plaza near the Tidal Basin
  • The Stone Lantern is lit once each year by the Princess representing the Embassy of Japan, and only during the Cherry Blossom Festival.
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  • Apr 5 2016
  • Exhibition: Metal Works & Ceramics
  • JICC
  • Join the JICC for our spring exhibition of Japanese kōgei, including over 30 works by artists certified as Living National Treasures and other masters
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  • Apr 15 2016
  • Japan Bowl
  • National 4-H Youth Conference Center
  • An academic competition that tests the achievements of high school students throughout the United States who are studying the Japanese language.
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  • Apr 16 2016
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
  • Constitution Avenue
  • One of DC’s largest spectator events, the energy-filled National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade runs for 10 blocks along iconic Constitution Avenue.
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  • Apr 18 2016
  • Martha Kato Ensemble
  • Blues Alley
  • Japanese Jazz Series sponsored by JICC, Blues Alley, & Japan Foundation
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  • Apr 19 2016
  • Miho Hazama and Co.
  • Blues Alley
  • Japanese Jazz Series sponsored by JICC, Blues Alley, & Japan Foundation
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  • More Info
  • Apr 20 2016
  • Chihiro Yamanaka Trio
  • Blues Alley
  • Japanese Jazz Series sponsored by JICC, Blues Alley, & Japan Foundation
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  • More Info

Cherry Blossom Festival News