Sunday, March 11, 2012

The National Cherry Blossom Festival

Each year in March, Washington, D.C. springs to life with trees and shrubs blooming after a dormant winter.  This year is the 100 year anniversary of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which commemorates the gift of 3,000 cherry trees from the mayor of Tokyo, Japan to the city in 1912.

If you want to beat the crowds and get the best possible views, arrive early!  There is no other way. I arrived at around 7:30 a.m., and was greeted by a very pleasant early light, perfect for getting great pictures.  As you can imagine, I wasn't the only one with a camera.  There were scores of photographer lining the tidal basin to capture the scene.  

Cherry Blossoms

After the 2011 tsunami that devastated parts of coastal Japan, the United States sent hundred of cuttings from these trees as a gesture of our friendship, and to memorialize the occasion with these trees. 

The Washington Monument in the distance from the tree lined tidal basin. 

The Jefferson Memorial
This empty sidewalk on the tidal basin is empty only because of the very early hour, chosen to get the very best possible lighting conditions for taking these pictures.  It wasn't long after and one could hardy move without bumping into someone else.  Don't even try to drive into the city, rather, park at one of the outlying Metro stations (FREE parking on the weekends) and make your way to the Smithsonian Metro Station on the National Mall (orange or blue line), then walk the few block to the tidal basin.

The lantern was also a gift from Japan and is lit once a year at the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  This year the festival begins March 20 and ends April 27.  Peak blooms times are predicted for 20-30 March 2012.


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  2. Great pics! I know it was a treat to get to photograph an empty sidewalk next to the Tidal Basin at this time of year!