Cherry blossom trees have had a long and beautiful history in Washington, D.C. In the short of it, in 1910, the U.S. received 2000 cherry blossom trees as a gift from Japan. Unfortunately when they arrived, they were full of disease and had to be destroyed. This led the Mayor of Tokyo to send 3020 cherry blossom trees in 1912, this time from a special collection from a Tokyo suburb. Over the next several years, D.C. continued to plant the many cherry blossom trees around the city.
Since then, there’s been a special relationship between Japan and America surrounding these beautiful trees. A few years after receiving the trees, President Taft sent over flowering dogwood trees as a gift. Then, after WWII, the U.S. sent over some budwood from the original trees over to Japan to help restore the lost trees. A couple of years later, the ambassador of Japan gifted a 300-year old lantern, which is one of two lanterns, while the other is situated in a park in Tokyo. And this was just the beginning.
Because of CoVid and life in general, I only had one day to explore and experience the cherry blossom bloom, and the best location to do that in Washington, D.C. is at the Tidal Basin.
The Tidal Basin is located at the National Mall, so it’s easy to get to by Metro and by walking. The basin itself is a 2-mile roundtrip walk with beautiful sights in every direction and the Jefferson Memorial to check out, as well. Add the hundreds of cherry blossom trees that line the pathway around the basin, and you’re in a wonderland!
During any other year, paddleboats are able to be rented and you can get a 360 degree view of the basin. But alas, #covid.
As with any tourist spots, come early to try to get some good non-populated pictures and just time to wander without hitting many people. I went with a family member from out of town and with Joseph, and let me tell you, when I suggested a start time of 7am, it was an immediate no-go. When we finally got there around 11am, the park was already starting to populate. And this was on a Tuesday during CoVid.
I waited all year for this one day where the weather was just right – 70 degrees with a perfectly blue sky – as the blooms peaked, and it couldn’t have happened with better timing. Hopefully next year, there’ll be more time for me to hunt down some more pretty blooms around the city <3
Have you been to the Tidal Basin during Cherry Blossom season?