If you're hoping to catch a glimpse of spring's most stunning blossoms, you'll find them in abundance at festivals designed to celebrate their rich cultural heritage.

By Claire Sullivan
March 15, 2019
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Getty: Brian Eden

When cherry trees explode into flush but fleeting blossoms, it's time to get out and see them. Hanami, the Japanese celebration of the cherry blossom season, normally kicks off around the first signs of budding and continues until the petals slowly drift away from their branches. The season holds greater meaning for those who observe it, serving as a reminder of life's ephemeral nature and to appreciate beauty while it lasts.

According to data from the Japanese Weather Association, Hanami kicks off in different cities in Japan ranging from early March until early May this year. In the United States, there are multiple opportunities to celebrate Hanami and to see spectacular cherry blossom buds through the end of April. Here are four cities with beautiful cherry blossom festivals that you should consider visiting this year.

New York City

Martha has previously showcased Sakura Matsuri, which translates to Cherry Blossom Festival, and the event that takes place at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This year, the event will take place between April 27 and 28, featuring a double allée of 'Kanzan' cherry blossom trees as well as 40 other varieties-not to mention live music, dance, and cultural demonstrations throughout the weekend.

Washington, D.C.

At this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival, which marks the 107th anniversary of Tokyo gifting our capital more than a thousand Yoshino cherry trees, you'll be able to picnic in a grove of the blooms. The festival, which runs from March 20 to April 14, features live performances and fundraising events as well. Martha had a chance to visit and learn more about the festival herself-here's what she had to say about the experience.

San Francisco, California

Head to the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, taking place from April 13 to 21, and take a workshop on ikebana flower-arranging. You can also watch taiko drumming and traditional martial arts performances.

Nashville, Tennessee

In 2018, Nashville met a 10-year goal of planting more than 1,000 trees in the heart of downtown, as well as in local suburbs. The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, which is in its 11th year and is a highlight of the city's Japanese Week, features hundreds of sprawling cherry blossom trees situated over two and a half miles, which makes for a lovely walk to take them all in.

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