After a lackluster winter, spring in DC is finally in bloom. Kicking off with the beloved National Cherry Blossom Festival, Japanese inspired cultural events will abound.

Avoid the Cherry Blossom DC Crowds

In addition to the National Mall, there are several places throughout the city that are perfect observation spots to discover the cherry blossoms at its peak. Some of the off-the-radar locations include the National ArboretumAnacostia Park, and Stanton Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. These spots are ideal for capturing Instagram-worthy image of DC’s most iconic season without battling the crowds of tourists visiting the memorials.

In Japan, the tradition of Cherry Blossom Viewing (or Hanami) anticipates the buds flourishing at predicted peak times. Starting in Okinawa, the southern end of Japan is first to experience this transformation and the trees continue to bloom in a northern pattern arriving in Hokkaido by early May. Abundant in Japan, the Cherry Blossom tree blooms every spring and cover landscapes with rosy floral petals throughout the region.

DC hosts a variety of events to highlight Japanese traditions and during the Cherry Blossom Festival. From museum installations to restaurants and parades there are a variety of ways to immerse yourself aside from visiting the Cherry Blossoms.

Hot Spots For Japanese History and Culture In DC:

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors
Step into the enchanting Infinity Mirror Rooms showcasing six different artist experiences designed by Yayoi Kusama. This exhibit will enlighten your senses and guide you through an artistic journey at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Website | Open until May 14

Photo courtesy of Yayoi Kusama, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Smithsonian American Art Museum Cherry Blossom Celebration
The SAAM kicks off with a drumming performance and continues throughout the day with a variety of artist. Events including dancing, musical performances, and spring-themed artworks.
Website | March 25th, 11:30 AM-3 PM

Japanese Culture Day at Library of Congress 
Designed to spread awareness of various facets of Japanese culture; including the cultivating of bonsai trees, which are created to represent living works of arts.
Website | March 25th & April 11

Cinematsuri at E Street Cinema
Enjoy this year’s collection of Japanese films, documentaries, and shorts at the CineMatsuri Cinema. Featured titles include “TSUKIJI WONDERLAND.” The documentary follows world-class chefs through their journey to Tsukiji– the world’s largest fish market.
 | Open until March 30

Blossom Kite Festival
Kite enthusiasts can demonstrate their skills at the Blossom Kite Festival. The event takes place on the Grounds of the Washington Monument and overlooks the cherry blooms in the surrounding parks.
Website | April 1, 10 AM-4:30 PM

Sakura Matsuri-Japanese Street Festival
Presented by the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC this event will host art vendors, food, and a parade.
Website | April 8, 10:30 AM-6 PM

Feature photo by Karl Fredrickson

Dana Disante Avatar

Dana Disante is the Events & Features editor for CAPITOL STANDARD magazine and covers Arts & Entertainment for Northern Virginia Magazine.