This is the inaugural year for the Columbus Cherry Blossom Festival, but the history of the cherry blossoms in Franklin Park dates back 10 years to a the gift from Japan – 20 cherry trees to celebrate the Bicentennial of Columbus. It echoed the 1912 gift from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo, Japan to our nation’s capital. Over the last 10 years, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department (CRPD) and the International Voluntary Organizations (IVO) have worked to obtain 82 additional trees to bring to Franklin Park.
When I heard there was going to be Hanami, I was a little bummed that we had other plans during the actual festivity times last weekend and this coming Sunday. We LOVE cherry blossoms, and they are actually something we got to experience a little bit the first time we went to Japan together. I was completely thrilled when we were able to sneak over at lunchtime today. The weather was less than ideal, so the color is not as pretty as it would be against a blue sky, but it was still really beautiful. I would say, as long as the rain and wind don’t take them, the blossoms will actually peak sometime in the next week, so you still have time to check them out. We started by walking around the lower pond, but I do have to warn you that there was a bit of a stench at one end of that pond. It cleared up as we walked around towards the upper ponds, though, and you could smell blossoms in the air. Here are a few of the photos I took.
I also dug out a couple of photos from our trip to Japan in 2001 to show the beautiful cherry tree at the temple on our friends’ wedding day. It was such a gorgeous and joyous day!
Of course, as any good mid-day date does, our time end at Starbucks for a very Japanese combo of a pink drink and a matcha latte. Definitely highly recommended to enhance your hanami pleasure. 🙂
Someday we will make it to Washington DC or even back to Japan for hanami, but this year we are content with this experience. Have you ever been anywhere for cherry blossom viewing? Let us know in the comments!