Cherry Blossom Festival Held in Washington for 1st Time in 3 Yrs

Society

Washington, March 20 (Jiji Press)--The National Cherry Blossom Festival kicked off in Washington Sunday, with visitors enjoying viewing cherry trees in 70 pct bloom without wearing masks as mask mandates were mostly lifted in the United States amid a decrease of new COVID-19 infection cases.

It is the first time in three years for the Japan-U.S. friendship festival to be held on a full scale, after most related face-to-face events were canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Some 3,000 cherry blossom trees along the Potomac River were donated by Tokyo in 1912 as a symbol of friendship. This year marks 110 years since the donation.

In the opening ceremony of this year's festival, held at a theater in the U.S. capital, Japanese musicians, including a "taiko" Japanese drum player, and other artists attracted audiences with their performances.

This is a celebration of a value called "freedom," Japanese Ambassador to the United States Koji Tomita said at the opening ceremony. He added that his thoughts are with the people of Ukraine who are fighting for freedom.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press