Everywhere you turn it seems there’s another sign of spring. The daffodils are beginning to open and trees are budding—especially the cherry trees. I recently had the opportunity to compile a list of fifty places around the world where you can celebrate the changing of seasons and the opening of the cherry blossoms. I learned a great deal about the Japanese custom Sakura—that symbolizes the renewal of life that the cherry tree displays each spring.
One thing I did not know is that in many countries around the globe, ornamental cherry trees were planted as gifts of the Japanese government following World War II. Cities, both large and small in the U.S. have these Japanese trees and hold their spring celebrations of Japanese culture annually. These celebrations signify peace and acceptance of the changing season of both life and society.
The other thing I did not know is that the majority of the trees we enjoy during cherry blossom season are not fruit-bearing. They are strictly ornamental. The blooms fade and drop off without ever producing actual cherries. Of course, there are places around the world with acres of cherry-producing trees and those blossoms are a spectacle to behold as well.
The biggest festivals are in Washington D.C. and across Japan, but my research turned up cherry blossom festivals in a few unexpected places—like Southern California and even Macon, Georgia. And you thought they only celebrated peaches in Georgia!
Gary and I will have the opportunity to look for cherry blossoms in Paris in a couple of weeks. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for previews of our cruise tour with Viking River Cruises from Paris to the Swiss Alps. We are on assignment for Cruise Critic and hope to bring home stories and some of Gary’s amazing images as we sail along the Rhine. We are anxious to discover the differences between a Viking Ocean cruise and a Viking River cruise.