The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival began in 1998 and initially focused on the tree planting efforts of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia. Echoing a sesquicentennial gift of 1,600 flowering trees made by Japan to Philadelphia in 1926, JASGP pledged to plant 1,000 cherry trees in Fairmount Park. This goal was accomplished in 2007, and the mission has been expanded to plant cherry trees in community parks throughout the region.
As the number of sakura (flowering Japanese cherry trees) increased, so too did Philadelphians’ interest in Japan. The Festival expanded to include an array of activities. What began as a single day ceremony is now a collection of more than 50 events over 4 weeks. Over the last 6 years Festival attendance has reached tens of thousands annually and along with the Philadelphia Flower Show has become synonymous with spring’s return to the region.