HONOLULU (KHON2) – Sakura, which means a flowering cherry tree in Japan, are known around the world for their elegant pink flowers; and their blooming represents the welcome of spring.
In Hawaii, there are a couple locations these trees were planted, and they have historical significance to the island.
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On Oahu, there are two locations residents and visitors can spot the cherry blossom trees. There are many planted in Wahiawa and Manoa Valley District Park.
According to an article published by the Hawaii Herald, in the early 1950s, Okinawan cherry blossoms seeds were brought to Wahiawa as a gift to a friend who could travel in the springtime to Japan to see them.
Before long, seedlings were propagated and then donated to the community of Wahiawa. Today, there are around 500 Sakura trees for the community to see.
Kazue Tsujihara, a Wahiawa community member, said this year was not the best year compared to 2022. Tsujiharas said these trees are very hard to propagate and takes a lot of patience. The trees could take up to ten months for seeds to germinate.
In Manoa valley District Park, the city’s department of parks and recreation was a part of planting a cherry blossom tree in 2020.
The tree came from the Kochi prefecture of Japan, a different area than the Wahiawa Sakura. The city did this to determine the best variety of cherry blossom trees to thrive in the islands.
On the big island of Hawaii, there are cherry blossom trees in Waimea. According to Fern Gavelek, a freelance writer on the big island, the cherry blossom trees first came to Waimea in 1953 as a living memorial to Fred Makino.
Makino was the founder of Hawai‘i’s Japanese language newspaper, Hawaii Hochi. In 1972 around 70 trees were planted by the Waimea Lions Club at church row park thanks to Isami Ishihara who propagated the trees.
Cherry blossom trees bloom in mid-January and can also be seen through the end of March depending on what part of the world the trees are in.
In Hawaii the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival was held the first Saturday of February 2023, however they are still blooming in other parts of the world.
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The Washington D.C. opening ceremony of the National Cherry Blossom Festival starts March 25,2023 and festivals in Japan run throughout the month of March.