Cherry Blossom: Washington Celebrates 100 Years Of Gift Of Trees From Japan (PHOTOS)

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  • Cherry Blossom: Washington Celebrates 100 Years of Gift of Trees from Japan
    The cherry blossom trees in full bloom around the Tidal Basin in Washington, March 19, 2012. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the gift from Japan to the United States that started with a planting ceremony between then U.S. First lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador.
  • Cherry Blossom: Washington Celebrates 100 Years of Gift of Trees from Japan
    Cherry blossom flowers in full bloom surround the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, March 19, 2012.
  • Cherry Blossom: Washington Celebrates 100 Years of Gift of Trees from Japan
    The cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin are in full bloom in Washington, March 19, 2012.
  • Cherry Blossom: Washington Celebrates 100 Years of Gift of Trees from Japan
    Tourists walk by cherry blossom trees near the Martin Luther King Memorial on the Tidal Basin in Washington, March 18, 2012.
  • Cherry Blossom: Washington Celebrates 100 Years of Gift of Trees from Japan
    People paddle a boat near cherry blossom trees on the Tidal Basin in Washington, March 18, 2012.
  • Cherry Blossom: Washington Celebrates 100 Years of Gift of Trees from Japan
    Cherry blossom trees are seen on the Tidal Basin in Washington, March 18, 2012.
  • Cherry Blossom: Washington Celebrates 100 Years of Gift of Trees from Japan
    A father and son sit under the cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin during the first bloom of the trees in Washington, March 18, 2012.
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The National Cherry Blossom Festival, the greatest springtime celebration in the U.S., kick started in Washington, DC, Tuesday, celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the gift of cherry trees from Japan, and the enduring friendship between the two nations.

The 2012 Festival that runs till April 27 features events promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit, according to the official site of the festival.

The first day of the festival saw tourists and photographers thronging to the Tidal Basin area where the then U.S. first lady Helen Herron Taft and Japanese ambassador's wife planted the first two cherry trees March 27, 1912. The trees still stand along the northwest wall of the Tidal Basin.

Today, the area is full of thousands of cherry trees, over 3,750, that blossom during spring. The National Park Service horticulturists have predicted March 20 to 23 to be the period of peak bloom this year.

Click on Start to view the latest pictures of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington.

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