Americans vote for favorite cherry tree on 100th anniversary of first U.S. ‘Hanami’

Cherry blossoms in Washington, DC’s Tidal Basin and around the Capital may have peaked early this year, but an online poll launched in January by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Cherry Blossom Festival offers one way to keep the spirit of the Centennial Celebration alive.

“America’s Favorite Cherry Tree” is live at and allows all Americans to cast their vote for one of three finalists: the Yoshino, Kwanzan, or Autumn Flowering Cherry Tree.

Participants can also purchase from among a collection of individual cherry trees suitable for their own backyard and climate, with a portion of every sale benefiting the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Results of the online voting will be announced on National Arbor Day on April 27, 2012–the last day of this year’s Festival in Washington, DC.

“Whether you missed the peak bloom, or saw it and already miss it, this exciting poll and opportunity to purchase online is a great way to continue celebrating cherry blossoms,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation.

“By voting in the poll and purchasing a cherry tree, Americans can bring the Centennial Celebration to both their computer and backyard,” said Diana Mayhew, president of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The three finalists were included in the gift from the mayor of Tokyo in 1912 and have become favorites along Washington, DC’s Tidal Basin, as well as in yards, parks and neighborhoods across the United States.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of one million members, with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival has been called “America’s greatest springtime celebration”.

The Washington D.C. 2012 Festival, (March 20 through April 27), includes five spectacular weeks of events and features diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty and community spirit.

While Americans enjoy the blooming cherry tree flowers, sakura season is just getting started in Japan. Pick up the next issue of Tokyo Weekender magazine for our guide to the best viewing spots in the city.