The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival has been a part of Philadelphia since 1997. Initially, the festival 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 expanded to plant cherry trees in community parks throughout the region.
As the number of sakura (flowering Japanese cherry trees) increased, so did Philadelphians’ interest in Japan. The Festival expanded to include an array of activities, from sushi making workshops and cultural demonstrations to music and dance performances. What began as a single day ceremony has become nine days of world class entertainment that celebrates traditional and contemporary Japan — In 2017, over 15,000 attended the Festival. Together with the Philadelphia Flower Show, the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival has become synonymous with the return of spring to Greater Philadelphia.