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Japanese Cherry Blossom Journey Continues With Manoa Valley District Park Plantings
MĀNOA – In an on-going effort to determine the best variety of cherry blossom trees (sakura) to thrive in the Hawaiian Islands, a tree planting ceremony was held in Mānoa Valley District Park today.
During the ceremony, the final touches were made to three cherry blossom trees planted near the Ka‘aipū Avenue parking lot in the lower part of the district park. This particular type of cherry blossom originated in the Kochi Prefecture of Japan.
The effort was spearheaded by the Hawai‘i Sakura Foundation with coordination and planning from Councilmember Ann Kobayashi, her staff, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Division of Urban Forestry. Special thanks to the Traditional Japanese Culture Association and Island Landscaping & Maintenance Inc. for their assistance with the installations of the trees.
“Anyone who has ever seen a cherry blossom tree in full bloom appreciates how beautiful nature can be and how ephemeral beauty can be.” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “That’s why we are hopeful that these varieties of sakura will thrive in their new Mānoa home and that we can share this experience of seeing and walking around and under a blooming cherry tree with more of our residents of O‘ahu. These plantings are a great way to continue our recognition of Japanese contributions to Hawai‘i and the Gannenmono, while celebrating our sister city relationships and progressing our tree planting goals. These trees will be a treasured addition to groves already thriving on O‘ahu. An additional mahalo to Dr. Tetsuo Koyama, Chako Setoyama, James Matsumoto, Masatoshi Nozaki, and members of the local and Japan Rotary Clubs for providing these trees and this fantastic opportunity.”
Viewed by many as one of the most iconic trees in Japan, the cherry blossom is revered for its abundant pink flowers which spring to life during its annual blooming.
According to the Hawai‘i Sakura Foundation, the first cherry blossom trees made their way to the United States in 1912 with numerous plantings at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. Since then, the springtime blossoms have become a coveted attraction experienced firsthand by countless visitors from around the world. The foundation states that their efforts to bring cherry blossoms to Hawai‘i came to fruition in 2012. Since then, plantings have occurred in Wahiawā and in Waimea on the Big Island, with some success. You can read more about the cherry blossoms journey by visiting the foundation’s website.
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