Where to go cherry blos­som view­ing out­side Ja­pan.

Ja­pan may be the undis­puted coun­try of choice for view­ing cherry blos­soms, but th­ese four spots are wor­thy con­tenders.

DestinAsian - - DEPARTMENTS - BY JAMES LOUIE

1 / United States WASH­ING­TON, D.C.

The Amer­i­can cap­i­tal greets the ar­rival of spring with plenty of color and pageantry, thanks to a spec­ta­cle that started with a gift of Yoshino cherry trees from Ja­pan in 1912. Clouds of white and pale pink petals drape the east­ern bank of the Po­tomac River, en­cir­cling the Tidal Basin and ex­tend­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment. The city’s Na­tional Cherry Blos­som Fes­ti­val is slated to run from March 20 to April 15, end­ing with a street pa­rade and the Ja­panese-themed Sakura Mat­suri cel­e­bra­tions.

na­tion­alcher­ry­blos­som­fes­ti­val.org

2 / China WUXI

An hour from Shang­hai by high-speed train, the lake­side city of Wuxi pos­sesses China’s sin­gle largest plant­ing of cherry trees, with more than 30,000 rep­re­sent­ing 67 va­ri­eties. It’s found in a 130-hectare park on the idyl­lic penin­sula of Yan­touzhu, or Turtle Head Isle, which lies on the northern shore of Lake Tai. Nat­u­rally, Yan­touzhu is the set­ting of the Wuxi In­ter­na­tional Cherry Blos­som Fes­ti­val, which kicks off in mid to late March; last year’s edi­tion in­cluded po­etry recitals and a 10-kilo­me­ter night run through the park.

jiang­su­travel.us

3 / South Korea JEJU IS­LAND

It might have a rep­u­ta­tion as the “Hawaii of Korea,” but Jeju's nat­u­ral won­ders ex­tend be­yond its white-sand beaches. The rare king cherry is na­tive to the is­land, which is the first part of the coun­try to see cherry blos­soms thanks to its milder cli­mate and southerly lo­ca­tion. Full bloom is fore­cast for March 23–30, with pop­u­lar view­ing ar­eas be­ing Jeju city’s Jeon­nong-ro Road and the Halla Ar­bore­tum. Jeju also holds its own sea­sonal fes­ti­val to mark the oc­ca­sion.

ijto.or.kr

4 / Spain JERTE VAL­LEY

Seek­ing a uniquely Span­ish cherry blos­som ex­pe­ri­ence? Then try the sparsely pop­u­lated western re­gion of Ex­tremadura. Out­side the walled me­dieval city of Plasen­cia, the Jerte Val­ley is known for its cher­ries, though it’s the flow­ers that steal the spot­light in March, when more than a mil­lion and a half cherry trees cover the slopes in a blan­ket of snowwhite blos­soms. The spec­ta­cle typ­i­cally lasts 10 days from the mid­dle of the month, co­in­cid­ing with a fi­esta that in­volves lo­cal pro­duce, mu­si­cal per­for­mances, and more.

spain.info

Cherry blos­soms at sun­rise around the Tidal Basin in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

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