Spring is a time for renewal and fresh starts, and Japan and the United States celebrated both with a Wednesday morning announcement: Japan has gifted 250 new cherry trees to the U.S.

President Joe Biden shared the news with reporters gathered at the welcome ceremony for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and First Lady Yuko Kishida. The new trees will replace those that must be removed from the Tidal Basin later this spring, before the National Park Service can begin work rehabilitating the crumbling seawall in that area.

President Biden welcome Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the White House for a state visit this week.Evan Vucci / AP

The visit, ceremony and press conference took place ahead of a Wednesday night state dinner, a tool to boost diplomacy between America and its closest allies. The gift of 250 new cherry trees — meant to honor the U.S.’s 250th birthday in 2026, Biden said — reinforces the sentiment.

“Let me end with this. It’s spring in Washington,” Biden said to reporters. “The sun is shining. And every spring, cherry blossoms bloom across the city thanks to a gift from Japan of 3,000 cherry trees over a century ago. People travel all over our country and the world to see these magnificent blossoms.”

Those initial 3,000 trees came after years of collaboration between American travel writer Eliza Scidmore, U.S. Department of Agriculture plant explorer David Fairchild, and U.S. First Lady Helen Herron Taft, as they worked to beautify D.C. in the early 1900s.

The first healthy trees came to the District in 1912 as a gift from the mayor of Tokyo, and were planted in March of that year. The trees have been a symbol of the bond between the two countries ever since.

"Stumpy" the cherry tree at the Tidal Basin
“Stumpy” the cherry tree at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC on March 19.Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images

“Last night, the Prime Minister and Mrs. Kishida, Jill and I, took a stroll down the driveway across the lawn here at the White House to visit three cherry blossom trees,” Biden continued. One of those trees he said, was planted by the Japanese and U.S. first ladies together in 2023, while the other two are from the new cohort.

Biden shared that the new trees will be planted “not far from the Martin Luther King Memorial. And like our friendship, these trees are timeless, inspiring, and thriving.”


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