Peak Cherry Blossom Blooms @ UW’s Quad

The blooms are busting 🌸

📸: Adam Kubota

📆 Estimated the weekend of Saturday, March 23rd
📍 The Quad: 901 12th Ave, Seattle

Did you know that Seattle has been gifted cherry blossom trees by Japan not once but, like, a whole bunch of times? 

The first gift was bestowed upon us in 1929 when Japanese delegates en route to London planted three flowering trees at Seward Park. More than 3,500 trees were to follow over the next two years, thanks to the Seattle-based Japanese Association of North America. Then, in 1976, Japanese prime minister and UW alum Takeo Miki donated a thousand sakura trees to the city to illustrate the friendship between the US and Japan and celebrate our nation’s bicentennial. And in 2014, Japan gave another 32 trees to the University of Washington campus in Seattle to complement the campus’ extant collection of 100 trees. 

Also, not Japan, but we received a cool 2,000 cherry blossom trees from the United Nations Association of Japan in 1950! It’s kind of a thing here. People give us trees.

Almost a century later, this city is teeming with thousands of cherry blossom trees of all shades and species, and both locals and tourists look forward to early springtime in Seattle as an opportunity to partake in hanami. (That means “viewing cherry blossoms!”) In Japan, the delicate, short-lived flower is sometimes considered a metaphor for the fleeting evanescence of life—and also a reminder to enjoy it.

University of Washington’s Quad is the absolute star of the show when it comes to the city’s cherries, but the University of Washington campus itself has around 130 trees sprinkled throughout the whole campus.

This year, UW arborist Sara Shores told the Seattle Times she expects the cherry blossoms to reach peak bloom during the weekend of March 23rd. The Quad’s Yoshino cherry blossom trees are the first to bloom, but if you miss the party, you can still wander around to find the Hisakura, Kwanzan, Shirofugen, and Mt. Fuji trees that bloom later in the season. There’s a partial map here, and you can even check Twitter to see when the trees are ready to be hanami-ed

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Meg van Huygen

The daughter of a King County Metro driver and a Space Needle waitress. Meg was born on the Hill, grew up on Queen Anne, went to school in the CD, and presently haunts the U District. Her writing has appeared in Seattle Weekly, The Stranger, Eater Seattle, Curbed Seattle, Atlas Obscura, Mental Floss, and many other publications. She sometimes backs up drag queens on the accordion and hosts drunken spelling bees.