The National Cherry Blossom Festival opens Saturday in Washington. This large-scale event in the U.S. capital was initiated by the mayor of Tokyo 99 years ago. He had presented as a gift to the city three thousand cherry trees, which were to serve as a symbol of friendship among nations.
The holiday, which usually lasts about two weeks, is accompanied by the traditional mass celebrations, a festival of kites and a sweeping music parade.
Washington museums will hold exhibitions dedicated to Japan, while some restaurants will arrange festive sampling of sushi and sashimi.
The traditional Festival Parade will be held on April 9th and is anticipated to gather over one million viewers.
All proceeds from many of the festive events this year will go to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.