March 20, 2022 – National Cherry Blossom Festival Ushers In 2022 Festival Season and First Day of Spring with Spectacular Opening Ceremony Celebration

Media Contact: Krysten Copeland
National Cherry Blossom Festival   



National Cherry Blossom Festival Ushers In 2022 Festival Season and First Day of Spring with Spectacular Opening Ceremony Celebration 
Co-presented with The Japan Foundation, the Festival’s annual kick-off celebration

 showcased Japanese performing arts and culture; marked 110th anniversary of the gift of trees 

Washington, D.C. [March 20, 2022] –– Today, the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s signature Opening Ceremony returned in traditional fashion to the historic Warner Theatre for the first time since 2019. Co-presented with the Japan Foundation, this artistic celebration also commemorated the 110 years of the 1912 gift of trees from Tokyo to Washington, D.C. with an annual tribute to the longstanding friendship between Japan and the U.S.  

Special guests in attendance included Japanese Ambassador Koji Tomita; Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Secretary of the District of Columbia Kimberly Bassett, along with Ward 2 D.C. Councilmember Brooke Pinto. Additionally, 2022 Festival Leadership Circle sponsors Events DC President Greg O’Dell and Patrick Phillippi, head of community engagement for Amazon HQ2, were in attendance. There was a special video message from Jeff Reinbold, Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks. 

First Lady of the United States and Honorary Chair of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Dr. Jill Biden said in pre-recorded video remarks during the event, Since receiving them more than a century ago, Japan’s cherry trees have become so much more than a gift of diplomacy. Like the ”yuj ou — or friendshipthey represent, the roots of the cherry blossom trees have grown deep, and today, they are a part of who we are, adding to the unique and beautiful character of our capital. Today’s ceremony is just the beginning of this Festival and I hope you will continue to explore all that spring in [Washington, D.C.] has to offer.” 

“Cherry blossom season is officially here, and we want everyone to know that DC is open,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We have trees blooming and events happening across DC, across all eight wards. Spring is here, we have some beautiful days ahead of us, and there is no better time to celebrate these symbols of hope and renewal. We look forward to seeing everyone out and enjoying all DC has to offer.”  

“The National Cherry Blossom Festival, like springtime and the cherry trees themselves, symbolizes hope, renewal, and new beginnings, “said Festival President Diana Mayhew. “The trees, a gesture of goodwill from Tokyo to Washington, DC, now more than ever serve as a reminder of the importance of unifying communities and sharing in the celebration of peace and international friendship. We are proud to continue to honor the roots and history of this Festival with tonight’s Opening Ceremony.” 

 Co-hosted by 7News On Your Side (WJLA-TV) Stormwatch7 Meteorologist Veronica Johnson and actor and comedian Yoshi Amao, the Opening Ceremony celebration featured spirited traditional and contemporary performances from acclaimed artists with ties to Japan and the U.S., including Samurai sword performers KAMUI, world-renowned musicians Keisho Ohno (Shamisen player) and Wadaiko drummer Toshihiro Yuta, internationally known musical group MINYO CRUSADERS and Washington D.C.’s Unstoppables Steppers. DJ Heat of the NBA Wizards and WNBA Mystics provided musical interludes throughout the evening.  

“The National Cherry Blossom Festival traces its history back to an act of friendship. That gift has blossomed into the amazing celebration that we are witnessing today,” said Ambassador Tomita. “The cherry blossoms have become a living symbol of the friendship between Japan and the United States. This spring, the continued renewal of the blossoms embodies our friendship and resilience.” 

The Opening Ceremony was co-presented with The Japan Foundation and supported in part by the JCAW Foundation, Inc., Toyota North America, Inc., the Japan National Tourism Organization, and Warner Theatre.  Other contributors include Daiichi Sankyo, MUFG Bank, Ltd., and National Press Club, and the Washington Post is a media partner.    

For more information about the 2022 Festival, visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/RediscoverSpring and follow the Festival’s social media channels on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and YouTube.


The National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the world’s great celebrations of spring. Hosted from March 20 – April 17, the 2022 Festival will include four weeks of events featuring diverse and creative programming that promotes traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit.  

Visit NationalCherryBlossomFestival.org or call 877.44.BLOOM for more information, and check out Facebook (@CherryBlossomFestival), Instagram (@CherryBlossFest), Twitter (@CherryBlossFest), and YouTube (@NationalCherryBlossomFestivalDC). The Festival is supported by Leadership Circle Sponsors Events DC and Amazon.