Cherry trees bloom in Jackson Park

The cherry trees planted in Jackson Park are blooming. Located around the Museum of Science and Industry lagoon, they were planted in 2013 by the Chicago Park District in cooperation with Project 120 and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce.

Hanami, the tradition of enjoying the beauty of cherry blossoms (sakura), has been occurring for over a thousand years, explains Japanese journalist Mock Joya in his book “Japan and Things Japanese.”

“When the Heian Palace was built in Kyoto in 794, a large garden was laid out and many cherry trees were planted,” writes Joya. “In 812 Emperor Saga held the first hanami.”

Cherry blossoms became a central motif and metaphor in Japanese art and poetry — their bloom is a bittersweet event, creating an awareness of impermanence. 

The 9th century Japanese courtier and poet Ariwara no Narihira wrote of cherry blossoms in this waka (a specific form of a poem):

"If cherry blossoms

One day ceased to exist

In this world of ours,

Perhaps our hearts in spring

May know some tranquility."

According to the Chicago Park District, the peak bloom for the trees lasts about 6 to 10 days, depending on weather. 

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