The "cherry blossom crowds" have descended on the Jefferson Memorial at the Tidal Basin.
The paddle-boat rental dock at the Tidal Basin.
The first 3,000 cherry trees were gifted to Washington DC in 1912 by Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan, and to celebrate the continued close relationship between the two nations.
On March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two of the 3,000 trees on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park.
The cherry trees that were gifted by the Japanese are a variety known as Yoshino.
Most wild cherry trees, as well as a lot of cultivated tree varieties, have blossoms with five petals.
"Sakura" is the Japanese name for ornamental cherry trees and their blossoms.
In 1965, Japan gifted an additional 3,800 trees. These trees were accepted by Lady Bird Johnson, who was First Lady at the time.
A photographer I know would title this picture, "Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC" - he likes to blur backgrounds in "proof of where taken" type photos.
The Washington Monument - just so you know I can take a picture of our iconic obelisk without blurring it.
In Chinese culture, cherry blossoms are a symbol of feminine beauty or love. In Japanese culture, on the other hand, because cherry blossoms bloom for a very short period of time, they symbolize the transient nature of life.
Glimpse of the cherry blossoms on the far side of the Tidal Basin and the crowds that have come to see them.
One way of enjoying the blossoming cherry trees is to go out on a paddle boat.
In 1981, Japanese horticulturalists took cuttings from the trees in DC to replace the Yoshino cherry trees in Japan that were destroyed in a flood. With this return gift, the trees again fulfilled their role as a symbol of friendship.
The most recent event in the cycle of "gifting cherry trees" occurred in the fall of 1999 with the planting of a new generation of cuttings from a famous Japanese cherry tree in Gifu province reputed to be over 1500 years old.
The cherry trees gifted by Japan are not fruit-bearing trees.
Cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin.
Mui at the Tidal Basin.
A wedding party in cherry blossom colors.
Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall. The festival was founded in 1967 by aviation pioneer Paul E. Garber, founder of the National Air & Space Museum.
Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall.
Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall. The area around the Washington Monument is filled with kite flyers and spectators.
Pirates of the Caribbean - Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall.
Go Navy! - Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall.
Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall. Kids of all ages love climbing this tree, but it is a hazard for kites (note the red kite caught in the top branches).
Mui at the Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall.
The crowds extend past the World War II Memorial and all the way to the Lincoln Memorial at the far end of the Mall.
Waiting for the breeze to pick-up again - Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall.
A "wanna-be Red Baron" grounded when the wind died down - Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall.
What does a "wanna-be Red Baron" at the Smithsonian Kite Festival do while he's waiting for the wind to pick up?
And the Red Baron flies again - Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall. Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (1892–1918) was a German fighter pilot best known as the "Red Baron." He was the most successful flying ace of World War I - officially credited with 80 confirmed air combat victories.
Butterfly Ballerina - Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall.
Mui with the Capitol as the backdrop - Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall.
Flags at the Washington Monument and kites - Smithsonian Kite Festival on the Mall.
Busy day at the Smithsonian Kite Festival - looking in this direction, the crowds stretch all the way to the Capitol.