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Japan to give US 250 new cherry trees to replace ones in D.C. construction

Japan will gift the U.S. 250 new cherry trees to replace those taken down during construction at the Tidal Basin in Washington, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday during a visit to the White House.

Cherry blossoms, now an icon of the city, line the Tidal Basin in front of the Jefferson Memorial and National Mall. Construction of parts of the basin walls means that about 150 of the trees will be chopped down in the coming months.

Kishida said the new trees are a gift for the country’s 250th anniversary celebration in 2026. 

“Just as the local residents have cherished and protected these cherry trees, the Japan-US relationship has been supported and nurtured by many people who love each other’s countries,” Kishida said in remarks at the White House on Wednesday.

More than 1,700 cherry trees line the Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park and other areas of the National Mall, according to the parks service. Gifted to the U.S. by Japan in 1912, they have since become an icon of the city, featured everywhere from the sides of metro trains and buses to Washington Nationals baseball uniforms.

The prime minister also gifted the White House two saplings in person on Tuesday.

“We very much hope that they grow as a new symbol of the friendship Japan and the United States enjoy,” the prime minister’s office said in a social media post.

A total of 300 trees, including 158 cherry trees, will be removed as part of National Park Service construction work on the decaying Tidal Basin walls. These include the locally famous “Stumpy,” a decaying tree with just a single flowering branch.

Construction will focus on the southern portion of the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson and Roosevelt memorials.

Source: The Hill

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