Since I was a child I’ve always wanted to see cherry blossom (sakura) trees in person. I saw so much of them in movies, dramas and cartoons, and I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to stand underneath the blooming trees and watch the pink-and-white petals float gently to the ground.
That’s why I was so thrilled when I found out that Los Angeles has cherry blossom trees and that March is the perfect time to see them. Knowing this, I made plans to see the cherry blossom trees at their peak.
Last week, I went to the Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. The grounds include Japanese and Chinese gardens that have cherry blossom trees. As I made my way through the vast estate, I passed the Rose Garden, a quaint tea room, a few museums and a grand building that turned out to be the library.
I could see the pink treetops from far away. As I got nearer, I could smell the sweet, gentle scent of the cherry blossoms. A few steps later, I entered the gate leading to the Japanese garden, and it was one of the best sights I’ve ever seen.
There were stairs leading to a lake surrounded by cherry blossom trees. A traditional Japanese building stood on the other side, connected by a bridge across the water. A path wound its way between the trees, the flowers, the stone lanterns and the lake.
I watched the people there as I strolled leisurely around the garden. There were teenagers taking pictures with the flowers, old couples holding hands while looking at the water, families laughing as they walked together. At one point, a man asked me to take a picture while he proposed to his girlfriend under the gently swaying cherry blossom trees. Of course, she said, “Yes.”
If you want to see cherry blossom trees in Los Angeles, now is a good time to do it. The trees won’t stay in bloom for long. Other than the Japanese Gardens at the Huntington, there are other places in Los Angeles that offer cherry blossom viewing as well, including Descanso Gardens and the Suiho-En Japanese Garden.