March 07, 2019
Start getting excited for spring and all the beautiful flowers that come with the warm weather.
One of Philly's top spots to see cherry blossoms, Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, will open for the 2019 season on Saturday, March 23.
The historic site and museum will open ahead of the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, as well as the anticipated full bloom date for the pink and white flowers.
Shofuso was built in Japan in 1953 using traditional techniques and materials, then shipped to New York to be exhibited in the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art, before moving to Philadelphia's Fairmount Park in 1958.
There's a pond garden with a waterfall and koi fish, a traditional tea house, a courtyard garden leading to a bathhouse and a stunning weeping cherry tree.
Kim Andrews, executive director of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, noted the difficulty of predicting peak bloom due to weather conditions, however.
"There's no guarantee to the bloom prediction because we just don’t know what Mother Nature has in mind each year. A surprise burst of cold weather or warmer than normal temperatures can change everything," she said.
This year's nine-day Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival will kick off April 6 and end with the popular Sakura Sunday, which takes place on the grounds of the Fairmount Park Horticultural Center and at Shofuso.
During the festival, Shofuso will be open until 7 p.m. Normal hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Other popular places to view cherry blossoms are listed below, recommended by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia.
• Kelly Drive/East River – North of Boathouse Row, past where Girard Avenue crosses Kelly Drive
• Memorial Hall/Please Touch Museum – On Lansdowne Drive, behind Memorial Hall
• Martin Luther King Jr. Drive/West River – From south of Montgomery Drive to north of Falls Bridge
• Belmont Plateau – Along Belmont Mansion Drive, overlooking the city skyline