2. Sakura Park

cherry blossom trees in Sakura Park
Cherry blossoms in Sakura Park. Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

In an extension of Riverside Park, just next to Grant’s Tomb and behind Riverside Church is Sakura Park, which contains trees from the same gift from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York. The 1909 gift contained 2,000 trees and was sent by boat, but the ship was lost at sea and missed the 18 day festival. The gift was redelivered in 1912.

Sakura Park was built on land donated by John D. Rockefeller. In 1932, Sakura Park was redesigned by the famous Olmstead brothers, using money from a Rockefeller donation. Another update to the park took place in the 1980s. On a visit, don’t miss the stone torii donated by the City of Tokyo to mark the sister city designation between Tokyo and New York City in 1960. The torii was dedicated by the Emperor of Japan (then the Crown Prince Akihito) and his wife, the Princess Michiko.