Located between Riverside Church and International House, Sakura Park owes its name to the more than 2,000 cherry trees delivered to parks in New York City from Japan in 1912. The word sakura means “cherry blossom” in Japanese. The cherry trees were to be presented as a gift from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York as part of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in 1909.
This 18-day celebration, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s innovative demonstration of the steam-powered boat on the Hudson River and the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery and exploration of that river, took place throughout the state of New York. However, the steamer that carried the original delivery of cherry trees from Japan was lost at sea. A new shipment of trees arrived in New York City in 1912 and were planted in Riverside and Sakura Parks.