Washington D.C.
National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
Greet the spring as you discover iconic monuments, the National Arboretum and the unparalleled beauty of Washington D.C.’s cherry blossom trees.
Rating (4.8)
Program No. 18683RJ
4 days
Starts at
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4 days
3 nights
7 meals
3 B 2 L 2 D
Getting There
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Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Festival History
Washington, DC
The Hamilton Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check in is available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Each year, the National Park Service issues a forecast for the “peak” bloom period based on observations by their horticulturalists. These predictions involve many variables and can change due to weather or other local circumstances. We cannot guarantee that the Cherry Blossoms will be in bloom at the time of the program. Regardless of when peak actually occurs, the cherry trees will be lovely. All transportation will be provided via motor coach unless specified otherwise. Lectures will be led by a local expert and author. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a welcome dinner with the group as you get to know your new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: We’ll be joined for a presentation by an expert and author on the history of cherry trees in the United States and the Cherry Blossom Festival. A symbol of friendship between Japan the U.S., the flowering cherry tree, known as “Sakura” in Japan, was given to the United States as a gift in 1912.

Washington Monuments & Memorials, U.S. National Arboretum
Washington, DC
The Hamilton Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off the motor coach. Walking up to 1 mile; standing up to 1 hour. Please note that the "peak" bloom of the cherry blossoms varies from year to year and is unpredictable, and we can not guarantee that you will see the cherry blossoms in bloom. Be prepared to expect large crowds and heavy traffic throughout the day as this is the busiest time of year in the city.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will have a buffet featuring a variety of options, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Depart for an expert led exploration via motor coach of Washington’s monuments and memorials. Possible monuments and memorials you may see include the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, Jefferson Memorial, and the Tidal Basin where the first Cherry Trees were planted by First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador. We will disembark the motor coach for an opportunity to explore various sites depending on traffic and crowd conditions.

Lunch: Enjoy a light lunch with a non-alcoholic beverage at a local establishment.

Afternoon: Our next field trip is to the U.S. National Arboretum. A living museum of trees, the national arboretum is a haven of plant varieties from all over the world – including the infamous cherry blossom trees. The arboretum features both displays of abundant plant life and an opportunity to learn about the scientific and horticultural research that take place there. Upon our arrival we will be re-joined by our cherry blossoms expert lecturer, who will share another traditional Japanese plant with us, the bonsai. Enjoy her commentary while you explore the Arboretum's bonsai garden. A staff horticulturalist will join the group to demonstrate the intricate pruning process that is so distinctive to bonsai tradition. You will have time afterward to walk around the other gardens of the Arboretum on your own, including the adjacent herb garden, and explore the other beautiful plant species within the arboretum.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure to explore the city on your own.

Japanese Traditions, Free Time
Washington, DC
The Hamilton Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day. Please note that the "peak" bloom of the cherry blossoms varies from year to year and is unpredictable, and we can not guarantee that you will see the cherry blossoms in bloom. Be prepared to expect large crowds and heavy traffic throughout the day as this is the busiest time of year in the city.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our day will begin today with a presentation to learn more about Japanese traditions. Japanese culture and society have a number of deeply rooted customs and traditions that have survived the test of time. Many of these traditions draw their roots from the influences of Shinto and Buddhism. Among the most well known traditions are the tea ceremony and the Cherry Festival, which is often depicted in traditional art and dress such as the Kimono. The Japanese also have distinctive styles of music and musical instruments unique to their culture. Hear from two musicians about their traditional Japanese musical instruments, the importance of these instruments in their culture, and enjoy a musical demonstration.

Lunch: With the group at the hotel.

Afternoon: The remainder of the afternoon will be free time. Take this opportunity to experience other highlights of the city like Ford's Theater, a variety of Smithsonian museums, or other nearby activities.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a farewell dinner. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for departure in the morning.

Foreign Services Officer, Program Concludes
Washington, DC

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will be joined at the hotel for a final presentation on Japanese culture from a former Foreign Service Officer. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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