On my morning walk, I noticed that the flowers on the Japanese cherry blossom trees around Mauerpark are beginning to emerge. To me, there’s nothing that signals the start of the sunny days like these delicate pink and white flowers.
This year, more than ever before, I’m excited to celebrate the change of season and take in as much of nature’s beauty as I can. Celebrating the cherry blossom season also helps connect us to Japanese culture, and is yet another creative way to travel without travelling. In Japan, an annual hanami (‘flower viewing’) is held to celebrate the beauty of these flowers.
Did you know that the cherry blossom trees in Berlin are actually 100% Japanese? The Sakura Campaign was initiated, just after the wall fell, by a Japanese TV station called Asahi TV. The aim was to get the people of Japan to donate money to buy Berlin thousands of cherry trees (sakura) as a celebration of German reunification: the donation meant it was possible to plant over 9000 cherry blossom trees in the city.
Here’s a roundup of the best places in and around Berlin where you can enjoy the cherry trees - there’s only a small window of about 10 days where the trees are in full bloom (this can be from the end of March or the end of April, it’s very weather dependent) - so make sure you don’t miss them!
1,100 cherry blossom trees were planted at the former Totestreifen (death strip) at the border of Teltow-Sigridshorst and Teltow-Seehof, which was renamed TV-Asahi-Kirschblütenallee in April 2010. When the trees are in full bloom, this is the most mesmeric path and is over 2km long! The greens, pinks and blues make you feel instantly happier. Cycle along the path, under the fragrant tree branches, taking a break for a mid-afternoon picnic!
215 trees have been planted along the former death strip that runs underneath Bornholmer Straße S Bahn station, along Norwegerstraße up to Wollankstraße. There are also a number of cherry blossom trees at nearby Platz des 9.November 1989, which is where East Germans first broke through the wall, and there is now a photographic memorial.
It’s in the expansive Landschaftspark that the most cherry blossoms were planted (a total of 1,434 trees). The best part about visiting here is that it never gets too busy. Take the S-Bahn to Wartenberg, from where it’s a 5-minute walk.
In November 1990, the first cherry trees from Japan were planted in Glienicker Brücke, which is one of the city’s main symbols of both division and reunification.
Along the Landwehrkanal, by the former Lohmühlenbrücke border strip, you’ll find the memorial stone that was erected to thank and remember the Sakura campaign. There are - of course - a collection of 45 cherry blossom trees here, too.
• At the entrance of the Zeiss-Großplanetarium (Prenzlauer Berg)
• Along Zionskirchstrasse (Prenzlauer Berg)
• Along on Rykestrasse (Prenzlauer Berg)
• In the gardens of the Japanese Embassy (Charlottenburg)
• In Japanese Garden in Gärten der Welt (Marzahn)
VisitBerlin has also created a map showcasing all the places cherry blossoms can be seen. You can view it here.
We’d love to see your photos of the cherry blossoms in Berlin; tag us on Instagram!