Every year, sections of the path where the Berlin Wall once stood (Berliner Mauerweg) turn pink with the blossoms of the cherry trees or sakura.
In 1990, the Japanese set up The Sakura Campaign and managed to come up with enough funds to donate around 9,000 cherry trees in celebration of German reunification. It has been almost 16 years since the first trees were planted by the Glienicke Bridge in Potsdam, and today little remains of the ugliness of the Cold War years.
There are hanami events in Berlin every spring but I managed to miss it again this year. Hanami is a traditional Japanese custom of gathering around for picnics to appreciate the transient beauty of cherry blossoms, and less popularly, plum blossoms. The blossoms usually last for just two weeks, so I was very glad that I managed to catch it mid-season. There are some trees that haven’t blossomed yet so I’m keeping my fingers crossed on seeing them again next week. Spring rolls in way too fast for my liking yet the temperatures take too long to warm up.
I visited the section of the Mauerweg just beside S-Bahnhof Bornholmer Straße. It’s a small stretch with just about 200 trees but it’s one of the popular ones out there.
The Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and Environment has a detailed list of the trees planted by The Sakura Campaign which you can find here. You can also check out the last page of The Sakura Campaign flyer for a map of where the cherry trees are located.
Whether you’re going alone or with company, Happy Hanami!