Once an activity for the nobility of the Imperial court in Japan, hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) became a popular tradition among the elite ruling class during the Heian Period (794-1185), and then later, with the encouragement of Tokugawa Yoshimune (1684-1751), among commoners.

Today, Japanese people typically lay out bright-blue tarpaulins beneath cherry trees in parks, set up picnics, meet up with friends and colleagues, and consume a lot of alcohol — sometimes until they actually embarrass themselves.

But it's not just in Japan that the public are enjoying such a celebration of spring. Across the globe, more than 10,000 km away, another set of locals are celebrating the en masse blooming of cherry trees in one of the most attended spring festivals in America: the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.