Nearly 1.5 million Americans are of Japanese ancestry, with the largest communities in California, Hawaii, New York and Washington. With high rates of educational attainment, they have produced generations of leaders in science, humanities, and the arts. Japanese Americans are such a vibrant part of American life, it's especially painful to recall that the U.S. banned their immigration for 40 years (from 1925 to 1965), and interned Japanese American families during WWII.
Today, thanks to Japanese American communities, events, and museums across the U.S., there many great ways to experience this unique culture.
The generous gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Japan to the U.S. in 1912 has graced our Capitol ever since, celebrating an enduring national friendship. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, featuring a parade, kite festival, and Japanese American artists, attracts over 700,000 visitors a year.
Japanese gardens have long inspired admiration worldwide, and the U.S. is a happy beneficiary of that trend. These lovely gardens can be enjoyed year-round, and many hold traditional spring festivals.
For a lively view of Japanese American life, history, and contemporary fun, the three Japantowns of California can't be beat. They include:
Art, culture and history abound in the many excellent available museums. In the listing below, the first six museums focus specifically on Japanese art and/or culture, while the last three are national museums which include outstanding Japanese art collections.