Messages from Our Ambassadors

  • British Ambassador Julia Longbottom

    Julia Longbottom CMG
    British Ambassador to Japan

    Cherry blossom, or sakura, is known as a symbol of Japan by people across the United Kingdom. In Japanese culture, cherry blossom often represents fragility and fleeting beauty, as it blossoms for a short period each spring.

    This project, on the other hand, has planted a legacy of cherry trees across the UK that will ensure future generations are reminded of the deep-rooted friendship between the UK and Japan. I warmly congratulate all those, supported by the Japanese business community in the UK, who have made this project possible.

    We are fortunate that the British Embassy in Tokyo and its neighbourhood is a popular destination for viewing the beautiful cherry blossom in spring. The first cherry trees were planted in front of the Embassy in 1898 by Sir Earnest Satow, British Minister to Japan, who gave them as a sign of his love for Japan and as a gift to the people of Tokyo. I am delighted that the Sakura Cherry Tree Project in the UK builds on this tradition, and demonstrates the continuing strength of our friendship.


  • Ambassador of Japan Hayashi Hajime

    Hajime Hayashi
    Japanese Ambassador to the UK

    The Sakura Cherry Tree Project came to start thanks to the many private individuals and groups, whose passions and untiring efforts have underpinned the Japan-UK relationship. It reflects the love and respect for nature that is a feature of both cultures as well as the long-established friendship between our two countries.

    The Project, which was conceived as a grassroots initiative, has expanded sufficiently to provide more than 7000 young sakura trees all over the UK. These trees, whose flowers come into glorious bloom in the spring, will surely win a place in people’s hearts as symbols of the strong bonds that unite our two peoples and countries. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to those who have contributed to our cordial relations and to voice my hope that these sakura trees will be embraced by their local communities and will boost yet further the unshakable ties forged by Japan and the United Kingdom.

  • British Ambassador Paul Madden

    Paul Madden CMG
    British Ambassador to Japan (2017-2021)

    The British Embassy in Tokyo and its neighbourhood is one of the most famous areas in Tokyo for viewing cherry blossoms, so I am very conscious of the beauty of the sakura season.

    I would like to warmly congratulate all those in the Japanese business community who have made possible this wonderful gift of cherry blossoms, to bring a little piece of Japan to so many locations around the UK.

    I hope that we will see the practice of hanami parties spreading round Britain too. It is particularly pleasing that one of the varieties chosen is the taihaku, or “great white”, which had become extinct in Japan, and was re-introduced from the UK. In the garden of my Residence in Tokyo is a taihaku planted by HRH the Duke of Cambridge: a vivid symbol of the depth of the UK/Japan relationship.


  • Ambassador of Japan KOJI TSURUOKA

    Koji Tsuruoka
    Japanese Ambassador to the UK (2016-2019)

    The Sakura Cherry Tree Project came about with the desire of the Japanese to share the sakura trees with their friends in the UK. From its grassroots beginning, it was welcomed by the Prime Ministers of both countries.

    This Project is part of the Japan-UK Season of Culture, which aims to celebrate the friendship between our two countries. Thousands of cherry trees planted in parks, schools and public spaces will grow as a symbol of the longstanding friendship that has evolved between our two countries and will continue to do so. I would like to express my utmost appreciation to those who have helped bring the Sakura Cherry Tree Project into being.