On Saturday, 22 October 2011, the Mayor of Nara, Japan, Mr Gen Nakagawa, joined the Chief Minister Ms Katy Gallagher MLA in planting a Yoshino Cherry tree in Forest 17, on the Central Valley side of Forest Drive at the National Arboretum Canberra.
Ms Gallagher said the Yoshino Cherry planted by Mr Nakagawa was a reminder of Japan's rich cultural heritage, and a sign of how natural disasters, such the tsunami earlier in the year united communities. It was important to express our sympathies with the people of Japan, and in particular our sister-city Nara.
The Mayor was in the ACT to take part in the Canberra Nara Candle Festival, a celebration of the links between the two cities that began with the signing of the sister city agreement in 1993.
The Yoshino cherry is believed to be a natural hybrid from Japan. Cherry blossom is a national symbol of Japan. Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) has been a Japanese custom since the 7th century.