Trust for the National Mall Unveils Completion of Japanese Stone Lantern Plaza at the Tidal Basin

Trust for the National Mall

Press Contact:
Farrah Kim

(202) 568-8986

farrahkim@rational360.com

Ambassador of Japan to Participate in Unveiling: November 8, 11 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 8, 2013) — The Trust for the National Mall, the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service for restoring the National Mall, today announced that construction of a new plaza at the Japanese Stone Lantern is complete and open to visitors.  The newly created plaza will be unveiled on November 8, 2013, during an event with the Ambassador of Japan, the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, D.C. (JCAW), the JCAW Foundation, the National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall.

The new plaza will improve the accessibility and sustainability of the area around the Japanese Stone Lantern, the historic centerpiece of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 360 year-old Japanese Stone Lantern, along with its grove of original cherry trees gifted from Japan 101 years ago, is a cherished symbol commemorating the friendship between the United States and Japan.  Now the lantern, located at the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin, features a granite plaza with natural stone boulders and a memorial plaque commemorating the 1912 gift of cherry trees, relocated from its previous position to the new plaza.

“We are honored to have had the opportunity to oversee this important project,” said Caroline Cunningham, President of the Trust for the National Mall. “The Stone Lantern is an iconic part of the Cherry Blossom Festival – and while its setting in a grove of cherry blossom trees on the shores of the Tidal Basin is grand, the landscape directly surrounding the lantern was not. With this restoration we have added prominence and grandeur to this setting, greatly enhancing the visitor experience and future lighting ceremonies.”

“This culturally significant project greatly enhances the landscape of the initial cherry blossom gifting site in the Tidal Basin, and creates an atmosphere like that of a Japanese garden,” said Masato Otaka, Minister for Public Affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. “I am looking forward to next April when we will continue the tradition of lighting the lantern in a ceremony that celebrates the friendship of our two countries and the beauty of these magnificent trees.”

The landscape enhancement to the area around the Japanese Stone Lantern was initiated last year, as part of the Japan-U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial Celebration. The project was managed by the Trust for the National Mall and sponsored by the Government of Japan, the Japan Commerce Association of Washington, D.C. (JCAW), and the Association’s Foundation, JCAW Foundation.  Kurisu International, a landscape design-build firm dedicated to creating restorative garden environments, designed the new plans for the Japanese Stone Lantern plaza.

 “This project not only beautifies the Tidal Basin, but it helps protect the cherry trees near the plaza from soil erosion and compaction that can damage their roots,” said Bob Vogel, Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks. “The Park Service is grateful for the gift that will make this bucolic part of the National Mall more sustainable and inviting.”

“Japan Commerce Association of Washington, D.C. (JCAW) is proud that our contribution will help ensure that millions of visitors will be able to enjoy the Lantern and the cherry trees for generations to come," said Tsunehiko Yanagihara, president of JCAW.

Details for the unveiling celebration of the new Japanese Stone Lantern plaza:

WHO:       Trust for the National Mall, Ambassador of Japan, Japan Commerce Association of Washington, D.C., JCAW Foundation and National Park Service

WHEN:     Friday, November 8, 2013

                    11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 

WHERE:   Japanese Lantern at the Tidal Basin

                    Independence Avenue and 17th Street SW

Members of the press can RSVP for the event by contacting Farrah Kim at (202) 568-8986 or farrahkim@rational360.com.  

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The Trust for the National Mall is the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service dedicated to restoring and improving the National Mall, while providing new educational and volunteer opportunities that connect the park’s 25 million annual visitors to the Mall’s rich history. For more information on the Trust for the National Mall, please visit www.nationalmall.org.