updated 3/15/2011 3:58:39 PM ET 2011-03-15T19:58:39

Organizers of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington are urging people to donate to the American Red Cross for earthquake relief efforts in Japan ahead of the festival that honors U.S.-Japanese relations. Festival spokeswoman Danielle Piacente says they are working on plans to recognize the tsunami tragedy during the festival, which runs March 26 to April 10.

  1. Don't miss these Travel stories
    1. Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors

      With teams using more than 100 unique apparatuses to launch globular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is our pick as November’s Weird Festival of the Month.

    2. Airports, airlines work hard to return your lost items
    3. Expert: Tourist hordes threaten Sistine Chapel's art
    4. MGM Grand wants Las Vegas guests to Stay Well
    5. Report: Airlines collecting $36.1B in fees this year

How to help victims of the quake

Organizers do not expect to have to replace any performers traveling from Japan.

The popular Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival on April 9 is bringing about 50 people from the Tokyo region to perform in Washington.

John Malott, president of the Japan-America Society of Washington, which stages the street festival, says the group will ask for donations for relief efforts during the event.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Cherry blossoms in bloom

loading photos...
  1. Two people in a row boat view cherry blossoms in full bloom in Tokyo, Japan, on April 2. "This weekend and probably the entire next week should be the best time this year to see cherry blossoms in major cities," according to the Web site japan-guide.com. (Kimimasa Mayama / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. With the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the background, cherry trees blossom along the Tidal Basin near the National Mall in Washington on March 30. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Cherry blossoms begin their annual blooming season along the Tidal Basin on March 31, 2010, in Washington, D.C. The cherry trees, given by Japan to the United States as a gift 98 years ago, are the center of the Cherry Blossom Festival which runs from March 27 through April 11. (Win McNamee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. The National Cherry Blossom Festival lasts two weeks each year, and celebrates springtime in America's capital. In 1912, Japan gave 3,000 cherry trees to Washington to mark the friendship between the two countries. (Win McNamee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Cherry blossoms bloom near a Japanese sculpture and the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. In 1981, Japan was given cuttings of D.C.'s cherry blossom trees to replace some of their own that were destoyed by flood. (Win McNamee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A monk from Thailand, now living in Alexandria, Va., walks along the Tidal Basin to view the cherry blossoms in bloom in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Hoffman / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. People view cherry blossoms by boat in Tokyo on March 27. The bloom was only at 30 percent as continuous rainy days and unseasonably low temperatures delayed the full bloom. (Kimimasa Mayama / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Japanese macaques eat cherry blossom at Tokyo's Ueno zoo on March 29. The zoo incorperated a cherry tree into the macaques habitat as the sprouts and flowers are their favorite foods. (Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A steam locomotive passes under fully bloomed cherry blossoms at Hitoyoshi city in Kumamoto prefecture, Japan's southern island of Kyushu, on March 27. The JR Kyushu operates the steam locomotive every weekend as a tourist attraction. (JIJI Press via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The Tokyo Tower is seen behind a cherry blossom in full bloom in downtown Tokyo. Japan's meteorological agency announced that cherry trees bloomed six days earlier than previous years. (Toru Yamanaka / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Video: At least 15,000 people missing in Japan

  1. Closed captioning of: At least 15,000 people missing in Japan

    >> humanitarian disaster unfolding in japan . ann curry is in minamisanriku, the small fishing village .

    >> reporter: even without the nuclear threat, japan 's disaster is deepening. with 2,500 confirmed deaths and 15,000 people missing and yet another terrible discovery today. along japan 's coast, a grim task. troops working steadily to recover a reported 2,000 bodies that began washing ashore today. also today, we saw our first convoy of military vehicles in the ravaged area. this while much of the country and the world focus on the safety of the nation's nuclear power plant while people living near the reactors are being scanned for radiation, half a million other people are living in shelters and with limited access to tv, radio or current newspapers, these women tell me they know little about the nuclear problems. what do you know about what's happening at the nuclear power plant ? [ speaking in a foreign language ]

    >> reporter: this woman says there are no instructions. we have been told not to go outside. in the coastal town where 17,000 people used to live and more than half of the residents have disappeared, hope is fleeting.

    >> translator: my home has washed away. i don't know what to say. i hope my daughter is alive somewhere.

    >> reporter: lee cowjuan traveled to a makeshift morgue.

    >> this is what's left of the lower floor. this is the third floor. looks like one of the patient wards. nobody in here would have stood a chance. they were proud of the hospital. this is a photo album we found with pictures of what the hospital looked like in better days.

    >> reporter: since the u.s. navy delivered supplies on sunday more than 90 countries have offered aid, much of which is yet to get to victims. an early tally by the american red cross shows as of monday, $23 million in donations have been offered to help japan .

    >> i want to reiterate america's support for the people of japan , some of our closest friends and allies.

    >> reporter: tokyo, a financial hub of asia, has been paralyzed with trains out of service and major stores closed. and japan 's stock market lost 13% of its value as big companies like toyota announced they would be closed at least until thursday. everyone watches and waits for miracles like this 4-month-old survivor pulled from beneath the are you able frm rubble, now reunited with her father. matt, late today, more good news. we heard that a 70-year-old woman who was in a house that was swept away by the tsunami has been found. she was suffering from hypothermia but she was alive and is now being treated in a hospital. matt?

    >> small miracles in the wake of such devastation. ann, thank you very much. we'll check in with you later. meanwhile

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments