Chiune Sugihara Sakura Park

In short

In 2001, a collection of 200 Japanese Sakura was planted in Vilnius to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Japanese Diplomat Chiune Sugihara. Established on the right bank of the Neris River next to the National Art Gallery, the Japanese Sakura Park decorates the city with pink blossoms every spring and becomes a centre of attraction for townspeople.

The monument standing at the park’s entrance declares the Sakuras a gift from Japan’s people to Lithuania to strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries. Sakuras, also known as Japanese Cherry Blossoms, only bloom for about two weeks, usually in April (sometimes in May). Their blossoms do not smell, but Sakuras are one of the first to blossom and remind us of the awakening spring. Residents of Vilnius are used to reading books, snacking, sitting under the cherry branches and taking pictures in the Sakura Garden. This gift from the Japanese government to the City of Vilnius commemorates the man who saved about 6,000 Jewish people from Lithuania, Poland and Germany.

Brief History

Declared a righteous individual by the nations of the world, Sugihara took personal initiative and violated the instructions and official policy of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs by issuing Japanese transit visas to Jewish applicants at the consulate in Kaunas in 1939-1940, even though most of them did not meet the strict requirements set by the Japanese government. It is estimated that he could have issued up to 10,000 visas, saving thousands of Jews in Lithuania, Poland and Germany from the Holocaust.

Upės g., Vilnius 09309Google Maps

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