Cherry Blossoms are known in Japan as Sakura. Popularized by Japanese culture. They are the centerpiece of Spring festivals.
Cherry Blossoms (桜, sakura) are the flowers that bud every Spring on several varieties of trees in genus Prunus, such as the Japanese Cherry. These have been mainly cultivated for ornamental use and do not actually produce any fruit.
The practice of flower viewing in Japan is known as Hanami (花見). This has been a traditional custom to picnic in the Spring among blooming Chienese plum blossom (梅, ume) trees since the time of the Nara Period (710–794 AD). However, it was by the time of Heian Period (794–1185 AD) that the cherry blossoms began to draw far more attention from the people. At one time limited to the elite of society, it soon spread to the samurai and the common people of Japan.
The importance to Japanese culture of these flower viewings eventually even led to the Japanese Meteorological Agency tracking the Cherry Blossom Front (桜前線, sakura zensen) in 1951. This is designed to aid the public on what locations in Japan have the best climate to be beneficial to a bountiful amount of blooms. Major news outlets even add this information to their regular coverage. Though by 2010, the Japanese Meteorological Agency gave the duties of tracking to other private agencies, but still continue to record the data of the climate and how it will relate to the cherry blossoms.
Cherry Blossoms in manga and anime are often used to be a symbol that shows the audience the season of the year a story takes place. Since the name Sakura is highly popular in Japan for girls, this has also been reflected on it's use in various manga and anime.
The Cardcaptor Sakura series began as a manga originally created by the all female design team known as CLAMP. The lead protagonist was named Sakura Kinomoto. Many of her costume designs use the color pink.
The Sakura Wars series originally began as a Strategy RPG series in Japan by created by Ouji Hiroi, but it was later adapted in many other media formats that included anime OVAs, and films. One of the three protagonists was also named Sakura Shinguji. The use of cherry blossoms are prominent in the series art due to the title.
In the Naruto manga series created by Masashi Kishimoto, one of the main characters is named Sakura Haruno. Not only does she share the same name as the cherry bloosm, but her hair has the same pink color.
The Street Fighter game series began as an arcade fighter franchise that would spawn various other games then branch out into both manga and anime. When Street Fighter Alpha 2 was released to arcades in February 1996 and introduced Sakura Kasugano. She's a high school girl that's a fan of the series protagonist Ryu and has modeled her own martial arts after his. Cherry blossoms are used in various promotional art that she appears in.