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Five Recommended Cherry Blossom Spots in Kyoto

In the spring, Kyoto is filled with beautiful cherry blossoms. Here are some spots to view cherry blossoms that you won't want to miss if you are in Kyoto in the spring.

1. Maruyama Park

This is Kyoto's oldest park that was established in 1886. The park is designed around a kaiyushiki garden with a central pond, with ryotei restaurants and chaya cafes scattered around, and has long been beloved as a place for local residents to relax. In the spring, the garden is painted a mesmerizing pink with approximately 680 cherry blossoms including different types of weeping cherry, Yoshino cherry, and Yamazakura mountain cherry. In particular, the weeping cherry known as the Gion-no Yozakura (the nighttime cherry blossom of Gion) is magnificent. Bonfires are lit around the weeping cherry during the cherry blossom season, casting a dreamy light on the blossoms swaying in the evening breeze of Gion. Please have a magical experience in Kyoto's foremost site for viewing cherry blossoms.

*The best time to view cherry blossoms is usually between late March and early April

1. Maruyama Park

473 Maruyama-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

2. Tetsugaku-no-michi Street

Tetsugaku-no-michi Street (Philosopher's Walk) is a path that runs approximately 2km along the Lake Biwa Canal between Nyakuoji Bridge near Kumano Nyakuoji Shrine at the foot of Higashiyama and Ginkaku-ji Bridge to the west of Ginkaku-ji Temple. The approximately 500 cherry trees along this path, which has been selected as one of the top 100 pathways of Japan, are called Kansetsuzakura in honor of the Japanese painter, Kansetsu Hashimoto, who donated the saplings. When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, a tunnel of flowers appears on Tetsugaku-no-michi Street. There are many tourist spots, such as Ginkaku-ji Temple, and inviting cafes, nearby so plan to take your time to stroll around and enjoy the cherry blossoms.

*The best time to view cherry blossoms is usually between early April and mid April

2. Tetsugaku-no-michi Street

Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

3. Daigoji Temple

This is a temple with a vast 1630-acre temple ground on Mt. Daigo in eastern Fushimi Ward in southern Kyoto. Often referred to as "Hanano Daigo" (Daigo of the flowers), it is extremely famous as a spot to see cherry blossoms. In the spring, approximately 1,000 cherry blossoms bloom, starting with the early-blooming Kawazu-zakura and going on to the weeping cherries, Yoshino cherries, Yamazakura mountain cherries and Yaezakura cherries with blossoms that have eight petals. There are many cherry blossom spots in the vast compound, including the rows of cherry blossoms right inside the main gate, the 180-year-old weeping cherry at the Reihokan museum, and the cherry trees around the national treasure, Gojyu-no-to five-story pagoda. However, the trees you must not miss is the Obeni Shidarezakura (crimson weeping cherry) in front of Daigoji's main temple, Sanboin. The sight of the branches filled with blossoms flowing down like waterfalls and swaying in the wind will take your breath away. The back of Sanboin is a plaza surrounded by cherry blossoms, so why not take a break under the blossoms?

*The best time to view cherry blossoms is usually between late March and early April

3. Daigoji Temple

22 Daigohigashioji-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

4. Hirano Jinja

Built in the late 8th century, this shrine has a history of more than 1200 years and has long been known as the cherry blossom shrine. There are approximately 400 cherry blossoms of 60 varieties on the shrine grounds, and they bloom in sequence starting with the Momo-zakura and Kawazu-zakura in March and going on to a variety of other cherry blossoms till late April. There are many rare cherry blossoms that enchant the visitors not only with their beautiful form, but also with their charming names such as Kocho (butterfly), Taoyame (graceful young woman), and Shirotae (white cloth). The toro lanterns on the shrine grounds are lit up during the cherry blossom season, shining a soft light onto the blooming cherry blossoms. When the Yoshino cherries are in full bloom it is as if a canopy of cherry blossoms has been built under the sky. This spot is especially recommended for those who want to have a magical experience.

*The best time to view cherry blossoms is usually between late March and late April

4. Hirano Jinja

1 Hirano Miyamoto-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

5. Ninna-ji

This temple was established in 888. It is a highly esteemed temple referred to as the "Omuro Palace" due to its close connections with the Imperial Family, and until 1867, the chief priest was appointed from among members of the Imperial Family. Ninna-ji is also famous for its cherry blossoms with approximately 500 Yoshino cherries, weeping cherries and other varieties blooming in the spring. The Omuro-zakura, the last cherry blossom to bloom each year in Kyoto, is particularly famous. These cherry blossoms, which bloom shortly after all the Yoshino cherries in Kyoto have fallen, only reaches 2m-3m in height so you can see the blossoms right in front of your eyes. The sight of the large, showy flowers with eight petals is impressive. Be sure not to miss the Omuro-zakura, the grand finale of Kyoto's spring.

*The best time to view cherry blossoms is usually between early April and late April

5. Ninna-ji

33 Omuroouchi, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

The cherry blossoms in Kyoto can be enjoyed from March through the end of April depending on the location. If you can't decide where to go among all the places in Kyoto to view the cherry blossoms, you may want to choose based on what is blooming when you are there.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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