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Five Recommended Spots to See Cherry Blossoms in Nara

In Japan, when the cold winter ends and the trees and flowers begin to bud, it is cherry blossom season. There are places with beautiful views of cherry blossoms around Japan, and here are five in Nara that you won't want to miss.

1. Nara Park

This is a popular tourist destination with World Heritage sites such as Todaiji, Kofukuji, and Kasuga-taisha within its massive grounds. The park has approximately 1,700 cherry trees of different varieties including Higan cherry, Yoshino cherry, Yamazakura mountain cherry, Narakokonoe cherry, weeping cherry and Satozakura cherry. They start to bloom in late March and continue through the end of April. The Naranoyaezakura cherry, which usually blooms with delicate flowers from mid to late April, is Nara's prefectural flower. It is a wonderful feeling to enjoy the cherry blossoms in a place where you can feel Nara's history.

*The cherry blossoms are usually in bloom from around late March to late April

1. Nara Park

Zoshi-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

2. Himuro Shrine

The weeping cherry at this shrine, which is in Nara not far from Todaiji and Kofukuji, is referred to as "Nara Ichiban-zakura" and is said to be the first cherry blossoms to bloom in Nara. They usually start to bloom in mid-March, and are very auspicious cherry blossoms that signal the start of spring in the ancient capital city of Nara. The tree that has the most magnificent flowers is a 100-year-old tree in front of Shikyaku-mon gate. Here, an event called Kori Kento, where ice sculptures with candles inside cast a mystic light on the paths and cloister, is held from evening to night on the first day of each month. If you're lucky, you'll get to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom in a magical atmosphere.

*The cherry blossoms are usually in bloom from around late March to late April

2. Himuro Shrine

1-4 Kasugano-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

3. Mt. Yoshino

Mt. Yoshino, which is considered by some to be the best cherry blossom site in Japan, is filled with approximately 30,000 cherry trees of 200 varieties, the most common being the Shiroyama-zakura mountain cherries. The mountain is 5km long from north to south and is divided into four areas. It is also referred to as "Ichimoku Senbon" (one sight, a thousand trees) to describe the magnificence of the mountain where a thousand trees can be seen at one sight, and each area is called Shimosenbon, Nakasenbon, Kamisenbon, and Okusenbon. The flowers bloom in turn starting from Shimosenbon, which has the lowest altitude, so the cherry blossom season lasts longer than most places. When the cherry blossoms are in bloom, they are lit up at night, so be sure to see the magical scenery at night as well!!

*The cherry blossoms are usually in bloom from around early April to late April

3. Mt. Yoshino

Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara

4. Hasedera Temple

This temple is on the slope of a small mountain outside the city of Nara, and is famous as a temple where beautiful flowers bloom each season. It is often referred to as "Hana no Otera" (temple of flowers). When you pass through the Niomon main gate and go up the 399 steps of the Noboriro staircase corridor, you arrive at the butai-zukuri style Main Hall. You have a magnificent view of the cherry blossoms below from the butai stage that is built jutting out from the cliffs. The view that looks as if a pink carpet has been laid out is prettier than words can describe. There are different varieties such as Yoshino cherries, Yamazakura cherries, weeping cherries, Naranoyaezakura cherries, and Hasezakura cherries planted in the temple grounds, so you may want to walk around to find your favorite variety.

*The cherry blossoms are usually in bloom from around late March to mid-April

4. Hasedera Temple

731-1 Hase, Sakurai-shi, Nara

5. Butsuryu-ji

Butsuryu-ji was established in 850 by Kenne, a disciple of Kukai, who founded the Shingon school of Buddhism, and has played an important role as the south gate of Murou-ji, where monks live and retire in. It has the oldest and largest "sennen-zakura" (1000-year cherry tree). It is an unusual variety called Mochizukizakura, a cross between Yamazakura and Edohiganzakura, and has small, very pale pink flowers. The sennenzakura is approximately 9m in height and 8m in circumference, and diverges into 11 branches at about 2m high, extending its branches and leaves over a wide area. It is actually 900 years old, and is designated a natural monument of Nara. A view of the tree in full bloom extending its branches toward the blue sky is magnificent. Be sure to visit.

*The cherry blossoms are usually in bloom from around mid-April to late April

Mochizukizakura

5. Butsuryu-ji

1684 Haibaraakabane, Uda-shi, Nara

There are many more places to see cherry blossoms in Nara. Please visit a variety of places to find your favorite view of cherry blossoms.

*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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