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Cherry Blossom Report 2010
by japan-guide.com

This is the official japan-guide.com cherry blossom report for 2010. Please visit also our guide to cherry blossoms for more general information about cherry blossoms and this year's forecasts and our schedule of upcoming reports.

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2010/03/23 - Kyoto Report
by schauwecker

Kyoto's cherry blossom season is about to start

Cherry blossoms in Kyoto were reported to have opened on March 19 this year, twelve days ahead of their average schedule. Today I made a first report trip to the old capital to check on the blossoms' progress in three of Kyoto's most popular hanami spots: Arashiyama, the Philosopher's Path and Maruyama Park.

Arashiyama
March 23, 2010 - just opened (0-10%)

Most cherry trees in Arashiyama, a popular district on the outskirts of northwestern Kyoto, have only just started to open their blossoms and are still below the ten percent mark. The trees in the Nakanoshima Park along the river are particularly little advanced, probably due to the fact that there is no shelter that protects them from the forces of the weather.

Overcast morning at Nakanoshima Park, Arashiyama
Blossoms about to open with Togetsukyo Bridge in the background

Only a small number of trees, that are of different varieties than the dominant somei yoshino, have progressed further, including a few weeping cherry trees (shidarezakura). In general, the blossoms are unlikely to progress considerably over the coming two days due to cool and rainy weather, and the weekend will still be too early for full bloom.

Weeping cherry tree in Nakanoshima Park
Some wild cherry trees in the Arashiyama mountains

Next I made a brief visit to Ryoanji Temple, which had been undergoing renovation works in recent months. The roof renovation at Ryoanji, which forced the temple to entirely close for more than a month earlier this year, is finally completed and the temple is back to normal with completely unobstructed views onto the famous Zen garden. However, Ryoanji is not particularly known as a cherry blossom spot.

Renovation completed at Ryoanji Temple

Philosopher's Path
March 23, 2010 - just opened (0-10%)

Cherry trees along the Philosopher's Path have only just started to open, and the cold and rainy weather of today and the coming few days provides no reason for them to open up quickly. It is unlikely that the trees along the two kilometer long walking path will reach full bloom before later next week.

Philosopher's Path

While in the area, I checked out Ginkakuji, another of Kyoto's temples that have been undergoing renovation works in recent years. The renovation works on the roof and the earthquake resistance of the Silver Pavilion were scheduled to end this March, and I am glad to report that the works have now indeed been completed.

Philosopher's Path

Unlike the nearby Philosopher's Path, Ginkakuji is not a cherry blossom spot and I planned to keep my visit short. But then I noticed that special tours are currently offered of three of Ginkakuji's temple building that are not usually open to the public (35 minutes, guided in Japanese, 1000 yen).

The tour did not include entry into the Silver Pavilion itself (which never seems to be opened to the public), but it included entry into the celebrated Togudo Hall, which contains the oldest Shoin style room in existence. The room is the prototype of the tea ceremony room and what would become the standard traditional Japanese style room today.

Renovation completed at Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion)

Maruyama Park
March 23, 2010 - just opened (0-10%)

Like the blossoms at the other spots visited today, cherry blossoms in Maruyama Park, one of Kyoto's most popular hanami spots, have only just started to open and will probably take another week to reach full bloom. Even the large weeping cherry tree in the center of the park, which follows a slightly earlier schedule than the more numerous somei yoshino trees, has not reached the 50 percent mark yet, and appears weaker and weaker with every year.

Large weeping cherry tree in Maruyama Park
Close up on the opening blossoms of the large weeping cherry tree

The bad weather did not attract a lot of cherry blossom viewers today, and it seemed that tourists were outnumbered by workers who started to prepare the park for the upcoming cherry blossom festivities and cleaned up lights and installations from the Hanatoro event, which had ended yesterday.

Deserted Maruyama Park
Blossoms have started to open at Maruyama Park

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List of Posts:
2010/05/14 - Hakodate Report
2010/05/13 - Matsumae Report
2010/05/06 - Kakunodate Report
2010/05/05 - Hirosaki Report

2010/04/25 - Takizakura Report
2010/04/14 - Fujigoko Report
2010/04/10 - Kyoto Report
2010/04/09 - Kanazawa Report
2010/04/08 - Tokyo Report
2010/04/08 - Osaka Report
2010/04/07 - Kyoto Report
2010/04/07 - Kamakura Report
2010/04/06 - Yoshino Report
2010/04/06 - Inuyama Report
2010/04/05 - Tokyo Report
2010/04/05 - Hikone Report
2010/04/04 - Kyoto Report
2010/04/04 - Himeji Report
2010/04/03 - Nara Report
2010/04/03 - Miyajima Report
2010/04/02 - Kyoto Report
2010/04/02 - Hiroshima Report
2010/04/01 - Tokyo Report

2010/03/30 - Nagoya Report
2010/03/30 - Kyoto Report
2010/03/30 - Tokyo Report
2010/03/29 - Osaka Report
2010/03/27 - Kyoto Report
2010/03/26 - Tokyo Report
2010/03/26 - Nara Report
2010/03/26 - Himeji Report
2010/03/26 - Nagoya Report
2010/03/25 - Nagasaki Report
2010/03/23 - Tokyo Report
2010/03/23 - Kyoto Report
2010/03/22 - Kumamoto Report
2010/03/21 - Fukuoka Report