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Cherry Blossom Report 2011
Official cherry blossom reports by japan-guide.com

This year's cherry blossom season will be overshadowed by the tremendous loss caused by the recent earthquake. However, we believe that the blossoms will serve as symbols of hope and resilience and a source of motivation along Japan's road to recovery. With this in mind, we never hesitated to go ahead with our annual reports in order to inform travelers in Japan and readers across the world about this year's cherry blossom season.

2011 Cherry Blossom Forecast - Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report
Popular cherry blossom spots - How to do hanami? - Cherry tree varieties

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2011/03/29 - Kyoto Report
by schauwecker

The cherry blossoms officially started to open in Kyoto yesterday and should progress into full bloom next week.

Kyoto Imperial Park
March 29, 2011 - opening (10-50%) (weeping cherry)

I started this year's reporting from Kyoto at the Imperial Park where a group of early flowering weeping cherry trees is usually a couple of days ahead of the elsewhere predominant somei yoshino trees to which yesterday's official opening announcement applied.

Weeping cherry trees in the northeastern corner of Kyoto Imperial Park

Some of the gracefully shaped weeping cherry trees in the northwestern corner of the Kyoto Imperial Park, not far from Imadegawa Subway Station, were already approaching the 50 percent mark and made for a wonderful sight in the early morning sun.

A particular beautiful and far advanced tree
Weeping cherry blossoms in Kyoto Imperial Park

There are two varieties of weeping cherry trees present: light pink shidarezakura with five petals and dark pink yae-shidarezakura with more than five petals. The latter won't start opening for another week or so, which will result in a prolonged hanami season.

The two weeping cherry varieties side by side

Arashiyama
March 29, 2011 - about to open

Cherry trees have not started opening in Arashiyama yet, and many of the trees do not look like they will do so for another two days or so.

A row of closed somei yoshino trees in front of the Togetsukyo Bridge
The buds of one of the more advanced somei yoshino trees

Even the pretty weeping cherry tree in the center of Arashiyama Park next to the Togetsukyo Bridge, which usually blooms a few days ahead of the somei yoshino, had still all its buds closed.

The weeping cherry is also still closed

Maruyama Park
March 29, 2011 - just opened (0-10%) (weeping cherry)
March 29, 2011 - about to open (somei yoshino)

Cherry trees at Maruyama Park were generally still closed, but more advanced than in Arashiyama. Some of the somei yoshino trees looked like they needed only a few more hours of warmth before starting to open.

A few of the most advanced buds at Maruyama Park

On the central weeping cherry tree, which usually opens a couple of days ahead of the somei yoshino trees, I was able to spot a single cluster with open blossoms.

The central weeping cherry tree of Maruyama Park
The single cluster with open blossoms

Preparations for the hanami season were in full swing at the park, with the temporary outdoor restaurants being constructed. Most of the food stands were set up already, and a few of them were already in business.

Temporary outdoor restaurant is being set up

Despite the lack of blossoms, many popular spots in the park were already occupied by blue picnic sheets. Some people were even guarding their spots during the morning hours of this regular Tuesday for their colleagues to join them later.

Early competition for good hanami spots

Daigoji Temple
March 29, 2011 - opening (10-50%) (weeping cherry)
March 29, 2011 - about to open (somei yoshino)

Daigoji Temple is a good place to visit early during the cherry blossom season, because it is home to some of Kyoto's most spectacular, large weeping cherry trees that bloom a few days ahead of the elsewhere predominant somei yoshino.

Weeping cherry trees in front of the Sanboin building
Blossoms are starting to open up

Many of the weeping cherry trees started opening, and some of them were already approaching the 50 percent mark. The most impressive trees include a group of large trees in front of the Sanboin building, while my favorite tree, a particularly wide weeping cherry, stands on the ground of the temple museum.

My favorite tree at Daigoji

Many more weeping cherry and somei yoshino trees can be found across the temple grounds. The somei yoshino trees have not started opening yet, but look like they will do so from tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

A market, lined by closed somei yoshino trees, is held on the 29th of each month

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List of Posts:
2011/05/09 - Sapporo Report
2011/05/06 - Hakodate Report
2011/05/02 - Kakunodate Report
2011/05/01 - Hirosaki Report
2011/04/29 - Kitakami Report
2011/04/22 - Aizu Report
2011/04/21 - Sendai Report
2011/04/20 - Fujigoko Report
2011/04/19 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/16 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/15 - Osaka Report
2011/04/14 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/14 - Kanazawa Report
2011/04/13 - Yoshino Report
2011/04/12 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/12 - Okayama Report
2011/04/11 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/11 - Takamatsu Report
2011/04/10 - Osaka Report
2011/04/10 - Matsuyama Report
2011/04/09 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/08 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/08 - Yoshino Report
2011/04/07 - Hiroshima Report
2011/04/07 - Iwakuni Report
2011/04/07 - Nagoya Report
2011/04/06 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/05 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/04 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/03 - Fukuoka Report
2011/04/02 - Tokyo Report
2011/04/01 - Kyoto Report
2011/04/01 - Kagoshima Report
2011/03/31 - Kumamoto Report
2011/03/31 - Fukuoka Report
2011/03/30 - Tokyo Report
2011/03/30 - Kochi Report
2011/03/29 - Kyoto Report
2011/03/28 - Himeji Report
2011/03/27 - Tokyo Report