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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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2011/04/01 - Kyoto Report
by scott

Today I made a follow up visit to Kyoto to see how the cherry blossoms have been progressing since Schauwecker's visit on March 29, 2011. I can't say that the trees have made significant progress over the last few days and while some early blooming cherry trees are in full bloom, generally it is still preseason as the somei yoshino trees have yet to open.

Philosopher's Path
April 1, 2011- about to open

I began the morning with a visit to the Philosopher's Path, a pleasant, 2 kilometer long, stone path along the canal between Ginkakuji and Nanzenji Temple. There were surprisingly few people out and I pretty much had the path to myself.

The cherry blossoms on the trees that line both sides of the canal have not yet opened. The buds look as if they are just about ready to burst open, and I wouldn't be surprising if they open sometime today or tomorrow. There was a single early blooming cherry tree along the path, however, that was in full bloom today.

Philosopher's Path
Philosopher's Path - blossoms about to open
Philosopher's Path - a single early blooming tree

Keage Incline and the Okazaki Canal
April 1, 2011- about to open

After the Philosopher's Path I headed to the Keage Incline, a slope used to transfer cargo boats between portions of Kyoto's extensive canal network. The incline begins at the brick aqueduct behind Nanzenji Temple and connects to the Okazaki Canal around Heian Jingu.

The trees along the incline looked just like the ones I saw around the Philosopher's Path. They had a few blossoms open here or there, but on the whole they were still closed. Again, upon close examination it looked like the cherry blossoms are right on the cusp of opening. The situation was exactly the same along the Okazaki Canal that connect to the base of the incline.

Keage Incline
Keage Incline - blossoms about to open
Okazaki Canal
Okazaki Canal - one of the first blossoms to have opened
Okazaki Canal - sightseeing boats cruise the canal

Maruyama Park
April 1, 2011- opening (10-50%) (weeping cherry)
April 1, 2011- about to open (somei yoshino)

My next stop was to Maruyama Park which is one of the sights that Schauwecker visited four days ago. Since then, the large weeping cherry tree at the center of the park has made some progress. Many more of its blossoms have opened, but is still in the opening stages and will probably take a few more days to reach full bloom.

Maruyama Park - the park's famous weeping cherry tree
Maruyama Park - blossoms still opening

The somei yoshino trees, however, still haven't opened. That didn't seem to deter the revelers though, as all of the good spots around the park have already been staked out for cherry blossom parties later on tonight. It looks like some of the kids who are reserving the spots have been camped out for hours already, and it was only late morning when I passed through.

Maruyama Park - reserved spots for hanami parties
Maruyama Park - blossoms about to open
Maruyama Park - outdoor restaurants set up for revelers
Maruyama Park - early blooming tree in front of food stalls

Kiyomizudera Temple
April 1, 2011- about to open

A few minutes walk through the Higashiyama District in eastern Kyoto took me to Kiyomizudera Temple, my last stop of the day. Kiyomizudera's famous wooden stage sits over a sea of cherry and maple trees that provide some of the most iconic spring and fall photographs in Kyoto. Just make sure to go in the afternoon when the light is better for photography.

Unfortunately, the cherry blossoms were still closed here as well. Again they look just about ready to open. There were also a handful of early blossoming cherry trees in full bloom that can be seen around the temple grounds.

Kiyomizudera Temple
Kiyomizudera Temple - blossoms about to open
Kiyomizudera Temple - early blooming tree

You may be interested to compare today's report to the ones we made around the same time in 2010 and 2009. The sights are essentially the same, but the state of the blossoms were pretty different.

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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