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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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2011/04/16 - Kyoto Report
by francois

Maruyama Park's famous central weeping cherry tree has lost most of its flowers

This is the seventh and final cherry blossom report from Kyoto this year. When Schauwecker made the first report from the city on March 29 he found at most places the flowers of the somei yoshino cherry trees (by far the most common trees) were just about to start opening. When Scott explored the city about a week and a half later on April 9 those trees had already reached full bloom. Today, one week after Scott saw the city at full bloom, I found most places were decidedly beyond the peak and can say that the season in Kyoto will be over for the most part in a few days.

This year the development of the cherry blossoms in Kyoto has followed quite closely to the rule of thumb that it takes about one week after flowers have opened for the trees to reach full bloom, after which they decline for about a week until the season comes to an end. Travelers still have the chance to see late blooming varieties of cherry trees. The omuro cherry trees at Ninnaji Temple hadn't yet begun opening when I visited two days ago. Another good spot is Heian Shrine, which I visited today and has many beautiful weeping cherry trees that are currently still at full bloom.

Arashiyama
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak

I began the day at Arashiyama. The trees that run alongside the water on the island in the river had lost the majority of their petals. I suspect this is because they are more exposed to the elements, as the trees in the mountainside still gave pretty strong accents of the cherry blossoms' white and light pink color to the scenery.

The row of cherry trees alongside the river are far beyond peak
More cherry trees in Arashiyama with much fewer flowers
The trees in Arashiyama's hillside retain more of the cherry blossom color than the trees that are more exposed
Thinning flowers alongside the water

Maruyama Park
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak (shidare)
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak (somei yoshino)

Maruyama Park also had flowers that were falling at an accelerated rate, but not to the same extent. This did not stop the park from being popular, as there were many hanami parties taking place across the grounds.

Despite the trees being beyond peak, the park was busy with hanami parties
Fewer people were dining at the tables serviced by the food stalls
A weeping cherry tree in the park's upper area that has only a few remaining flowers
Hanging branches of Maruyama's central weeping cherry tree
The somei yoshino trees generally still had more flowers than at Arashiyama

Chionin Temple's Sanmon Gate
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak

Although Chionin Temple is not generally known as a famous cherry blossom spot and was not part of the day's original itinerary, I decided to stop by when I saw that the Sanmon Gate was having a special opening to the public which will run until the end of the month. I though I might be able to get a view of Maruyama Park, which is located just beside, but the view was obstructed by trees. There were a few nice cherry trees around the gate, and also a nice view onto Kyoto's downtown area.

Chionin Temple's Sanmon Gate
Cherry blossoms beside the gate
The view of the cherry trees from up above
The view from the gate onto the city

Okazaki Canal
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak

The Okazaki Canal was also losing many of its flowers, but they still had an attractive full appearance in some places. Travelers still can take advantage of the boat rides that travel along the canal.

Blossoms beside the Okazaki Canal
A close up on a branch that has lost many of its flowers

Keage Incline
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak

The Keage Incline begins at the end of the Okazaki Canal and it has also lost many of its flowers. When I visited two days ago there were some very impressive views, but today there were few blossoms and few people.

Leaves cover up more of the view from above than the flowers do
A traveler who may be disappointed by the current state of the incline's cherry trees
A close up of some blossoms

Kiyomizudera Temple
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak

Today was the first time this season that I visited Kiyomizudera Temple. The temple's cherry blossoms were still in pretty good condition, making for some attractive views, but the peak has definitely been passed. Nonetheless, as Kiyomizudera is one of the city's most popular attractions in any season, there were large crowds of people on the temple's balconies

One of the temple's balconies
A pond near the temple's exit is covered by many fallen petals
The view of one of the balconies from below, through leaves and flowers
Some of the temple's remaining flowers

Of all the trees on the temple grounds, the most attractive were some of the later blooming weeping varieties (shidare) that can be found near the temple's entrance.

A weeping cherry tree in front of one of the temple's buildings

Heian Shrine
April 16, 2011 - full bloom (yaebeni shidare)

While there are only a few shidare trees at Kiyomizudera Temple, they are the main type of tree at the garden of Heian Shrine, making it one of the best places to see flowers in the city at the moment. The shrine also has some somei yoshino trees, some of which are far beyond peak and others which still look pretty close to full bloom. In any case, the reason to visit the shrine is for its spectacular yaebeni shidare trees which are currently at their peak.

Cherry trees just after the garden's entrance
The trees form a tunnel of flowers beside the water
Branches full of blossoms fall onto the shrine rooftops
A close up of some of one of the trees at full bloom

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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