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Cherry Blossom Report 2013
Official cherry blossom reports by japan-guide.com

2013 Cherry Blossom Forecast - Schedule of upcoming reports - Popular cherry blossom spots
How to do hanami? - Cherry tree varieties - Post your own report

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2013/03/28 - Kyoto Report
by sean

Sannenzaka close to Kiyomizudera Temple

Four days after our previous report from Kyoto, today I revisited the charming city. Incidentally, on an average year cherry blossoms in Kyoto start opening on this day, March 28. However, the season started six days earlier this year due to a warm start to March. The past week had seen temperatures marginally lower than what is required for the cherry blossoms to further develop, and as such many of the buds remained at a stage being somewhat ready to bloom.

After a wet early morning, the rain soon stopped and I had to unbutton my jacket by the afternoon. With the mercury set to rise over the next five days, the cherry blossoms of Kyoto are well positioned to open up and delight the thousands coming soon to visit.

Maruyama Park
March 28, 2013 - opening (10-50%) (Somei Yoshino)
March 28, 2013 - full bloom (Weeping cherries)

Maruyama Park is a popular spot for hanami (cherry blossom watching) parties. This morning I noticed many mats laid on the floor, tents and unfinished bottles of drinks everywhere, which suggest that there were already parties going on here last night. At the adjacent Yasaka Shrine, people were setting up the frames of festival stalls. The haunted mansion which is an attraction at the shrine every cherry blossom season has already been built.

The cherry blossoms at the park were about 20% in bloom but the weeping cherry trees were already at full bloom. The petals of the weeping cherry trees should remain intact for some time as those of the mainstream Somei Yoshino unfold; the two combining to provide pleasant views from around the weekend. The park is illuminated in the evenings from sunset to 25:00 until April 14.

Maruyama Park

Cherry blossoms at Maruyama Park

Wet morning

Kiyomizudera Temple
March 28, 2013 - opening (10-50%)

Kiyomizudera Temple was as usual popular with tourists today, who were enjoying themselves taking pictures with the cherry trees. Cherry blossoms were at about the quarter mark, and views here will get increasingly beautiful over the next few days. Until April 7, the temple has special opening hours in the evening from 18:30 to 22:00 (entry until 21:30), giving visitors the opportunity to see its famous temple structures lit up in the night.

Kiyomizudera Temple

Cherry blossoms at Kiyomizudera

Daigoji Temple
March 28, 2013 - opening (10-50%) (Somei Yoshino)
March 28, 2013 - full bloom (Weeping cherries)

The superstars of Daigoji Temple are arguably not the Somei Yoshino but the weeping cherry trees (Shidarezakura). This is one of the best locations for fans of the Shidarezakura as there are many trees of this variety here, including an impressively humongous one at the temple's Reihokan Museum.

The weeping cherries at Daigoji Temple were at their best today, drawing gasps of awe from the visitors. More than once I noticed many snapping their camera shutters at some pretty shidarezakura, and then I turned aside to look at some neglected Somei Yoshino which were only progressing towards the halfway mark. It was the first time I ever felt sorry for the Somei Yoshino, the usual attention-hoggers. In two or three days they will catch up, and perhaps then we will see a more level playing ground.

Daigoji Temple

Activity in front of the Sanboin

Lovely translucent Shidarezakura

Bee at work at some Somei Yoshino flowers

Magnificent weeping cherry tree at Reihokan Museum

Arashiyama
March 28, 2013 - opening (10-50%)

Arashiyama is another of Kyoto's popular cherry blossom spots. The center of activity is the famous Togetsukyo Bridge, north of which are streets lined with shops selling souvenirs and the local goodies, south of which is Nakanoshima Park. Nakanoshima Park offers a cherry tree grove and a pleasant riverside promenade dotted with cherry trees of several varieties. The park will be lit up in the evenings from 18:00 to 22:00 until April 14.

I found the cherry blossoms at Arashiyama at about the same state as those at the other locations that I visited today. Barring sudden unexpected changes in weather, visitors to Kyoto should be able to look forward to cherry blossoms at their best by the coming Sunday at the latest.

Cherry tree grove at Nakanoshima Park

Cherry blossoms at Arashiyama

Along Katsuragawa River

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List of Posts:
2013/05/09 - Hakodate Report
2013/05/08 - Matsumae Report
2013/05/02 - Hirosaki Report
2013/05/01 - Kakunodate Report
2013/04/30 - Kitakami Report
2013/04/18 - Sendai Report
2013/04/17 - Takayama Report
2013/04/15 - Fukushima Report
2013/04/12 - Matsumoto Report
2013/04/11 - Kyoto Report
2013/04/10 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/04/10 - Hakone Report
2013/04/10 - Kanazawa Report
2013/04/09 - Yoshino Report
2013/04/08 - Kyoto Report
2013/04/08 - Tokyo Report
2013/04/05 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/04/04 - Kyoto Report
2013/04/04 - Gunma Report
2013/04/03 - Takamatsu Report
2013/04/02 - Osaka Report
2013/04/02 - Hiroshima Report
2013/04/01 - Tokyo Report
2013/04/01 - Kyoto Report
2013/03/29 - Tokyo Report
2013/03/28 - Gunma Report
2013/03/28 - Kyoto Report
2013/03/27 - Osaka Report
2013/03/27 - Fukuoka Report
2013/03/26 - Nagoya Report
2013/03/26 - Kamakura Report
2013/03/26 - Okayama Report
2013/03/25 - Tokyo Report
2013/03/24 - Kyoto Report
2013/03/23 - Kagoshima Report
2013/03/22 - Kumamoto Report
2013/03/21 - Tokyo Report
2013/03/21 - Fukuoka Report
2013/03/20 - Kyoto Report
2013/03/17 - Tokyo Report
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Report
2013/02/28 - Kawazu Report