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Cherry Blossom Report 2014
Official cherry blossom reports by japan-guide.com

2014 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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2014/03/29 - Kyoto Report
by scott

Arashiyama

After spending the last few days enjoying the beautiful full bloom around Kyushu, it was time to head back to Kyoto to see how their cherry trees have been progressing. It's been four days since my last visit and since then the blossoms have official opened at most sites around the city.

Arashiyama
March 29, 2014 - opening (10-50%)

My first stop this morning was to Arashiyama, a popular sightseeing district in the northwest corner of Kyoto. Arashiyama lies outside of the city center at the base of Kyoto's northern mountains. Consequently, the cherry blossoms around the area tend to open a little later than those around the rest of the city. This was pretty apparent today as roughly half of the trees, especially those that were exposed along the riverbank, still hadn't started blooming yet.

The more sheltered of the trees, like those found in the inner areas of Nakanoshima Island and in the grove on the way to Hankyu Arashiyama Station, are blooming nicely and have reached the 10-15% open mark. With the good weather forecast for the next week, I would expect Arashiyama to reach full bloom around next weekend or earlier. And for all you illumination lovers, note that Nakanoshima Park will be lit up in the evenings from 18:00 to 22:00 until April 13th.

Nakanoshima Park

Some of the best blossoms were on the way to Hankyu Arashiyama Station

Unfortunately this prime hanami spot is roped off.

Weeping cherry tree on Nakanoshima

Close up of the weeping cherry blossoms

Grove on the way to Hankyu Arashiyama Station

Togetsukyo Bridge

An early blooming weeping cherry tree

Philosopher's Path
March 29, 2014 - opening (10-50%)

Next I headed across town to the Philosopher's Path in the northeast corner of the city. As a side note, I wouldn't recommend copying my itinerary from today as the travel between spots will eat up all of your sightseeing time. For example, it took about an hour to cross Kyoto using a combination of train and bus. It's better to group sights into regions, and check out our suggested Kyoto itineraries page if you need help with this.

Anyway, the Philosopher's Path is a two kilometer long, paved trail along a canal that runs between Ginkakuji and Nanzenji Temple. The canal is lined with hundreds of cherry trees which can be enjoyed as you walk along the path. Today their blossoms look like they have only just begun to open, with most trees around 10-20% open. It's supposed to rain this evening, however it will probably have little effect on the flowers. Otherwise, it's just good weather on the horizon so I would predict the trees along the path to reach full bloom around the second half of next week.

Philosopher's path

The blossoms are opening along the path

People enjoying the blossoms along the path

Philosopher's path

Early blooming cherry tree along the Philosopher's path

Kiyomizudera Temple
March 29, 2014 - opening (10-50%)

After one more crosstown jaunt (this time by taxi) I arrived at Kiyomizudera Temple, one of the city's most popular cherry blossom spots. At the peak, it looks like the temple is rising out of a sea of white petals; however, the blossoms were quite sparse today and very few open flowers could be seen around the grounds. I would judge it to be around 10-15% open and would estimate full bloom to be reached before the end of next week.

Kiyomizudera will be lit up in the evenings from 6:30 to 22:00 (entry until 21:20), and costs a separate 400 yen admission. The light up runs until April 13th, although I'd probably wait to go until the blossoms improve. Also note that there is ongoing construction happening around the temple that has a small impact on the views.

Kiyomizudera Temple

The more advanced trees were still opening around the temple grounds

Not many blossoms open especially up around the stage

The blossoms on the tree tops were still closed which is pretty normal at this early stage of development

View from below the stage

Ume (left) and early blooming weeping cherry trees (right)

There were lots of girls dressed in kimono out enjoying the good weather

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Hakodate Report
2014/05/08 - Matsumae Report
2014/05/01 - Hirosaki Report
2014/04/30 - Kakunodate Report
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Report
2014/04/23 - Mt. Fuji Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu Report
2014/04/19 - Matsushima Report
2014/04/17 - Takato Report
2014/04/16 - Sendai Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Report
2014/04/15 - Fukushima Report
2014/04/15 - Mount Fuji Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Report
2014/04/11 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/10 - Yoshino Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/09 - Gunma Report
2014/04/09 - Hikone Report
2014/04/08 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/07 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Report
2014/04/05 - Matsuyama Report
2014/04/04 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/04 - Kamakura Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Report
2014/04/03 - Fukuoka Report
2014/04/03 - Uji Report
2014/04/02 - Tokyo Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Report
2014/04/02 - Kumamoto Report
2014/04/01 - Kyoto Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Report
2014/03/29 - Kyoto Report
2014/03/28 - Kumamoto Report
2014/03/27 - Fukuoka Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Report
2014/03/25 - Kyoto Report