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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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2014/04/06 - Kyoto Report
by raina

Blossoms in the rain at Arashiyama

The last time I was here in Kyoto, it was full bloom and everywhere was just a sea of whitish pink cherry blossoms. Now, four days after full bloom was announced officially in Kyoto, I head back to find that the petals were now falling, partly also because of the rain and winds from the past two days. From a zero wedding photo-shoot tally in Hiroshima, I came back to Kyoto and saw five.

With the slightly cooler temperatures the past three days, it's perfect for 'preserving' the flowers at their current state. However, the weather is forecast to become warmer from tomorrow so I would recommend coming to see the cherry blossoms in the next few days before more petals fall and the trees gain more new leaves.

Over in Tokyo, Scott reported two days ago that the petals were starting to fall as well, one week after full bloom was officially announced. Now would be the perfect time to see petal blizzards (hanafubuki).

Arashiyama
April 6, 2014 - petals starting to fall

My first stop for today was Arashiyama. The skies were overcast when I arrived and it didn't take long before it started raining. Almost everyone who was there seemed well prepared with umbrellas and rain jackets. The main street near Arashiyama Park was littered with pink petals and crowded with many visitors.

Weeping cherry tree

Close up of the weeping cherry blossoms

The weeping cherry trees were in full bloom and they were the stars now that the Somei Yoshino variety were starting to lose their petals. A few cherry trees in Arashiyama were a little worse off than most as they had more petals blown off in the bad weather.

A short walk away from the JR Saga Arashiyama Station is the Sagano Scenic Railway. It offers views of the cherry trees planted near the train tracks. Tickets cost 620 yen one way. There are only four stops on this line and takes 25 minutes from one end to the other. The line is usually closed every Wednesdays, but during the cherry blossom season (through April 9) trains run everyday.

One of the family album

Maruyama Park
April 6, 2014 - petals starting to fall

Heading back into Kyoto city, I headed to Maruyama Park. As Sean mentioned in his Kyoto report, Maruyama Park is one of the more popular spots for cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami). There were many people there by the time I arrived and they continued their parties even under the slight drizzle. With today's low temperatures, the flowers should hold on for a couple more days.

Cherry blossom viewing parties in Maruyama Park

State of the blossoms at Maruyama Park

Huge weeping cherry tree that got everyone's attention

Somei Yoshino blossoms against a cherry blossom viewing party

This party brought an umbrella tripod stand

Keage Incline
April 6, 2014 - petals starting to fall

By the time I arrived at Keage Incline, I could see the beautiful cherry blossoms clearly as the rain had gone. I saw some people sitting by the side having a slow lunch, and others sitting on the tracks trying to catch petals that were falling. There also seemed to be more blossoms left on the trees here compared to Maruyama Park. There were many cherry trees along the whole length of the tracks, but I felt that the best section to view the blossoms were towards the top of the tracks.

Lots of people at Keage Incline

Cherry blossoms doing well at Keage Incline

Wedding photo-shoot in action

Kimono clad girls and cherry blossoms

Look who I found at the end of the incline, near Okazaki canal (I actually have no idea who they are)

Okazaki Canal
April 6, 2014 - petals starting to fall

The path from Keage Incline continues downwards to Okazaki Canal. Two different varieties of cherry trees were planted along the sides of the canal, one variety on each side. I found it easier to see the different varieties when they are grouped together. I also saw the boat rides along the canal that seemed popular with visitors.

Evening illuminations are going on at Okazaki Canal until April 13, from 18:00 to 21:30. Visitors can also tour the canal in small boats. Daytime boat rides are available till May 6 from 9:30 to 16:30. Night-time rides are available till 20:30 every evening for as long as the illuminations last.

The red bridge leading to Heian Shrine, canal boat ride and cherry blossom trees along the bank

Blossoms basking in the sun

Heian Shrine
April 6, 2014 - full bloom (Weeping Cherry Trees)

My last stop of the day was Heian Shrine, a stone's throw away from Okazaki Canal. I headed to the garden behind the shrine and was wow-ed (as was everyone else) by all the beautiful weeping cherry trees in full bloom. There were bottlenecks along the route in the garden as everyone was stopping to take pictures of blossoms in their glory. The garden behind the shrine was unexpectedly big and there were many weeping cherry trees planted all over the garden. Entry into the garden costs 600 yen.

One of the many weeping cherry trees in the garden at Heian Shrine

State of the weeping cherry blossoms

Blossoms against part of Heian Shrine

Heian Shrine

These fortune slip 'petals' will never fall nor wither

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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