Cherry Blossom Spots

Cherry Blossom Forecast 2015
Kyoto Report - March 31, 2015

Below is a list of some of Kyoto's most popular spots for cherry blossom viewing (hanami), including the typical timing for best viewing in the average year and ratings. See also our nationwide list of famous cherry blossom spots.

Philosopher's Path Early April
Between Ginkakuji and Nanzenji Temples, admission free
The Philosopher's Path is a pleasant path besides a canal that connects Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) with the vicinity of Nanzenji. It is lined by hundreds of cherry trees.

Maruyama Park Early April
Next to Yasaka Shrine, admission free
Illumination 2015: 3/6 to 4/12, until 1:00
Maruyama Park next to Yasaka Shrine is Kyoto's most popular public park for cherry blossom parties. Its centerpiece is a large weeping cherry tree that gets lit up in the evenings. Many food stands and temporarily constructed restaurants with tables under the trees are available.

Arashiyama Early April
Northwest of central Kyoto, admission free
Illumination 2015: 3/23 to 4/14, until 22:00 (Nakanoshima Park)
Arashiyama is a pleasant and busy district in the outskirts of Kyoto. Many cherry trees can be found around the Togetsukyo Bridge at the foot of Arashiyama mountains, especially in the riverside Nakanoshima Park. Another nice hanami spot in the area is Daikakuji Temple whose large pond is surrounded by cherry trees.

Heian Shrine Mid April
Behind the main building, 600 yen, 8:30 to 17:30
Large numbers of weeping cherry trees (yaebeni shidare) stand in the garden of Heian Shrine, behind the shrine's main buildings, making it one of the best spots to see weeping cherry trees in Kyoto. The trees reach full bloom a few days after the other cherry trees, making it an ideal spot for visitors who miss the main season by a few days.

Haradani-en Garden Mid April
Northwest of central Kyoto, 1200 yen on weekdays or 1500 yen on weekends and holidays, 9:00 to 17:00
Haradani-en is another excellent spot to enjoy large numbers of later blooming weeping cherry trees. The pleasant garden is located in the northern outskirts of Kyoto in the hills above Kinkakuji Temple. It is a little bit difficult to reach by public transportation by the infrequent city bus number M1 from Kitaoji Station, Kinkakuji-michi or Ritsumeikan University. Alternatively, many visitors access the garden by taxi.

Okazaki Canal Early April
Outside Heian Shrine, admission free
Boat Cruises 2015: 3/26 to 5/6, 9:30 to 16:30 (until 20:30 from 3/27 to 4/12 with light up)
Located just outside of Heian Shrine, Okazaki Canal connects the Lake Biwa Canal network with Kamo River. It is lined by many cherry trees, and popular boat tours are conducted during the hanami season every 15-30 minutes for 1000 yen per person.

Keage Incline Early April
Adjacent to Okazaki Canal near Nanzenji Temple, admission free
Part of a canal and tunnel system that connects Kyoto with Lake Biwa on the other side of the mountains, the Keage Incline was used until the 1950s to transport boats between Okazaki Canal and the canals at a higher elevation. Today, the gentle slope is lined by about one hundred cherry trees.

Daigoji Temple Early April
15 minute walk from Daigoji Station, 600 yen, 9:00 to 17:00
Daigoji is a temple complex with many cherry trees southeast of central Kyoto, where Hideyoshi held a famous hanami party in the 16th century. Some outstanding weeping cherry trees stand on the grounds of the Reihokan Museum and in front of the Sanboin.

Nijo Castle Late March to mid April
A few steps from Nijojo-mae Station (Tozai Subway Line)
Admission: 600 yen; Hours: 8:45 to 17:00
Illumination 2015: 3/20 to 4/12, 18:00 to 21:30 (entry until 21:00), 400 yen
A wide range of cherry tree varieties on Nijo Castle's spacious grounds result in a long blooming season during most of March and April. Yet, because at any time there are always some trees out of bloom, the overall experience may not be as overwhelming as in hanami spots where all the trees bloom at the same time. There are special illuminations in the evenings.

Kyoto Botanical Garden Early April
A few steps from Kitayama Station (Karasuma Subway Line)
Admission: 200 yen; Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:00)
Illumination 2015: 3/28 to 4/12, until 21:00 (entry until 20:00)
Besides a lot of other flowers, bushes and trees, the Kyoto Botanical Garden contains a beautiful small forest of weeping cherry trees and somei yoshino that is popular for picnics. Furthermore, there stands a majestic weeping cherry tree next to the large lawn area in the center of the garden.

Kiyomizudera Early April
15 minute walk from Kiyomizu-michi bus stop, 300 yen, 6:00 to 18:00
Illumination 2015: 3/28 to 4/12, 18:00 to 21:00, 400 yen
There are quite a few cherry trees planted around the large balcony of Kiyomizudera, but the largest concentration of trees is located around the pond near the exit of the temple grounds.

Ninnaji Early to mid April
A few steps from Omuro Ninnaji Station (Keifuku Kitano Line)
Admission: 500 yen (during the cherry blossom season); Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Ninnaji Temple is well known for its locally cultivated variety of late blooming cherry trees known as Omuro Cherry. The Omuro cherry trees tend to bloom about a week after the mainstream Somei Yoshino. There are several hundred trees of them located on the temple grounds.

Kamogawa Early April
Kitaoji Station (Karasuma Subway Line), admission free
Kamogawa is the river, which runs through central Kyoto. Cherry trees are planted in many places along the river. One of the most pleasant places for cherry blossom viewing and a picnic is in northern Kyoto, where Kitaoji Street crosses the river.

Hirano Shrine Early April
Between Kinkakuji and Kitano Hakubaicho, admission free
Illumination 2015: 3/25 to 4/20, until 21:00
One of Kyoto's most famous hanami spots, Hirano Shrine is also known for the many varieties of cherry trees found on its grounds. In the evenings, the trees are lit up.

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding
Last updated: March 16, 2015
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