Francois' Japan Blog
by Francois, staff writer of

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2009/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Kyoto Imperial Park
April 4, 2009 - approaching full bloom (50-80%)

Kyoto Imperial Park is a large park built around Kyoto Imperial Palace. While entry into the inner grounds of the palace is only possible on guided tours and with advance reservation, the spacious park surrounding the palace is open to the public and has a variety of cherry tree varieties, including Somei Yoshino, Yamazakura and weeping cherry trees (shidarezakura).

The cherry trees at the Kyoto Imperial Park are currently at about 60% bloom. The park's Yamazakura are quite advanced, as are the weeping cherry trees. Some of the weeping cherry trees in the park's north have even already passed their flowering peak.

Kyoto Imperial Park
Blossoms in Kyoto Imperial Park
A weeping cherry tree in the park's north

Maruyama Park
April 4, 2009 - opening (10-50%)

One of Kyoto's most famous spots for viewing cherry blossoms, Maruyama Park has hundreds of cherry trees and one particularly famous weeping cherry tree (shidare-zakura). Many vendors sell food along the paths in the park, and there are always many cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami) taking place. Today, because of the rain, it was not as busy as usual.

The flowers at Maruyama Park are still not very advanced. Trees generally have only about 50% of their flowers opened. The park's famous shidare, however, is nearing full bloom, and makes for one of the highlights in the area with so many flowers still closed.

Maruyama Park
Raindrops collect on cherry blossoms
Women in kimono admire Maruyama Park's famous weeping cherry tree

Heian Shrine
April 4, 2009 - opening (10-50%)

The garden of Heian Shrine is located behind the shrine's main buildings and costs 600 yen admission. It is one of the best spots in Kyoto to see a large number of weeping cherry trees, with trees placed along ponds and bridges to give beautiful views.

Most weeping cherry trees in the garden are of the beni-shidare variety with dark pink blossoms that each consist of about 15 to 25 petals. Only approximately 20% of their blossoms have opened so far. A smaller number of weeping cherry trees with paler, 5-petaled blossoms are also found in the garden. They are more progressed than the beni-shidare trees.

Weeping cherry trees (shidare-zakura)
One of the more progressed trees with 5-petaled blossoms
Cherry trees along a pond

Okazaki Canal and Keage Incline
April 4, 2009 - opening (10-50%)

Hundreds of cherry trees line Okazaki Canal near Heian Shrine and Keage Incline, a slope for transporting boats between canals. Boat rides can be taken along the canal, which depart from about where the canal and incline meet.

The blossoms of the cherry trees that line the Okazaki Canal and the Keage Incline are only about 40% open. The blossoms that are found along the incline are substantially more advanced than those along the canal, where in some stretches the trees have only just opened.

Cherry trees along the Okazaki Canal
Blossoms at the Keage Incline

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List of Posts:
2011/09/01 - Final Post
2011/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2011/05/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2011/04/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Aizu
2011/04/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2011/04/16 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2011/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2011/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2011/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2011/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2011/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2011/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/02/11 - Shiretoko Fantasia 2011
2011/02/11 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by night
2011/02/10 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by day
2011/02/09 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by night
2011/02/08 - Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi 2011
2011/02/07 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by day

2010/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2010
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/24 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2010/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2010/10/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2010/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kirishima
2010/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2010/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2010/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2010/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagasaki
2010/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2010/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2010/01/23 - Wakakusa Yamayaki

2009/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2009
2009/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Light Up
2009/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Nara
2009/11/22 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Ohara
2009/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Higashiyama
2009/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Kurama
2009/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Hakone
2009/10/07 - Autumn Color Report: Hachimantai
2009/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Akita-Komagatake
2009/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kamikochi
2009/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2009/06/18 - Biking the Shimanami Kaido
2009/06/01 - Gunkanjima
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2009/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2009/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nara
2009/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/01/19 - Bears in Hokkaido

2008/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kamakura
2008/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Lake Akan
2008/08/18 - Miyajima Trip
2008/06/09 - Post Towns
2008/05/08 - Baseball Game
2008/04/14 - ASIMO and Aoyama Cemetery
2008/04/08 - Ninja Restaurant