Francois' Japan Blog
by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2011/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Despite the official opening of the cherry blossoms taking place one week ago, the flowers of Kyoto's somei yoshino are still not far along in their development. However, with clear skies and warm weather predicted for the next three days, the flowers should be opening quite quickly and may start approaching full bloom within that time period. At the moment the most attractive cherry trees are certain early blooming weeping varieties (shidarezakura) that are scattered around Kyoto's cherry blossom spots.

This is our third cherry blossom report from Kyoto this season, with Schauwecker first visiting on March 29 (the day after the official opening of the flowers) and Scott reporting a few days later on April 1. We will be continuing our reporting from the city through this week and next.

Arashiyama
April 4, 2011 - opening (10-50%) (somei yoshino)

Arashiyama is still at an early stage of the cherry blossoms season, with about 20-30% of the flowers open on average. The trees that line the riverside in particular have very few flowers. There are however quite a few trees that are further advanced, such as some of those that can be seen in the mountainside behind the river.

Some nice color can be seen in the mountains behind the river
The trees that line the riverside are still quite bare
With the good weather, many buds are on the verge of opening

There is a cherry tree grove close to the Hankyu Arashiyama Station that was quite a bit further developed, and even had some hanami parties taking place. The trees that are not just beside the river are quite a bit more advanced. There was one tree near the station that was at full bloom, and had attracted many photographers.

A hanami party in a cherry tree grove near the Hankyu station
The trees not beside the river have much more flowers
A cherry tree at full bloom

When Schauweceker visited the area seven days ago he checked on the state of one of Arashiyama Park's most prominent weeping cherry trees. Located on the middle of the island, the tree opens a few days earlier than the somei yoshino. Today the tree had quite a lot of flowers, but the best trees that I saw were the shidarezakura in the garden of the nearby Tenryuji Temple. Visitors to Arashiyama in the next few days who are looking for cherry blossoms should give the temple a visit.

The shidarezakura in Arashiyama Park
Weeping cherry trees at Tenryuji Temple
The cascading branches looked magnificent alongside the temple buildings

Kyoto Botanical Garden
April 4, 2011 - opening (10-50%) (somei yoshino)
April 4, 2011 - full bloom (shidarezakura)

The Kyoto Botanical Garden has a wide variety of plants, including a variety of cherry trees which obviously become a popular attraction in early spring. The somei yoshino were at a very early stage of development, with only about 10-20% of the blossoms open on average. However, there was a wide variety of cherry trees, so different trees will have different periods for full bloom over the next couple of weeks.

Once again, the most spectacular tree at the garden was a giant weeping cherry tree that is currently at full bloom. As an interesting side note, the tree happens to be genetically related to the famous weeping cherry tree at the center of Maruyama Park.

A variety of cherry trees at the garden, most of which have few opened flowers
Branches of a somei yoshino tree
The garden's most impressive tree, currently at full bloom

Kyoto Imperial Park
April 4, 2011 - just opened (0-10%) (dark pink yae-shidarezakura)
April 4, 2011 - full bloom (light pink shidarezakura)

The massive park of the Kyoto Imperial Palace has a particularly dense collection of weeping cherry trees in its northwest corner. Because the weeping cherry trees are currently at such an attractive state of development, I headed to the park for my last cherry blossom spot of the day.

Since Schauwecker visited last week, the light pink variety of tree has reached full bloom. There is also another later blooming variety of weeping cherry tree that has dark pink petals whose flowers have many more petals. The flowers of these dark pink yae-shidarezakura trees are just opening.

The two weeping cherry varieties side by side
Just opened branched of the dark pink yae-shidarezakura
The flowers of the light pink shidarezakura at full bloom

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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