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

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2011/04/16 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

This is the seventh and final cherry blossom report from Kyoto this year. When Schauwecker made the first report from the city on March 29 he found at most places the flowers of the somei yoshino cherry trees (by far the most common trees) were just about to start opening. When Scott explored the city about a week and a half later on April 9 those trees had already reached full bloom. Today, one week after Scott saw the city at full bloom, I found most places were decidedly beyond the peak and can say that the season in Kyoto will be over for the most part in a few days.

This year the development of the cherry blossoms in Kyoto has followed quite closely to the rule of thumb that it takes about one week after flowers have opened for the trees to reach full bloom, after which they decline for about a week until the season comes to an end. Travelers still have the chance to see late blooming varieties of cherry trees. The omuro cherry trees at Ninnaji Temple hadn't yet begun opening when I visited two days ago. Another good spot is Heian Shrine, which I visited today and has many beautiful weeping cherry trees that are currently still at full bloom.

April 16, 2011 - beyond peak

I began the day at Arashiyama. The trees that run alongside the water on the island in the river had lost the majority of their petals. I suspect this is because they are more exposed to the elements, as the trees in the mountainside still gave pretty strong accents of the cherry blossoms' white and light pink color to the scenery.

Maruyama Park
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak (shidare)
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak (somei yoshino)

Maruyama Park also had flowers that were falling at an accelerated rate, but not to the same extent. This did not stop the park from being popular, as there were many hanami parties taking place across the grounds.

Chionin Temple's Sanmon Gate
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak

Although Chionin Temple is not generally known as a famous cherry blossom spot and was not part of the day's original itinerary, I decided to stop by when I saw that the Sanmon Gate was having a special opening to the public which will run until the end of the month. I though I might be able to get a view of Maruyama Park, which is located just beside, but the view was obstructed by trees. There were a few nice cherry trees around the gate, and also a nice view onto Kyoto's downtown area.

Okazaki Canal
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak

The Okazaki Canal was also losing many of its flowers, but they still had an attractive full appearance in some places. Travelers still can take advantage of the boat rides that travel along the canal.

Keage Incline
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak

The Keage Incline begins at the end of the Okazaki Canal and it has also lost many of its flowers. When I visited two days ago there were some very impressive views, but today there were few blossoms and few people.

Kiyomizudera Temple
April 16, 2011 - beyond peak

Today was the first time this season that I visited Kiyomizudera Temple. The temple's cherry blossoms were still in pretty good condition, making for some attractive views, but the peak has definitely been passed. Nonetheless, as Kiyomizudera is one of the city's most popular attractions in any season, there were large crowds of people on the temple's balconies

Of all the trees on the temple grounds, the most attractive were some of the later blooming weeping varieties (shidare) that can be found near the temple's entrance.

Heian Shrine
April 16, 2011 - full bloom (yaebeni shidare)

While there are only a few shidare trees at Kiyomizudera Temple, they are the main type of tree at the garden of Heian Shrine, making it one of the best places to see flowers in the city at the moment. The shrine also has some somei yoshino trees, some of which are far beyond peak and others which still look pretty close to full bloom. In any case, the reason to visit the shrine is for its spectacular yaebeni shidare trees which are currently at their peak.

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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