Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report

A pagoda with some cherry blossoms

After being in Tokyo and Nagoya the past two days, it is finally my turn to visit Kyoto after Sean and Scott. You can read their Kyoto reports from April 1, here and from March 29, here.

With the continuing warm weather, many cities across Japan are reaching full bloom (mankai) status. The flowers in Tokyo are still at their peak according to Scott's report yesterday. Over in the Kansai region, the cherry trees in Kyoto and Osaka are officially in full bloom as of yesterday.

The temples and narrow streets in Kyoto make for a very pretty backdrop, and especially more so during the cherry blossom season. It seems to be a popular thing to do as half the couples were not Japanese. Today's tally for wedding photo-shoots in Kyoto was eight.

Kiyomizudera
April 03, 2014 - full bloom(Somei Yoshino)
March 21, 2013 - just opened (0-10%)(Yaebeni Weeping Cherry Blossoms)

My first stop for today is one of Kyoto's most popular cherry blossom spots, Kiyomizudera Temple. It is always crowded with visitors, and even more so during the cherry blossom season. I went early in hopes of avoiding the crowds and was somewhat successful.

Weeping cherry tree and the niomon gate
Close up of the weeping cherry buds

The cherry trees in Kiyomizudera Temple are at full bloom and are expected to remain at their peak for a few more days. There is also a big weeping cherry tree at the entrance of Kiyomizudera Temple that just opened. The best views of the cherry blossoms at Kiyomizudera Temple are around the pond near the exit of the temple. Although there is rain forecast for tonight and tomorrow, it should not have too much of an impact on the current state of the flowers.

The last time Scott took a similar picture, these flowers were just buds
The hordes of visitors arriving just as I leave
Close up of the Somei Yoshino variety

Kiyomizudera Temple will be lit in the evenings from 6:30 to 22:00 (entry until 21:20) until April 13, and costs a separate 400 yen admission. Also note that there is ongoing construction happening around the temple that has a small impact on the views.

Philosopher's Path
April 03, 2014 - full bloom

After beating the crowds at Kiyomizudera Temple, I headed northeast towards the Philosopher's Path. Philosopher's Path (tetsugaku-no-michi) is a cherry tree lined pedestrian path between Ginkakuji and Nanzenji Temple. It is also one of the top 100 paths in Japan. I tried looking for the sign, set in stone, that confirms it, to no avail.

Good day for a date in Kyoto
Cherry blossoms over the river
Western-style wedding clothes

It was beautiful to walk under the cherry trees on the Philosopher's Path. The path is well paved and has no slopes, making for an easy stroll from one end to the other. With the cherry trees in full bloom, and the agreeable weather, I expect the flowers to remain at their peak for a few more days.

More flowers in bloom
The path was sheltered by the open flowers

Kamogawa Riverside
April 03, 2014 - full bloom(Somei Yoshino)
April 03, 2014 - opening 10-50%(Weeping Cherry Blossoms)

I hopped on the bus and headed north towards Kamagawa. Kamagawa runs from northern Kyoto, the same long and wide river that flows through Kyoto city. Today, I headed to the part of Kamagawa that is near Kyoto Botanical Garden, where Kitaoji Street crosses the river.

Weeping cherry trees on one side of Kamogawa
A close up of the flowers

There are lots of weeping cherry trees on one side of the riverbank that are opening. On the other side were Somei Yoshino trees that were already in full bloom. I saw many people picnicking, cycling and strolling along the riverbanks.

Somei Yoshino trees on the other side

Kyoto Botanical Garden
April 03, 2014 - full bloom(Somei Yoshino)
April 03, 2014 - opening 10-50%(Weeping Cherry Blossoms)

Kyoto Botanical Garden is 8 kilometers north of Kyoto Station, or a 20 minute train ride on the Karasuma Subway Line. It was my last and favorite stop for today. It costs 200 yen to enter the garden, or if you are over 70, entry is free. The cherry tree area is also lit from sundown till 21:00 (last entry at 20:00) until April 13.

Having a great time at the garden
Dark pink cherry blossoms on white cherry blossoms

There is a cherry tree grove with a mixed variety of cherry trees. The later blooming weeping cherry trees are at 10-50% and the Somei Yoshino are at full bloom. Needless to say, Kyoto Botanical Garden was also crowded with visitors enjoying the flowers in bloom. In addition to cherry trees, the garden also has tulips, hyacinths and narcissus. There is also a begonia exhibition (additional fees apply) running until April 13.

The cherry cultivars area
Hyacinths growing in the garden
If you fancy eating in a garden, come to the cafe in Kyoto Botanical Garden
Japanese-style wedding clothes

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List of Posts:
2019/10/23 - 46th Tokyo Motor Show
2019/03/20 - Moominvalley Park opens near Tokyo
2018/12/31 - 2018 Travel Highlights
2018/10/25 - Business as usual at Tsukiji Outer Market
2018/08/19 - Hello Kitty Shinkansen
2018/05/16 - Cruising Tokyo's waterways
2018/04/17 - Wisteria blossoms in Ashikaga Flower Park
2018/01/18 - Shinanomachi, the Backcountry of Nagano

2017/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2017
2017/10/25 - The 45th Tokyo Motor Show
2017/10/11 - Dipping into the three onsen towns of Yamanaka, Yamashiro and Katayamazu
2017/07/24 - Remote Riches in Toyama
2017/07/03 - Spiritual Chichibu
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report