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

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2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report

Blossoms in the rain at Arashiyama

The last time I was here in Kyoto, it was full bloom and everywhere was just a sea of whitish pink cherry blossoms. Now, four days after full bloom was announced officially in Kyoto, I head back to find that the petals were now falling, partly also because of the rain and winds from the past two days. From a zero wedding photo-shoot tally in Hiroshima, I came back to Kyoto and saw five.

With the slightly cooler temperatures the past three days, it's perfect for 'preserving' the flowers at their current state. However, the weather is forecast to become warmer from tomorrow so I would recommend coming to see the cherry blossoms in the next few days before more petals fall and the trees gain more new leaves.

Over in Tokyo, Scott reported two days ago that the petals were starting to fall as well, one week after full bloom was officially announced. Now would be the perfect time to see petal blizzards (hanafubuki).

Arashiyama
April 6, 2014 - petals starting to fall

My first stop for today was Arashiyama. The skies were overcast when I arrived and it didn't take long before it started raining. Almost everyone who was there seemed well prepared with umbrellas and rain jackets. The main street near Arashiyama Park was littered with pink petals and crowded with many visitors.

Weeping cherry tree
Close up of the weeping cherry blossoms

The weeping cherry trees were in full bloom and they were the stars now that the Somei Yoshino variety were starting to lose their petals. A few cherry trees in Arashiyama were a little worse off than most as they had more petals blown off in the bad weather.

A short walk away from the JR Saga Arashiyama Station is the Sagano Scenic Railway. It offers views of the cherry trees planted near the train tracks. Tickets cost 620 yen one way. There are only four stops on this line and takes 25 minutes from one end to the other. The line is closed every Wednesdays, so make sure not to go then.

One of the family album

Maruyama Park
April 6, 2014 - petals starting to fall

Heading back into Kyoto city, I headed to Maruyama Park. As Sean mentioned in his Kyoto report, Maruyama Park is one of the more popular spots for cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami). There were many people there by the time I arrived and they continued their parties even under the slight drizzle. With today's low temperatures, the flowers should hold on for a couple more days.

Cherry blossom viewing parties in Maruyama Park
State of the blossoms at Maruyama Park
Huge weeping cherry tree that got everyone's attention
Somei Yoshino blossoms against a cherry blossom viewing party
This party brought an umbrella tripod stand

Keage Incline
April 6, 2014 - petals starting to fall

By the time I arrived at Keage Incline, I could see the beautiful cherry blossoms clearly as the rain had gone. I saw some people sitting by the side having a slow lunch, and others sitting on the tracks trying to catch petals that were falling. There also seemed to be more blossoms left on the trees here compared to Maruyama Park. There were many cherry trees along the whole length of the tracks, but I felt that the best section to view the blossoms were towards the top of the tracks.

Lots of people at Keage Incline
Cherry blossoms doing well at Keage Incline
Wedding photo-shoot in action
Kimono clad girls and cherry blossoms
Look who I found at the end of the incline, near Okazaki canal (I actually have no idea who they are)

Okazaki Canal
April 6, 2014 - petals starting to fall

The path from Keage Incline continues downwards to Okazaki Canal. Two different varieties of cherry trees were planted along the sides of the canal, one variety on each side. I found it easier to see the different varieties when they are grouped together. I also saw the boat rides along the canal that seemed popular with visitors.

Evening illuminations are going on at Okazaki Canal until April 13, from 18:00 to 21:30. Visitors can also tour the canal in small boats. Daytime boat rides are available till May 6 from 9:30 to 16:30. Night-time rides are available till 20:30 every evening for as long as the illuminations last.

The red bridge leading to Heian Shrine, canal boat ride and cherry blossom trees along the bank
Blossoms basking in the sun

Heian Shrine
April 6, 2014 - full bloom (Weeping Cherry Trees)

My last stop of the day was Heian Shrine, a stone's throw away from Okazaki Canal. I headed to the garden behind the shrine and was wow-ed (as was everyone else) by all the beautiful weeping cherry trees in full bloom. There were bottlenecks along the route in the garden as everyone was stopping to take pictures of blossoms in their glory. The garden behind the shrine was unexpectedly big and there were many weeping cherry trees planted all over the garden. Entry into the garden costs 600 yen.

One of the many weeping cherry trees in the garden at Heian Shrine
State of the weeping cherry blossoms
Blossoms against part of Heian Shrine
Heian Shrine
These fortune slip 'petals' will never fall nor wither

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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