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

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2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report

Cherry trees and the five-storied pagoda at Ninnaji

For my last report from the Kansai Region, I headed back to Kyoto today. Sean was at the Fuji Five Lakes region today, while Scott was in Fukushima. Head over here to read their reports.

As for the Kansai Region, the weather is looking to be good for the next few days. For those who are in the area over the next few days and are chasing cherry blossoms, there are a few options available. In Osaka, the late blooming cherry trees at Osaka Mint, where I went two days ago. In Nara, Yoshinoyama (especially the Naka and Kami Senbon areas) where I was yesterday. In Kyoto, Ninnaji Temple, Hirano Shrine and Heian Shrine.

Arashiyama
March 21, 2013 - end of season

It felt a little strange being in Arashiyama and not seeing crowds of visitors. Arashiyama felt a little wider and bigger than I remembered because of all the open space around me. Even with the cherry blossom season over, Arashiyama is still a beautiful place to stroll around and there're still lots to see.

Arashiyama looking a tad empty and with almost no blossoms left
No more blossoms at Arashiyama
Togetsu Bridge

Ninnaji Temple
March 21, 2013 - petals starting to fall

From Arashiyama, I took the Keifuku Electric Railroad from Arashiyama Station to Omuro-Ninnaji Station. Ninnaji is famous for the Omuro Cherry Trees that bloom later than the Somei Yoshino variety. That's where I found my crowds of people in Kyoto. The petals have just started to fall but there are still many blossoms on the trees to look like it's still at full bloom. I left just as the temple was getting crowded with more visitors arriving by bus and train. I expect the cherry trees at Ninnaji to remain at this beautiful state for at least the next few days.

Omuro Cherry Trees at full bloom at Ninnaji
Hello cherry blossom
Down, down, down the cherry blossom tunnel
During the cherry blossom season, there are two ticket gates at the temple. One is for entry to the temple garden, the other (which is further down) is for entry to the cherry tree garden. The cherry tree garden is open from 09:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30) and entrance to the cherry tree garden costs 500 yen.
I took this picture of Ninnaji temple from Omuro-Ninnaji Station
National Treasure, Kon-do

Hirano Shrine
March 21, 2013 - end of season (Somei Yoshino)
March 21, 2013 - approaching full bloom (50-80%) (late blooming varieties)

I hopped back on the Keifuku Electric Railroad and headed to the terminal stop, Kitano Hakubaicho Station. Hirano Shrine is just a short walk away from the station and that was where I headed. It was the end of season for the Somei Yoshino variety. Some cherry trees at Hirano Shrine had petals starting to fall, however most of the late blooming cherry trees were only approaching full bloom. There was also what looked like an art installation by the nearby elementary school's children in the cherry tree garden at Hirano Shrine.

The season is over for the Somei Yoshino Variety
Late blooming cherry tree, Hirano Imose variety
Some petals ended up in the water
There are many different cherry tree varieties here in Hirano Shrine. The late blooming cherry trees were at 50-80% bloom in area near the shrine. With good weather forecast for the next few days, these later blooming cherry trees are expected to reach full bloom soon. I also saw a Tachibana fruit tree in front of the shrine, definitely something different after seeing so many flowers.
Inari shrine
There're about 10 varieties of cherry trees here
Tachibana fruit tree

Heian Shrine
March 21, 2013 - petals starting to fall (Weeping cherry trees)
March 21, 2013 - approaching full bloom (50-80%) (late blooming varieties)

My last stop for today was Heian Shrine. The garden is open from 08:30 till 17:30, and entrance costs 600 yen. The garden never fails to surprise me with its size as it doesn't look like a big garden from the outside. Each time I think I'm about to reach the exit, it opens up to another part of the garden. It seemed to me that the weeping cherry tree blossoms lost their pinkness and became whiter. Even so, they were still beautiful to see, albeit with petals falling. There were also some later blooming cherry trees that are 50-80% in bloom that are located near the bridge towards the exit. Their colors were more vibrant compared to the weeping cherry trees and with the good weather forecast, they are expected to reach full bloom within the next few days.

Greeted by weeping cherry trees at the entrance to the garden
The weeping cherry blossoms had petals falling, but still beautiful
Weeping cherry tree support beams
There are three different cherry tree varieties in this picture
Part of the garden with more late blooming cherry trees

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List of Posts:
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