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

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2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report

Moving away from Kyushu, I'll be continuing to bring you the latest updates from the Kansai Region this week. Scott was in Tokyo, and according to his report from yesterday, the cherry blossoms are well at their peak (mankai) there and should stay at their best for the next few days. Other cities that have reached mankai status as of today include Yokohama, Nara, Nagasaki and Kumamoto, while Fukui and Kanazawa along the Sea of Japan, saw the opening of their first blossoms (kaika) today.

Kyoto on the other hand had the opening on the first blossoms (kaika) on March 27, four days ago, and is expected to reach mankai this week thanks to the recent warm weather. Cherry blossoms take about a week on average to develop from kaika to full bloom (mankai), and will usually last for another week at mankai before the petals start to fall. Note that how long the blossoms stay at their peak is largely dependent on the weather conditions with strong winds and rain shortening the peak viewing period.

March 31, 2015 - opening (10-50%)

My first stop for today was Arashiyama where the cherry trees near Katsuragawa River had at slightly more flower buds than open blossoms when I was there this morning. However, I expect more buds to have opened by the end of today thanks to the warm (almost summer temperature) and sunny weather. Some trees in the area are more developed than others and were beautiful to see, but it would be another few more days of warm weather before the cherry trees at Arashiyama reach their peak. I also saw a handful of tourists there early and taking advantage of space around the blossoms before the shops were open and more people arrived.

March 31, 2015 - approaching full bloom (50-80%)

My next stop for the day was the popular Kiyomizudera, where everyone seemed to be. The cherry trees there not yet at their peak but it would not be long before they reach full bloom. The weeping cherry trees along the northern side of the temple were also progressing well and are in their early stages of bloom. The temple is lit in the evenings from 18:00 to 21:00 until April 12. Entrance in the daytime ends at 17:30 and evening entrance starts from 18:00 and costs 400 yen, slightly more than the regular entrance fees.

Maruyama Koen
March 31, 2015 - approaching full bloom (50-80%)

A short stroll from Kiyomizudera down Ninenzaka past Kodaiji Temple is Maruyama Park, and the large weeping cherry tree on its grounds was at full bloom when I was there. The cherry trees there were on their way to reaching their peak and it was a pleasure to stroll in the park. While large blue picnic mats may be ubiquitous with the cherry blossom season, they are banned at Maruyama Park. Instead, smaller straw mats are laid out on the grounds and I saw many visitors sitting on the straw mats spread out in the different areas enjoying the warm weather and relaxing. The large weeping cherry tree is illuminated from sunset to 1:00 in the morning everyday until April 12, while little lamps light the park from sunset to 23:00 until April 5.

Nijo Castle
March 31, 2015 - approaching full bloom (50-80%)

My final stop for today was Nijo Castle, which was used as the official Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate before becoming the property of the Imperial family in 1867. The property is huge with gardens surrounding the palace buildings. The main entrance into the castle is currently under construction and will be until spring 2017, but it does not affect nor disrupt the viewing of the palace itself or the view of the flowers. The cherry trees along the southern end of the castle are almost at their peak and I joined the other visitors in capturing the open blossoms. The weeping cherry trees on the western and northern ends of the castle were just opened with mostly flower buds and only a handful of blossoms per tree. The evening light up of the gardens on the castle grounds is from 18:00 to 21:30 (entry until 21:00), costs 400 yen and will run till April 12.

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List of Posts:
2024/02/05 - teamLab Borderless newly opened in central Tokyo
2023/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2023
2023/11/20 - Japan's new tallest building opens in Tokyo
2023/10/25 - Japan Mobility Show 2023
2023/10/02 - Toranomon Hills completed in central Tokyo
2023/06/14 - Harry Potter Studio Tour Tokyo Opens June 16, 2023
2023/03/02 - Haruka airport trains to stop at Osaka Station from March 18
2021/05/05 - Suggested 5-day itinerary for the Kansai Wide Area Pass
2020/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2020
2020/06/26 - Ariake Garden, a newly opened shopping complex in Tokyo
2020/06/26 - New shopping complex With Harajuku opens in Harajuku
2020/06/26 - Tokyo Mizumachi, a new pedestrian route near Asakusa
2020/06/25 - Travel restarting: Tokyo
2019/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2019
2019/12/03 - Shopping at Shibuya Fukuras and Parco
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