The cherry blossom season in Kyoto kicked off when the opening of the first blossoms (kaika) was reported officially on March 27. Today, I visited some of the popular cherry blossom spots in Kyoto to see how the flowers have progressed. It seems that the warmer weather over the last few days did not seem to accelerate the opening of the blossoms, and the flowers are opening slowly but surely.
The mainstream Somei Yoshino cherry trees in the places I visited today had more flowers open compared to my last trip here, but it was nowhere close to the halfway mark to full bloom. A dip in temperatures is forecast for the next few days, and this might push the best viewing to start after the middle of next week and full bloom to be closer to next weekend. That said, I expect the end of next week to be one of the best and busiest times to view cherry blossoms in Kyoto.
Since the main cherry blossom season started about 10 days ago, almost all the cities from Kyushu all the way to the Kanto Region have reported kaika. Like in Kyoto, the coming week should be one of the best times to enjoy cherry blossom viewing (hanami) parties, especially in cities like Tokyo, Fukuoka and Kochi that have reached full bloom. Our cherry blossom forecast and most recent sakura reports can be seen here.
I started my Kyoto sakura chase at the Philosopherfs Path, near the entrance of Ginkakuji. The path is lined with hundreds of cherry trees and continues on for about two kilometers towards Eikando Temple. Today, I found the cherry trees here to have a lot more closed buds than open flowers. I expect more buds to open over the next few days, and the best viewing to start after the middle of next week and full bloom to be closer to the end of the week.
I continued on to Keage Incline where I also visited two days ago. The last time I was there, there were hardly any blossoms open, and Ifm pleased to report that more have opened since then. However, it will be a few more days before the best viewing period begins and for the cherry trees here to reach full bloom. The best viewing is likely to start in later half of the first week of April.
Maruyama Park is a popular cherry blossom spot in Kyoto and my next stop for the day. There, I found that less than a quarter of the mainstream Somei Yoshino blossoms had opened, but the weeping cherry tree in the middle of the park had progressed nicely since my last visit and is approaching full bloom. Rain and a dip in temperature is forecast for the next few days, and I suspect that this might push the best viewing period to start closer to the end of the week. The park will be illuminated in the evenings until April 7.
My final spot for today was Arashiyama, a popular side trip out of central Kyoto. Cherry trees can be found in the riverside park adjacent to the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge as well as in a small park not far from the Hankyu Arashiyama Station. Like at the rest of the places I visited earlier in the day, less than half of the cherry blossoms were open. I expect more flowers to open over the next few days and the best viewing period to start from the middle of next week.