It has been five days since full bloom was reported in Kyoto, and today, I headed back to the old capital to see how the cherry blossoms were holding up. Yesterday's all-day rain did not do as much damage as I had feared, but nonetheless, the best viewing period is drawing to an end. Judging from the remaining cherry blossoms on the trees, I expect today and possibly tomorrow to be the last chance to see the mainstream Somei Yoshino blossoms at the end of their best. Nice sunny weather is forecast till Saturday while rain is predicted for Sunday, and I foresee the main season to be largely over after the coming weekend.
Today, I visited some popular cherry blossom spots in Kyoto, including a couple of spots that feature late-flowering cherry tree varieties. The late-flowering varieties were at a range from still opening to just reaching their best. I expect the best viewing period of these cherry blossoms to continue through early next week.
I started my day at Arashiyama where I found the petals falling. There were still more than half of the blossoms on the trees than on the ground, but I expect the best viewing to hang on until tomorrow at the best. The best places to see cherry blossoms at Arashiyama is around the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge, in the riverside Nakanoshima Park near the bridge and in the park not far from the Hankyu Arashiyama Station.
Ninnaji Temple is home to about 200 late-flowering cherry trees of the Omuro variety that have supposedly been cultivated at the temple since the early feudal period. As a result, the temple is a popular cherry blossom spot to visit later in the main season . This morning I found less than a quarter of the flowers open when I was there, but many looked like they only needed a day or two before they all bloom. I expect the best viewing at Ninnaji Temple to start from the coming weekend and continue through early next week. Opening hours during the sakura season from 8:30-17:30.
Hirano Shrine is a popular cherry blossom spot in Kyoto. During the sakura season, the shrine grounds typically host a number of festival stalls that offer food, drink and views of the cherry blossoms. The stalls are scheduled to remain open until April 20, 2019. I found the mainstream Somei Yoshino trees at Hirano Shrine to have lost a fair number of petals and expect the best viewing to be over by the end of today or tomorrow at a stretch. The few weeping cherry trees at the shrine were at full bloom and I expect their best viewing to continue through the coming weekend. Due to damages suffered during Typhoon 21, which hit the Kansai Region particularly hard, an admission fee of 500 yen is required to enter the main cherry tree garden, and the proceeds go to rebuilding and restoration works.
My final stop for the day was Haradani-en Garden where the showstoppers were the 240 weeping cherry trees. I found them to be at full bloom, and it was quite a sight to enter the garden and be greeted by pink upon pink blossoms swaying in the wind. I expect the flowers to remain at their best viewing through the coming weekend and into next week, and suspect that the forecast rain on Sunday may potentially shorten the season a little. Entry to the garden is typically free, but an entry fee (price varies depending on the state of the flowers) is charged during the cherry blossom season.