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Kyoto: Petals Starting To Fall

Full bloom at Haradani-en Garden

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.

Arashiyama

Petals Starting To Fall

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.

Make a ring of sakura petals to protect the seats
Cherry trees near the station
State of the blossoms
Cherry trees in Nakanoshima Park with Togetsukyo in the background
Pokey things in the sky
Bridal photography in the morning
When will my reflection show who I am inside

Ninnaji Temple

Blossoms Opening

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.

An entry fee is required to enter the temple grounds
One way path through the Omuro cherry tree grove
Not many blossoms open when I was there this morning
But many of them looked like they were about to open
This would've been a great sakura tunnel
More open blossoms here
There were other flowers on the temple grounds too. The pagoda was affected by Typhoon 21 which hit last year and repair works are scheduled to be over by summer this year
There's a new temporary observation deck built to see the Omura cherry trees from above this year

Hirano Shrine

Petals Starting To Fall

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.

Near the main entrance of the shrine
State of the blossoms
Inside the paid area
Best viewing will not last much longer here
Weeping cherry blossoms doing well though
Petal strewn ground
Cherry trees everywhere in the free area
Walking through the festival stall gauntlet

Haradanien Garden

Full Bloom

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.

First view of the garden from the east entrance
State of the blossoms
Other flowers in the garden too
Bloomz everywhere
It wasn't all cherry blossoms
Teahouses and bento places
Take away shops and outdoor seating was a big hit today
Wat dis sakura wonderland
So many bloomz