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Kyoto: End of Season

End of season at Maruyama Park

Five days after Raina's report from Kyoto, the cherry blossom season in the old capital has entered its final stage with petals having fallen from a majority of cherry trees. However some spots boasting late-blooming variety of cherry trees still offer a chance for visitors arriving after the season's peak.

Today I headed to four popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Kyoto to check on the state of the blossoms.

Maruyama Park

End of Season

My first stop for the day was the popular Maruyama Park. The most numerous Somei Yoshino trees only had a few petals remaining on their branches, and the weeping cherry trees were definitely done for the season. The park is a hot spot for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) during the peak of the season, however today all the tables and mats set out for hanami-goers had been removed.

A weeping cherry tree
Most of its petals had fallen
The trees in the wide hanami area had few blossoms and no hanami-goers
Only a few petals left on Somei Yoshino trees
The end of a season
Some branches still had a few beautiful blossoms
The pond was very pretty in the early morning

Heian Shrine

Past Peak

After Maruyama Park, I headed to Heian Shrine's garden to see the state of its popular weeping cherry trees that bloom a few days later than most other trees in the city. Although a lot of petals had fallen from the cherry trees already, the grounds remained very scenic, especially around the main pond. I expect the trees to remain enjoyable for a couple more days.

A beautiful weeping cherry tree not far from the entrance to the shrine
The entrance to the shrine
Weeping cherry trees (Yaebeni Shidare variety) in the gardens
Beautiful blossoms
Many petals had fallen but the garden remained very picturesque
The main pond was the highlight of the visit
Some blossoms had not fully open yet
Nice view of the pond and the weeping cherry trees
Weeping cherry trees near a rest area

Nijo Castle

Past Peak

My next stop for the day was Nijo Castle, whose grounds boast many different varieties of cherry trees, including some late-blooming ones, making it a good destination for late-season visitors. Some trees were at full bloom, displaying stunning blossoms, whilst others had not fully opened yet. I expect that some of the late-blooming trees will continue to display cherry blossoms for about one or two more weeks.

Karamon Gate
The Sakura Court
Many varieties of cherry trees
Some trees displayed beautiful and strong blossoms
A Gosho-mikurumagaeshi variety of cherry tree
Nice variations of colors
This late-blooming tree was very photogenic
A Kanzan variety of sakura, not fully opened
A beautiful weeping cherry tree at the end of the stroll


Full Bloom

My last stop for the day was Ninnaji Temple, popular for its 200 late-blooming trees of the local Omuro variety. At the entrance, I was happy to see a sign explaining that the sakura were at their peak. The blossoms there were strong and beautiful, making this spot the highlight of my sakura reporting day. The blossoms here should remain at their peak for another two days before petals start falling, making Ninnaji probably the best cherry blossom destinations for visitors who are in Kyoto at this time of the season.

To celebrate the start of the new Japanese calendar period next month (named Reiwa Period), the temple had installed a temporary observation deck for this sakura season, allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty of the blossoms from another angle.

The approach to the temple
The first cherry tree encountered in the temple grounds
Many visitors today to see the Omuro variety of sakura at its peak
A tunnel of blossoms
Some blossoms were open and strong...
...whilst some were not fully opened yet
One of the best cherry blossom spots for late season visitors
The temporary observation platform
View from the platform
Visitors enjoying a rest on the temple grounds, with the pagoda in the background. The pagoda was damaged by a typhoon last year, and repair works are planned to be finished by summer this year.