Four days into April, the best viewing of the main cherry blossom season in most cities has passed and the cherry blossom front line has moved towards the northeastern region of Japan. Those who want to see the cherry blossoms now should consider going to places in higher elevation like Kawaguchiko in the Fuji Five Lakes area or cities in the Tohoku Region like Yamagata, Morioka and Akita where the opening of the first blossoms were reported on March 31, April 3 and 4 respectively. Alternatively, the late flowering cherry trees are in season now and provide some options for those who have missed the main sakura rush.

Today I visited Kyoto, five days after my last report from the old capital, and found that the most common Somei Yoshino cherry trees were past their peak. Most of the cherry trees were sporting more empty branches than blossom filled ones. However, the late flowering cherry trees were at their peak, and I expect the best viewing of those cherry blossoms to continue through to this Friday at the least.

Kiyomizudera Temple

Past Peak

I made an early morning visit to Kiyomizudera where I found the most common Somei Yoshino cherry trees to be past their best. There were few blossoms left on the trees, and it is only a matter of days before the season is completely over.

Heian Shrine

Full Bloom

Heian Shrine's paid garden is known for its weeping cherry trees, and I found them to be at full bloom today. I expect the best viewing period of the weeping cherry trees to continue through to Friday at the least. Heavy rain is forecast on Friday, which is likely to shorten the best viewing period. After a hiatus of three years due to the coronavirus, the Benishidare Concert, in which visitors can enjoy music and the garden illumination from 18:00 to 21:00 from April 5-9, will be held. Benishidare Concert tickets are sold for 3500 yen at the door (2500 yen if purchased in advance).

Ninnaji Temple

Full Bloom

Ninnaji Temple in northern Kyoto is famous for its late flowering cherry trees known as the Omuro Cherries, which were at full bloom when I visited today. The best viewing of the Omuro Cherries is expected to continue through this week, though the forecast rain on Friday might shorten the longevity of the blossoms.


Past Peak

My last stop of the day was Arashiyama. The petals had started falling when I last visited five days ago, and today, there were more petals on the ground than on the branches. It is only a matter of days before the cherry blossom season is completely over in Arashiyama.