Staff Reports
Sean's Japan Travel Journal
by Sean, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

I heard that the samurai liked cherry trees because they could identify their own lives with the transient nature of the cherry blossoms: impermanent, yet glorious.

Today our team reports from the three big cities of Kyoto, Tokyo and Nagoya. The first cherry blossoms opened in Kyoto on April 3 this year, one day later than forecasted. I am looking forward to see how much the cherry blossoms have progressed since.

Arashiyama
April 6, 2012 - just opened (0-10%)

Arashiyama is famous for its splendid views of cherry blossoms in spring and koyo (autumn leaves) in autumn. Today, there was quite a crowd at the area near Togetsukyo Bridge. Everyone seemed excited that the cherry blossom season has arrived, and was happily taking pictures, even though the cherry trees weren't full with color yet.

Although many of the trees had only about 10% of their flowers open, I observed many buds looking pretty full, and would imagine them to open up nicely over the next few of days. It would take probably another week before full bloom is reached, making next weekend best to view cherry blossoms here.

The branches of the cherry trees will look more dense over the next few days
Buds look ready to open soon

Kyoto Botanical Garden
April 6, 2012 - just opened (0-10%)

My first plan after entering the gates backfired almost immediately: I was sneakily trying to take a picture of a large group of senior citizens gathering together in front of a nice picture spot. Before I could snap that shutter, a sharp old woman spotted me, and I ended up being made to take a picture of them for them with their camera.

The botanical garden of Kyoto is a good place to see various varieties of cherry blossoms. The varieties most numerous in numbers here are the Somei Yoshino, the Shidarezakura (weeping cherry tree), and the Yaebeni Shidarezakura (a later flowering variety of weeping cherry tree).

Currently, many of the cherry blossoms (Somei Yoshino) here have just started to open. The Shidarezakura are usually two to three days ahead of the Somei Yoshino, and accordingly I observed them to have more open blossoms, but I think they might still need about three to five days to reach full bloom. The garden will be holding light-ups from April 7 to April 15 nightly, from sunset to 21:00.

Kyoto Botanical Garden
Close up of some of Shidarezakura buds
Close up of some of Somei Yoshino buds
A beautiful weeping cherry tree; its state is slightly more developed than the others
Somei Yoshino trees with tulips in the foreground

Maruyama Park
April 6, 2012 - opening (10-50%)

I was unsure if I was walking in the correct direction to Maruyama Park, until I saw about a dozen of tour buses parked along the street. Yes, this is one of the most visited locations for hanami in Kyoto. Today, there was a good mix of locals and tourists, immersing in the festivities.

The state of the cherry trees here is slightly more developed than that of the previous two locations. The cherry blossoms are expected to reach peak in about three to four days, while those of the weeping cherry trees would probably need two days or so of mild weather.

Hanami parties have already started here
This weeping cherry tree has just about reached the 50% mark
Close up of some Somei Yoshino buds
Close up of some Shidarezakura buds

Daigoji Temple
April 6, 2012 - opening (10-50%)

My last visit of the day was to the Unesco World Heritage Site of Daigoji Temple. I noticed that the flowers of the cherry trees at the lower section of the temple were significantly more developed that those at the upper section. Full bloom can be expected of the cherry trees at the lower section near Sanboin (currently about 10 to 20%), a couple of days earlier than those at the upper section, which are currently only just opening.

About 50% of the flowers of the weeping cherry trees inside Sanboin are open, but they already provided a delightful light pink hue, making them very pretty to watch.

Crowd at Daigoji Temple

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2014/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae
2014/04/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato
2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hikone
2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsuyama
2014/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2014/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2014/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/03/06 - Shopping around Northern Osaka
2014/01/23 - Nikko in Winter

2013/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2013
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/09/27 - Alpine Route Report
2013/09/13 - Nakanojo Biennale 2013
2013/08/07 - Exploring Tokyo 2: Around the Tokyo Imperial Palace
2013/05/20 - Tottori Sand Museum 2013
2013/05/07 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2013/05/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2013/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2013/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2013/04/23 - Northern Kanto Flower Report
2013/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takayama
2013/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumoto
2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2013/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma
2013/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/31 - Visiting Shodoshima for the Setouchi Triennale 2013
2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2013/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report
2013/02/17 - Tokamachi Snow Festival
2013/02/16 - Zao Snow Monster Report
2013/02/15 - Yokote Kamakura Festival
2013/01/10 - Winter Visit to Manza Onsen
2013/01/02 - Tokyo New Year Report

2012/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2012
2012/12/11 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2012/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Takaosan
2012/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Shosenkyo
2012/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko
2012/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Hiraizumi
2012/11/01 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2012/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Minakami
2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Norikura
2012/10/12 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2012/10/09 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2012/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kurodake
2012/09/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kogen Onsen
2012/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Asahidake
2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge
2012/08/20 - Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012
2012/06/27 - Hiking at Mount Azuma
2012/06/18 - Legoland Discovery Center opens in Odaiba
2012/06/18 - Hydrangea Flowers in Kamakura
2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree
2012/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2012/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2012/05/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiraizumi
2012/04/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2012/04/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima
2012/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2012/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima
2012/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2012/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2012/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen, Mito
2012/03/07 - Trip to Iwaki, Fukushima
2012/02/21 - Plum Blossom Report from Tokyo
2012/01/30 - Skiing in Inawashiro, Fukushima
2012/01/27 - Kusatsu Hot Springs