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

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2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Sannenzaka close to Kiyomizudera Temple

Four days after our previous report from Kyoto, today I revisited the charming city. Incidentally, on an average year cherry blossoms in Kyoto start opening on this day, March 28. However, the season started six days earlier this year due to a warm start to March. The past week had seen temperatures marginally lower than what is required for the cherry blossoms to further develop, and as such many of the buds remained at a stage being somewhat ready to bloom.

After a wet early morning, the rain soon stopped and I had to unbutton my jacket by the afternoon. With the mercury set to rise over the next five days, the cherry blossoms of Kyoto are well positioned to open up and delight the thousands coming soon to visit.

Maruyama Park
March 28, 2013 - opening (10-50%) (Somei Yoshino)
March 28, 2013 - full bloom (Weeping cherries)

Maruyama Park is a popular spot for hanami (cherry blossom watching) parties. This morning I noticed many mats laid on the floor, tents and unfinished bottles of drinks everywhere, which suggest that there were already parties going on here last night. At the adjacent Yasaka Shrine, people were setting up the frames of festival stalls. The haunted mansion which is an attraction at the shrine every cherry blossom season has already been built.

The cherry blossoms at the park were about 20% in bloom but the weeping cherry trees were already at full bloom. The petals of the weeping cherry trees should remain intact for some time as those of the mainstream Somei Yoshino unfold; the two combining to provide pleasant views from around the weekend. The park is illuminated in the evenings from sunset to 25:00 until April 14.

Maruyama Park
Cherry blossoms at Maruyama Park
Wet morning

Kiyomizudera Temple
March 28, 2013 - opening (10-50%)

Kiyomizudera Temple was as usual popular with tourists today, who were enjoying themselves taking pictures with the cherry trees. Cherry blossoms were at about the quarter mark, and views here will get increasingly beautiful over the next few days. Until April 7, the temple has special opening hours in the evening from 18:30 to 22:00 (entry until 21:30), giving visitors the opportunity to see its famous temple structures lit up in the night.

Kiyomizudera Temple
Cherry blossoms at Kiyomizudera

Daigoji Temple
March 28, 2013 - opening (10-50%) (Somei Yoshino)
March 28, 2013 - full bloom (Weeping cherries)

The superstars of Daigoji Temple are arguably not the Somei Yoshino but the weeping cherry trees (Shidarezakura). This is one of the best locations for fans of the Shidarezakura as there are many trees of this variety here, including an impressively humongous one at the temple's Reihokan Museum.

The weeping cherries at Daigoji Temple were at their best today, drawing gasps of awe from the visitors. More than once I noticed many snapping their camera shutters at some pretty shidarezakura, and then I turned aside to look at some neglected Somei Yoshino which were only progressing towards the halfway mark. It was the first time I ever felt sorry for the Somei Yoshino, the usual attention-hoggers. In two or three days they will catch up, and perhaps then we will see a more level playing ground.

Daigoji Temple
Activity in front of the Sanboin
Lovely translucent Shidarezakura
Bee at work at some Somei Yoshino flowers
Magnificent weeping cherry tree at Reihokan Museum

Arashiyama
March 28, 2013 - opening (10-50%)

Arashiyama is another of Kyoto's popular cherry blossom spots. The center of activity is the famous Togetsukyo Bridge, north of which are streets lined with shops selling souvenirs and the local goodies, south of which is Nakanoshima Park. Nakanoshima Park offers a cherry tree grove and a pleasant riverside promenade dotted with cherry trees of several varieties. The park will be lit up in the evenings from 18:00 to 22:00 until April 14.

I found the cherry blossoms at Arashiyama at about the same state as those at the other locations that I visited today. Barring sudden unexpected changes in weather, visitors to Kyoto should be able to look forward to cherry blossoms at their best by the coming Sunday at the latest.

Cherry tree grove at Nakanoshima Park
Cherry blossoms at Arashiyama
Along Katsuragawa River

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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