Sean's Japan Travel Journal
by Sean, staff writer of

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2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

An ant carries a petal at Haradani-en

After a very wet and windy weekend that saw many petals fall prematurely, this week most of Japan will see much more sun. I set foot on Kyoto again, as the season approaches an end for the mainstream Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms. Apart from some cherry blossom spots that we frequent, today I also visited Ninnaji Temple and Haradani-en to check out some later blooming varieties of cherry blossoms.

April 8, 2013 - end of season

My first stop for the day was at Arashiyama, where I last visited a week ago. Then, I predicted that the best views here would probably last until April 4th or 5th; indeed, by the time of my visit this morning most of the trees had shedded large numbers of petals.

Nevertheless, there was still quite some tourist activity going on around the photogenic Togetsukyo Bridge. The shopping streets at the north end of the bridge were as usual filled with scenes of gleaming shopkeepers tending to their patrons.

Fallen petals at Arashiyama
Bird looking on nostalgically as the last petals fall
On the southern bank of the river at Arashiyama

Ninnaji Temple
April 8, 2013 - full bloom (Omuro Cherry Blossoms)

Ninnaji Temple is one of many locations in Kyoto listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites. It features graceful buildings that are connected by covered corridors, elegantly painted sliding doors (fusuma), and beautiful rock and pond gardens. Ninnaji is also famous for a grove of locally cultivated cherry trees called Omuro Cherries.

Omuro cherry blossoms usually flower later than the mainstream Somei Yoshino; mid April on an average year. This year, however, due to an early cherry blossom season, the Omuro cherry trees were already pretty much in bloom today. Many visitors were at the temple to enjoy the gorgeous views, which can be expected to continue till about Friday and hopefully beyond.

Ninnaji Temple
Omuro cherry blossoms

April 8, 2013 - petals starting to fall (Weeping Cherry Trees)

It was my first time going to Haradani-en, which has a reputation for being a great spot to see weeping cherry trees (shidarezakura). The beautiful garden is located northwest of central Kyoto, about a 30 minute walk or 10-15 minute taxi ride from Ninnaji Temple (1500 yen).

Given the same conditions, Yaebeni weeping cherry trees - a type of shidarezakura with sweet pink blossoms, each with more than five petals - usually bloom a couple of days later than the mainstream Somei Yoshino. Today, the many Yaebeni Shidarezakura at Haradani-en were starting to shed petals, but views were still very close to being at the peak. In addition, the myriad of other flowers in bloom at the garden made it very attractive.

Many were out enjoying the flowers at Haradani-en
Pretty Yaebeni Shidarezakura
Man lines up his beer for an artistic shot

Philosopher's Path
April 8, 2013 - end of season

At the Philosopher's Path, the season was expectedly over with the cherry trees starting to show more nascent green leaves than flowers. A few late blooming varieties of cherry trees provided some much welcomed conviviality to the path.

Friendly tourists wave
One of the most resilient blossoms
Fallen petals

Heian Shrine
April 8, 2013 - petals starting to fall (Weeping Cherry Trees)

Behind the main buildings of Heian Shrine is an attractive, paid garden with a variety of plants, ponds and traditional buildings. The garden's most striking feature is its many Yaebeni weeping cherry trees, which make it one of the best cherry blossom spots in Kyoto around the tail end of the season.

While views were still very pleasant today, it was evident that a substantial number of petals had fallen and were falling. Those intending to visit had better hurry, before those evanescent cherry blossoms are gone with the wind.

Garden at Heian Shrine
Still lovely Yaebeni Shidarezakura

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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