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

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2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Heian Shrine
As the season comes to an end for the mainstream cherry blossoms (Somei Yoshino) in Kyoto, we bring to you our year's final sakura report from this former capital of Japan. A summary of happenings so far: the cherry trees started flowering early this year due to a warm start to March; some ensuing cold days slowed down progress a little, and peak was reached on April 4; by today almost all of the Somei Yoshino petals had fallen, but later blooming varieties of cherry blossoms are starting to reach their best.

Kiyomizudera Temple
April 11, 2013 - end of season

I arrived at Kiyomizudera Temple early today before the visitors arrived in numbers. The temple compound was looking green and fresh today, rejuvenated by the newly produced leaves. The cherry trees had lost almost all their petals. The maple trees, that play such an important role in making Kiyomizudera a great autumn color spot, had begun to flower; although the flowers were fairly inconspicuous due to their small size. It was great to feel the circle of life.

Kiyomizudera Temple
Remaining petals
Amidado and Okunoin Halls (left) are undergoing repairs for a few years

Maruyama Park
April 11, 2013 - end of season

At Maruyama Park the season was similarly over, as all the Somei Yoshino and weeping cherry trees have nearly dropped all their petals. A few groups were still spotted having their cherry blossom watching (hanami) parties. Some others were taking pictures with the few late blooming Yaezakura (cherry trees whose blossoms have more than five petals) that the park has to offer.

Maruyama Park and the great weeping cherry tree
A Somei Yoshino branch
Hanami parties at this spot are decreasing

Heian Shrine
April 11, 2013 - end of season (Somei Yoshino)
April 11, 2013 - petals starting to fall (Yaebeni weeping cherries)
April 11, 2013 - opening (10-50%) (late blooming varieties)

At Heian Shrine, one of the best places to see Yaebeni weeping cherry trees (they typically flower a few days after the Somei Yoshino), the blossoms were also shedding their petals pretty fast. Views were still pleasant, but I would imagine in two or three days those who visit solely for the sake of seeing these weeping cherries might be slightly disappointed.

The shrine, though, has quite some late flowering Yaezakura trees, which were just on their way to the halfway mark today. This is good timing for visitors over the coming weekend, as the Yaezakura blossoms would provide a new source of lovely colors.

Pond at Heian Shrine
Some Yaebeni weeping cherry blossoms
Yaezakura varieties
Garden at Heian Shrine

Nijojo Castle
April 11, 2013 - end of season (Somei Yoshino)
April 11, 2013 - beyond peak (Yaebeni weeping cherries)
April 11, 2013 - approaching full bloom (50-80%) (late blooming varieties)

Perhaps an even better place to see late blooming varieties of cherry blossoms is Nijojo Castle. The wide castle grounds has many types of cherry trees to offer, in addition to its Ninomaru Palace - which I consider a must-see for visitors to Kyoto. Illuminations will take place at the castle from 18:00 to 21:30 daily till April 21 (entry until 21:00).

Today the many Yaebeni weeping cherries at the castle were already past their best, but were still somewhat good-looking. On the other hand, the Yaezakura were approaching their peak, and produced some brilliant vibrant colors to delight. Hanami goes on this weekend at Kyoto, but the blossoms in the limelight this time would be the Yaezaura cherry blossoms. Illuminations will take place at the castle from 18:00 to 21:30 till April 21 (entry until 21:00).

Weeping cherry trees at Nijojo Castle
Yaezakura cherry tree grove
These blossoms have lost all their petals
These were almost in full bloom

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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