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

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2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto

Enjoying the view at Keage Incline

Six days after the cherry trees in Kyoto were officially in full bloom, I returned to the nation's former capital to check out its cherry blossoms. I was delighted to find the season still at its peak at most of the locations that I went to today. The preceding days of slightly cold temperatures must have preserved the cherry blossoms in a good state. We should see fair weather in the next few days, making this an ideal period to enjoy sakura in Kyoto.

April 8, 2014 - petals starting to fall

Arashiyama was as usual crowded with tourists this morning. I found the cherry trees to be still pretty full with flowers, albeit having already lost some petals. Great cherry blossom views should continue for another two days or so.

Cherry tree grove at Arashiyama
Close up on some blossoms
Cyclists visit
Kimono Path at Randen Arashiyama Station

Nijo Castle
April 8, 2014 - petals starting to fall (Somei Yoshino)
April 8, 2014 - full bloom (Yaebeni weeping cherries)
April 8, 2014 - opening (10-50%) (Late blooming varieties)

Unlike at most other cherry blossom spots, sakura of the Somei Yoshino variety do not make up the majority at Nijo Castle. The castle compound is home to a wide array of cherry tree types including late-blooming ones, making this a great destination for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) with an extended season. The Yaebeni weeping cherry trees are currently in full bloom and should remain so into the weekend, before other later blooming varieties take over in pleasing visitors.

Yaebeni weeping cherry trees and Somei Yoshino cherry trees
State of cherry blossoms clock-wise from top left: Somei Yoshino, Yaebeni weeping cherries, Ichiyo, Kanzan
When I visited last year the Karamon Gate was under renovation

Keage Incline and Okazaki Canal
April 8, 2014 - petals starting to fall

When I last visited the Keage Incline one week ago, the cherry trees had already just reached their best. Due to the ephemerality of their blossoms I had expected the peak period to have passed by the time of this visit, but to my pleasant surprise sakura views were still great. I think good views should remain for another two to three days at least.

Just a short walk away is Okazaki Canal, and today I found the cherry tree branches here to be even fuller than those at the Keage Incline. Cherry blossoms can be enjoyed here whilst taking a boat ride on the canal. Daytime boat rides are available till May 6 from 9:30 to 16:30. Evening illuminations will take place everyday from 18:00 to 21:30 until April 13, during which night-time boat rides are available till 20:30.

Arriving at Keage Incline
Best wishes to this couple
And to this couple too...
Nice cherry blossoms
Okazaki Canal
Interesting statue by the canal
Heian Shrine's torii gate viewed from Okazaki Canal

Heian Shrine
April 8, 2014 - petals starting to fall (Somei Yoshino)
April 8, 2014 - full bloom (Yaebeni weeping cherries)

While the Somei Yoshino are usually the ones in the spotlight, it is the Yaebeni weeping cherry trees that are the superstars of Heian Shrine's garden. Today, these weeping cherry trees were at their very best, drawing gasps of awe from their audience. A few Somei Yoshino trees which stood here and there were shedding some petals as the wind blew, seemingly uncomfortable with the lack of attention given to them. It was gorgeous overall at the garden, and the Yaebeni weeping cherry trees will carry Heian Shrine's cherry blossom season into the weekend.

Garden of Heian Shrine
Picture perfect weeping cherry blossoms
Jealous Somei Yoshino

Maruyama Park
April 8, 2014 - petals starting to fall

I rounded up the day again with a visit to Maruyama Park, where there were many having their hanami parties. Of the locations that I visited today, the state of the cherry blossoms was the worst here, although views were still pleasant enough. It was already past peak for the great weeping cherry tree at the center of the park. Overall, I think the window for cherry blossom viewing here will remain open for another couple of days, but will likely be closed around the start of the weekend.

Maruyama Park
Hanami parties
The light bulb

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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