Japan is a favorite destination for people who want to see cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms can be found everywhere around Japan, as you can see in our article that highlights sakura spots around Japan. You can also read more about the history and meaning of cherry blossom viewing in Japan.
Below are the most popular spots in and around Kyoto.
1. Philosopher’s path
The Philosopher’s path is found in northern Kyoto. It is lined by beautiful cherry trees that bloom in April, making the spot a favorite to locals and tourists alike. It is also a good spot for people who would love to sit down and meditate, as the environment is serene and quiet. Amenities such as restaurants, cafeterias, and shops can also be found along this beautiful path. The Honen-in temple is located just a few meters away, so you can visit it too while you’re there.
2. Maruyama Park
Maruyama Park is found next to Yasaka Shrine. It is the most famous public park in Higashiyama District. The park is particularly busy in early April as most people visit the spot to view cherry trees as they bloom. At the center of the park is a tall shidarezakura tree, which is sometimes also referred to as a weeping cherry tree, and is lit up during the night. The park is just a 20-minutes drive from Kyoto station.
Arashiyama is found on the outskirts of Kyoto, but it is quite popular among visitors. It has many landmarks that are well known like Togetsukyo bridge, hotels, and small shops. The Tenryuji Temple is also found in Arashiyama. Boats are available for rent to those who want an unforgettable experience in the river. Arashiyama is particularly beautiful in April when the cherry blossoms are normally at their peak, while November is a great time to see the autumn leaves.
4. Heian Shrine
Heian Shrine is just 20 minutes away from Higashiyama station. It has a notably large splendid gate at the entrance. It also has a very beautiful garden that has numerous plants and traditional buildings. This garden features many weeping trees that bloom later than other varieties which makes it a great cherry blossom viewing spot if you missed the bloom of the somei-yoshino type. The shrine is also very spacious and can be used for other outdoor activities.
5. Haradani Garden
Haradani-en Garden is located in northern Kyoto. It features 13,000 square meters of vegetation ranging from the weeping cherry blossom trees to azaleas and rhododendron. Kinkakuji temple is the nearest temple to Haradani-en Garden so you could see both in one trip to the area. The best way to access the garden is by taxi.
6. Okazaki Canal
Okazaki Canal is one of the best cherry blossom spots in Kyoto. It has boats that can be rented for the perfect adventure in the canal. The boat provides an awesome experience on Lake Biwa and Kamo River. The canal has been beautifully lined with cherry trees that blossom in early April. The Heian Shrine is closely located to the Okazaki Canal.
Keage Incline is located next to Okazaki Canal and it is near Nanzenji Temple. It was previously used to transport boats that were found at a higher elevation. The slopes of the Incline are lined with about a hundred beautiful cherry trees. The cherry trees blossom in early April making the spot very busy around that time. The admission to this beautiful cherry blossom spot is absolutely free.
7. Daigoji Temple
Daigoji Temple is just 15 minutes walk from Daigoji station. It is found south of Central Kyoto and has been dubbed as a world heritage site. The temple is found at the foot of the mountain where there is a beautiful garden. The cherry blossom trees can be viewed from this point. The magnificent weeping cherry trees can be seen in full bloom every early April.
8. Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle is located a few meters from Tozai Subway line. The castle grounds are vast and there is a wide variety of cherry trees. This cherry blossom spot is unique, as it has a long bloom period from March to April. The trees here bloom at different times. In the evenings a spectacular lighting display turns the scenery into a magical wonderland. An admission fee of 600 yen is required to enter the premises.
9. Kyoto Botanical Garden
Kyoto Botanical garden is located a few meters from Karasuma Subway Line. The garden is known for its varied species of flowers, trees and the beautiful weeping cherry trees. The garden is ideal for outings and picnics. The atmosphere is peaceful and serene. At the center of the garden stands a magnificent giant weeping cherry tree. Admission to this cherry blossom spot is just 200 yen.
10. Kiyomizudera Temple
Kiyomizudera temple is located within a few minutes walk from the Kiyomizu-Michi bus stop. This cherry blossom spot has a few cherry trees that are located on the Kiyomizudera balcony. The cherry trees usually bloom in early April creating a beautiful scene. You can find more cherry trees near a pond towards the exit of the temple. The admission to this spot is just 400 yen.
Ninnaji is just a 10 minute walk from Omuro Ninnaji station. The spot is famous for its local cultivated species of cherry trees. These special breeds of cherry trees tend to bloom late, usually from early April to mid-April, offering spectacular scenes. The temple grounds that are found in Ninnaji are hosts to hundreds of cherry trees. Admission to this beautiful cherry blossom spot is only 500 yen.
12. Kamogawa (Kamo River)
Kamogawa is a river that flows through central Kyoto. Cherry trees are planted in large numbers along Kamogawa River. It is a very peaceful and pleasant place as it offers a pure breeze and the calming sight of the river. The cherry trees blossom in early April attracting many visitors. In addition to hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, this cherry blossom spot has become ideal for picnics and outdoor activities. Admission to this beautiful cherry blossom spot is free.
13. Hirano Shrine
Hirano Shrine is located between Kinkuji and Kitano. It is a famous spot known for cherry blossom viewing and it has a wide variety of cherry trees. They bloom in early April, attracting a lot of locals and tourists. A spectacular event that happens in this shrine is the illumination of the trees. In the area, a few restaurants offer tourists the opportunity to relax. Admission to this cherry blossom spot is free of charge.