Best Spots to See Cherry Blossoms (Sakura) in Kyoto

As an ancient city with a wealth of traditional Japanese architecture, the special atmosphere there makes Kyoto a famous city for cherry blossom (sakura) viewing, hanami. The most popular time for cherry blossom viewing is from late March to early April, when you can feel the Japanese elegance with the combination of the fancy flower as well as classic buildings. As for the best places to view the cherry blossoms in Kyoto, here is more information to help you find the best spots.


Arashiyama is a mountainous area in the western part of Kyoto, about 30 minutes by train from the city center, with beautiful scenery all year round, but even more so during the cherry blossom season. When around 1500 sakura trees are in full bloom, the mountains turn pink, as does their reflection in the Katsura River. In front of the mountain is the Togetsukyo Bridge, which has a long history and is the setting for many Japanese period dramas. And with Togetsukyo Bridge in the background, you can fully enjoy the ancient atmosphere of Kyoto and capture it in a single photo. For a closer view, there is also a path from Arashiyama, where you can enjoy the cherry blossoms along the railway.

Sakura, ArashiyamaSakura, Arashiyama

About 30 minutes east by train from Kyoto Station is Kiyomizudera, also known as the Temple of Clear Water, which is a popular UNESCO World Heritage Site and a sightseeing spot, as well as a famous cherry blossom viewing spot with about 1500 cherry blossom trees. During the springtime, the temple grounds are filled with soft pink and white blossoms, creating a breathtaking and serene atmosphere. From the stage of Kiyomizu, where cherry blossoms spread all over. you can enjoy a superb view. Another popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Kiyomizu-Dera is the Otowa waterfall, where visitors can drink from the three streams of water, each believed to bring different benefits such as success in studies, and good health. The sakura trees surrounding the waterfall create a stunning contrast of pink and green that is very photogenic. In addition, Kiyomizu-Dera usually holds a special night viewing when the temple is lit up and decorated with fantastic night cherry blossoms.

Sakura in Kiyomizu-DeraSakura in Kiyomizu-Dera

It is a 2 km-long stone path between the Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) and Nanzenji, lined with two rows of lush cherry blossom trees and a tranquil canal. You can pace the stone paths like the philosophers who once strolled here in contemplation. Admire the cherry blossoms overhead while feeling the gentle sound of running water beside you. When you get a bit tired, you can move to the other side of the street, where it is easy to find a cafe;, a restaurant or a gift shop, making it a great place to take a stroll. Another recommended time to visit is mid-April, when you can experience the occasionally falling sakura flowers from above and the petal-covered canal as you stroll along the stone paths. Or order a wagashi at an open-air restaurant at this time, and you might just get petals floating in to accentuate your dish.

Maruyama Park is one of the oldest and largest parks in Kyoto. It is a traditional Japanese garden where you can enjoy the scenery of the four seasons, as well as one of the most loved cherry blossom viewing spots in Kyoto, with about 690 sakura trees planted in an area of about 86,000 square meters. Maruyama Park is located in the Gion area, which is famous for Yasaka Shrine. The illuminated weeping cherry blossoms attract many people as part of Gion's night cherry blossoms. The most famous cherry blossom tree representing Maruyama Park is a huge tree with a height of about 12m, a trunk circumference of about 2.8m, and a branch length of about 10m, which is really impressive to see.

About 20 minutes by car from Kyoto Station is Nijo Castle, the former residence of the Shogun and now one of Kyoto's most famous World Heritage Sites. Inside the castle, there is a royal garden with 300 sakura trees of 50 varieties and, most importantly, a lighting system. During the day, you can admire its black-colored architecture and delicate gold decorations against the pink blossoms. But when the dust settles and the lights come on, this is the highlight of Nijo Castle Hanami. There are simple lights for viewing the cherry blossoms and the clear moon, as well as colorful neon lights to make the garden more imaginative, which could be one of the best places to enjoy the night flowers.

Cherry blossom viewing may be quite common in Japan, which has long been considered a kind of Japanese elegance. For the most authentic, old-timey feeling of this custom, the ancient city of Kyoto could be one of your best choices. Whether it is a delicate garden or a mountain temple with hundreds of years of history, let Odynovo know your requirements, and we will be happy to help you plan your Japan tour of sakura viewing.

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